Emface is a radical non-invasive anti-ageing treatment that combines, for the first time, radiofrequency with facial electromagnetic stimulation (HIFES) – and claims to achieve a 36.8 per cent reduction in wrinkles and an increase in muscle density. The treatment is painless, requires no downtime and is delivered in 20-minute sessions. And I have signed up to trial it on its UK debut quicker than it has taken you to read this paragraph.

Launched last September by BTL, the Czech company behind Emsculpt and Emtone, the device is currently offered at a few clinics in London including the Rita Rakus clinic, Dr Costas Papageorgiou at The Wellness Clinic, Harrods, as well as via Professor Ali Ghanem at his clinic on Upper Wimpole Street. A plastic surgeon, Professor Ghanem sees Emface as a breakthrough for those who want to stave off the knife. “Most heat-based devices create scarring under the skin, known as fibrosis and adhesions,” he tells me when I ask why he would adopt a device that might one day put him out of work. “This remarkable new technology respects the skin’s structure and ensures there are no adhesions that may affect the prospect of future treatment success.”

Dr Papageorgiou at The Wellness Clinic, who oversees my treatment, says Emface is a breakthrough for those looking to halt soft-tissue descent. And who isn’t, I might ask? By stimulating the zygomaticus and risorius muscles, the treatment promises to help counteract mid-face descent and, most pertinently, lift the droop from nose to mouth known as the nasolabial fold. “Emface is a game changer as it is the only device able to target and strengthen the lifting muscles of the face,” he explains. “These devices can target multiple anatomical elements – the deeper dermis, the facial ligaments, layers that a decade ago were addressed only via a surgical procedure. In years to come we should expect more technologies that would ultimately make surgery obsolete.”

Now, I don’t believe in miracles. But, like any woman in her late 40s I do indulge the misery of hope. That Emface might prop up the frontalis muscle on my fast-collapsing forehead – and give me a mini eye lift – is too irresistible to refuse.

At the clinic, I am affixed with a “grounding” pad, a large cold patch that is stuck across my kidneys before smaller pads (one on my forehead, two running ear-to-mouth) are attached carefully to my face. Every treatment requires a new set of single-use adhesives; not the most sustainable of treatments, which perhaps explains the treatment’s price – the total cost for four sessions is £3,600. Once switched on, the radiofrequency temperature quickly reaches 40-42C. The heat is then accompanied by the first tingles of high-intensity focused muscle stimulation, rising to 250 energy impulses per second, to induce a fairly jolting buzz. 

It’s not painful but neither is it pleasant: I can also feel it in my gum line, where it manifests in an odd metallic-tasting twinge. Meanwhile, my face feels pulled in all directions: my forehead dragged up into my hairline, my mouth stretched into a Joker’s grin. Yet when I observe it in a mirror, I’m surprised that each stimulation only jerks a minor smirk. Rosie, the doctor’s assistant, is most amused by my grimace: my face is more elastic than on some of the other clients she has seen. (Incidentally, for those wondering, Dr Papageorgiou assures me that, because Emface doesn’t target the muscles that are injected, most Botoxed patients will still be responsive to the device). Afterwards my skin feels warm and rosy, like I’ve just been to the gym. And my cheek muscles are achey – as though I’ve been chewing a big wad of gum. Although there is no downtime, I am advised not to work out or have a hot bath for 12 hours. 

For the first two treatments I don’t really notice any major changes. A heavy month of festive carousing doesn’t exactly benefit my skin. After the third session, however, I begin to see a distinct improvement in my skin tone. My daughter says I look less “dull”. Dr Papageorgiou says it will take up to 90 days after the final treatment to see the full effect. He recommends patients do Emface yearly in conjunction with other treatments for pigmentation, age spots and other conditions that one must combat in one’s anti-ageing war. I do look more alert than I have done (is that the eye lift?) and there’s a distinct softening in my forehead lines. I may not have knocked years off but I look fresher and less grey.

Would I pay for another set of treatments? I’d like to revisit in six months. The thing with preventative treatments is that you’ll never know what might have been. I’m in week two of the final revelation, and so far my skin looks and feels pretty good. If nothing else, Emface has been as much a fillip to my confidence as it may literally have lifted my skin.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article