I Tried Emface & My Skin Looks Tighter & Smoother Than Ever
The facial treatment is painless and has zero downtime.
I’m eager to try anything when it comes to beauty, but I’ve yet to dip my toe into anything involving needles. Sure, I hid under my bed as a child that one time on the day everyone at school got their yearly vaccinations. But more than just a completely rational needle fear, I’m hesitant about Botox, fillers, Dysport, etc. No shade to those that participate and I’ll probably proudly partake at some point soon — today’s just not that day.
However, at this point — 36 years to be precise — I am seeing signs of aging: I have a noticeable (perhaps just to me) drop in the muscles around my eyes and brow. Before I succumb to the needle, I asked Seattle-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Heather Rogers, M.D. if I had any non-invasive solutions. This turned out to be impeccable timing on my behalf because 2022 saw the launch of Emface, the self-proclaimed "treatment of the future” that promises filler-like results, sans injections. Obviously, I had to try it. Read on for what the facial treatment is like along with photographic proof of its skin-tightening effects.
What Is Emface?
Emface is a painless, zero-downtime, non-invasive procedure that targets multiple facial layers, including the skin, connective tissue, and muscles. “It combines two treatment modalities: synchronized radiofrequency (RF) and high-intensity focused electrical stimulation (HIFES),” says Rogers. “The RF heats the facial tissue promoting new collagen formation, while the HIFES stimulates only the elevating muscles to lift the face.” According to her, this combo works to tighten skin, reduce wrinkles, and builds muscle, which leads to facial repositioning and an overall lifting effect.
Double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Levine, M.D., who provided my Emface treatments, says you need four sessions to see results and each session must be completed within two to 14 days of each other. Oh, and Emface is part of BTL Aesthetics, the maker of other popular non-invasive treatments, including Emsculpt, Emtone, and Emsella.
The Benefits Of Emface
Emface is all about firming and lifting the skin. “The science behind Emface specifically involves the use of high-frequency electromagnetic waves to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin,” says Dr. Hardik Doshi, M.D., a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon. This stimulation is highly important to the appearance of your complexion. “Collagen and elastin are essential components of healthy skin, providing structure, elasticity, and strength,” Doshi explains. “As we age, the production of these fibers decreases, leading to the development of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.” Basically, the unique procedure activates your face to do the work (rather than injectables), encouraging natural, long-lasting results, adds Rogers.
Even if you’re a fan of injectables, you’re a good candidate for the procedure — all because it’s so non-invasive. “Emface can be used with Botox and fillers and does not interfere with the efficacy or longevity of the products,” says Levine.
What To Expect During An Emface Treatment
For starters, each treatment lasts only 20 minutes and is completely painless. The treatment doesn’t go unnoticed though — it feels like a super-charged EMS device, kind of like your NuFace on acid. You do need four sessions to see results (this isn’t a one-and-done treatment) and, as mentioned above, each treatment must be done between two to 14 days of each other (Levine says this is absolutely vital). It’s also advised to stop by your doctor’s office for a single touch-up treatment, ideally every six to 12 months.
Each treatment is identical: Upon arrival, you’ll likely be escorted to a private room where the skin is cleansed and then wiped with alcohol so it’s “bone dry”, as celebrity esthetician (and founder of Sofie Pavitt Face) Sofie Pavitt explains. (She’s received four treatments, plus one follow-up a few months later.) Then the sticky electric patches are applied to the forehead and the cheekbones, plus a ground pad on your back to close the electrical circuit. After that, the machine is switched on and the magic happens. “The sensation is intense — your forehead and cheeks are pulled and tightened and contracted against the device,” says Pavitt.
You’re monitored for the 20-minute session to ensure the treatment pads remain in the optimal position and you're not uncomfortable. You’ll likely find yourself able to casually scroll TikTok or answer emails, just involuntarily blinking and your muscles shifting with the electromagnetic waves. It’s so painless that during one session I even fell asleep for a few minutes.
After 20 minutes, the sticker pads are removed and you’ll notice an immediate — albeit very, very subtle — lift and flushed glow. You might notice a general tiredness or soreness where the muscles were engaged, too — almost like the soreness associated with laughing or smiling too much.
The Results & Aftercare
There’s truly zero aftercare — you can simply walk out with a rosy cheek glow and go on with your day. The only upkeep is sticking to your follow-up appointments.
As for the results? As is the case with many non-invasive procedures, results are subjective. But I will say after the third treatment (which seems to be around the sweet spot of seeing changes, according to a nurse in Levine’s office), I realized my brow, undereye area, and cheekbones appeared more lifted. After the fourth treatment, I saw a subtle yet noticeable boost and natural lift.
Pavitt says she can see a more sculpted, lifted look to her face after five treatments and that Emface provided a lifting and tightness injectables cannot. This is notable coming from Pavitt, who works in a medical spa and was full of skepticism throughout the sessions. “An alternative to injectables for tighter, lifted results seemed like a really big claim,” she says, but one that Emface has provided for both Pavitt and me — but in a very, very subtle way. It delivers a “you look really well-rested” result versus looking like you’ve had a procedure.
The results will continue to improve months after the four treatments, too. “Electromagnetic waves are sent deep into the skin using Emface, where they encourage the growth of new collagen and elastin fibers,” says Doshi. “This procedure reportedly contributes to an improvement in skin tone, texture, and elasticity.”
Notice he used the word “reportedly” — Doshi is hesitant about the treatment (and doesn’t currently offer it at his offices). “Though there have been peer-reviewed studies that show the safety and effectiveness of electromagnetic waves for facial rejuvenation, no independent large-scale randomized controlled trials — the gold standard — have been published to measure end-point outcomes,” he says. But I can’t argue with the results I’ve seen firsthand.
While Emface is painless and offers pretty impressive results, it’s incredibly pricey. “It is an expensive treatment, costing about $1,250 per session,” says Rogers. “Plus, people need four [treatments], plus one every 6 to 12 months, to maintain the results.” So the innovation comes with a price tag — but if you’re someone who doesn’t spend regular money on Botox and other injectables, it may be worth it for the needle-free alternative.
The Final Takeaway
There are very few treatments that encourage your face to work harder on its own, but Emface seems to be the exception. If you’re looking for a subtle lift, skin tightening, and a more refreshed appearance, consider Emface. It seems to tick all the boxes: Nearly everyone is a candidate (although it’s especially ideal for those in their 30s and 40s when the face is just beginning to alter), it’s completely pain-free, and it has zero downtime.
The cost is a real consideration though, and tough to justify when comparing it against more intensive and results-focused treatments, like Sofwave. But for those seeking a minimalist, painless, and an “I slept nine blissful hours every night for the last month”-level of a refreshed appearance, Emface might just be right for you.
Al-Atif, H. (2022). Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.5826/dpc.1201a18
El-Domyati, M. (2011). Radiofrequency facial rejuvenation: Evidence-based effect. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 64(3), 524. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2010.06.045
Xu, X. (2020). Effects of electrical stimulation on skin surface. Acta Mechanica Sinica = Li Xue Xue Bao, 37(12), 1843-1871. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10409-020-01026-2
Dr. Heather Rogers, M.D., board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Jennifer Levine, M.D., double board-certified facial plastic surgeon
Sofie Pavitt, celebrity esthetician and founder of Sofie Pavitt Face
Dr. Hardik Doshi, M.D., double board-certified facial plastic surgeon