Two times a year I obtain skewered with neuromodulators as well as fillers to smooth my temple as well as raise my cheeks. And also whenever I do, I do not so silently panic as the additional great needles jab my face. My injector recognizes me as the one he “hums” throughout therapy. However newish-to-market Emface it is admired as a face for all those squeamish with needles since it is devoid of sharp factors as well as calls for no downtime.
It’s tough to overlook the referral reviews, with numerous passionate Emface followers requiring to social media sites to hail it as a choice to injectables – the ’emface’ hashtag has over 2.8 million views on TikTok – while others proclaim it be a non-surgical facelift, offering patients the tantalizing possibility of a scalpel-free brow lift.
With dreams of a more contoured look in my mind and my trusty stress ball in hand, I knew I had to give it a try — and I was. Not disappointed. Here is a comprehensive account of my experience getting Emface, including before and after comparisons that show results so visible that even my skeptical self can’t deny them.
Meet the experts:
- Yael Halaas, MD, FACS, is a board certified facial plastic surgeon based in New York City.
- Sheila Farhang, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in Tucson, Arizona.
- Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.
In this story:
What is Emface and what are its benefits?
Emface is a device from BTL Aesthetics, the group behind the popular Emsculpt and Emsculpt Neo body-contouring devices. Emface works to smooth and lift by pushing two types of energy, radio frequency and high intensity facial electromagnetic stimulation (HIFES), through applicator pads strategically placed on the encounter.
Basically, RF energy (a mouthful, for sure) is heat energy that can help stimulate collagen production through micro-injuries. HIFES extends deeper and, in this case, targets the forehead muscle (the frontalis) and cheek muscles (zygomaticus major, minor, and risorius) to help lift and tighten them, says Yael Halaas, MD, FACS, a plastic certified facial. surgeon and the first practitioner to administer Emface treatment to individuals. BTL-sponsored clinical studies found that Emface helped reduce wrinkles by 37% as well as visibly lifted the face by 23%.
But some doctors are skeptical of the technology, like board-certified dermatologist Sheila Farhang, MD, who doesn’t bring Emface to her practice. “Although I love the use of RF and am an advocate of collagen stimulation as an adjunct to injectables and good skin care, electromagnetic stimulation [like that of HIFES] it’s not something I think is all that helpful for the aging face,” he says. “Of note, clinical studies detail an increase in muscle tone and lift, which is different than [increasing] volume. Tone and lift are great if that’s the goal, but for those who need to replace lost volume, [they] it may be necessary to combine the treatment with something that adds volume, such as fillers”.
Dr. Farhang further explains that while muscle wasting, which can manifest as a loss of volume, is part of the aging process, it’s not the aspect of aging that most patients ask her to address. “I see signs of muscle wasting in lean patients over the age of 55,” she says. And while studies have shown [Emface] adding volume, I’m not sure the percentage changes seen in clinical studies would be enough to actually create the look of more defined cheekbones through volume, like filler would.”
However, with everyone talking about the procedure, I had the heart to make an appointment and give it a try.
How much does Emface cost?
Before we determine whether Emface is worth the time and money, let’s talk about the price – of course, this is one of the biggest factors for prospective patients. Costs vary depending on the practitioner, but four 20-minute sessions – a full course of treatment – can cost between $4,500 to $6,000. You have the option of purchasing single sessions or four as a package, with most clients opting for the latter.
My experience with Emface
Twice a year I take Botox on my forehead to maintain smoothness and a dab of Juvéderm Voluma on my cheeks to add definition to my heart-shaped face. Again, though, needles scare me, and if possible, I was ready to drop them in favor of this procedure.
For best results, doctors recommend having the treatment once a week for a month, but I have only had the treatment three times, about six weeks apart. Life happens, and while it’s only a 30-minute appointment, my schedule has prevented me from making multiple visits to the dermatologist’s office. Practitioners say that the effects of Emface, which can last up to a year, add up with each appointment. (In other words, all is not lost if you miss a week.)
In anticipation of the large pad – or ground pad, through which RF energy exits the body – placed on my back and smaller pads placed on my cheeks and forehead during treatment, I wore an easy-to-wear shirt lift and I skipped complexion skincare and makeup.
After placing the grounding pad on my back, my practitioner wiped my cheeks and forehead with an alcohol pad to ensure no dirt and oils. This was burning like hell, as my skin was extremely dehydrated, but that was the most painful part of the whole experience. My practitioner applied the pads to my face and turned on the machine.
Does emface hurt?
Emface doesn’t hurt, but it does does get used to it. The heat from the pads was bearable, but combined with the energy stimulating my facial muscles, the sensation was intense. As the HIFES pulsed through the electrodes, I felt my muscles being pulled, causing me to blink and crumple my face. Specifically, the swab along my forehead sent energy through my scalp, creating an odd, but ultimately soothing sensation, similar to what you get with those whip-looking scalp massaging tools. My practitioner started me off with a low level, but slowly increased it as I got used to the sensation. Halfway through the treatment, the device was maxed out.
My photos before and after Emface
As you can see from the photos I took after sessions one and two, my face looked red right after the treatment, due to the heat from the pads. My face also looked slightly more sculpted, with the lifted look of my cheeks particularly visible.
A week before my third session, I decided to reload Voluma along my cheekbones (given my semester schedule, I needed to). The pictures below show my results after new injectables plus Emface. As you can see, Emface enhanced the effects of my filler, slightly lifting my cheeks. It also made my skin firmer as well as pulled my jawline up (which looks slimmer in person than in the photos).
What are the possible risks and side effects of Emface?
Emface has minimal risks, says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City: “There’s always a risk of burns, and there are some limitations — like [you can’t get it if you have] certain types of metal in your body because there’s a current going through your body to stimulate the muscle, but it’s a very safe and non-invasive technology.”
Is Emface an alternative to Botox or fillers?
If you’re hoping for Emface to replace fillers and Botox, you’ll be dissatisfied; it does not work like that. “She doesn’t mimic the effects of Botox or fillers,” says Dr. Frank. The device does, however, incorporate the use of injectables. “We like to call Emface an injectable-sparing technology, which means it strengthens muscles and tightens the skin to lift it.” He goes on to say that it can improve the results of Botox and fillers and help extend the time between appointments.
Is Emface worth the price?
Like nearly all procedures, the question of whether or not Emface is worth its high cost depends on who you ask, and how happy a person is with the results depends on their expectations for the treatment. If you’re under 55, says Dr. Farhang, “the results on your face can be very subtle.” Those over 55 are more likely to experience muscle thinning and see more changes.
Dr. Frank echoes this point, adding that other factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and sagging skin at the time of treatment can affect treatment success. Emface may be sufficient to tighten mild sagging on areas such as the jaw, but moderate to severe laxity will most likely not be adequately relieved.
It helps to follow the treatment protocol and obtaining Emface once a week for four weeks will yield the best (as well as most visible) outcomes. Again, I didn’t make it four weeks, but I was still happy with the smoothing and lifting effects of Emface. It’s worth having a thorough conversation with your doctor to see if Emface will produce the results you’re looking for.
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