Catch the Microcurrent
by Annet King
Microcurrent, a popular treatment for aging skin, uses low level electrical current to trigger the body’s natural skin enhancement chemicals at a cellular level, giving skin therapists an effective tool against the signs of skin aging. While alternative medicine practitioners use it for injury recovery, skin therapists note that it provides firming and toning benefits that continue to improve with subsequent treatments.
Microcurrent can be performed to achieve the following benefits:
- Improve muscle tone in the face and neck.
- Lift jowels and eyebrows.
- Reduce and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles.
- Improve facial circulation.
- Aid in lymphatic drainage.
- Enhance product penetration to treat multiple skin problems.
Some clinical studies have shown that after twenty days of Microcurrent treatments, collagen and elastin production increases and blood circulation improves. Scientists have also found that Microcurrent facelift treatments trigger the body’s production of amino acids and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Both of these accelerate cell repair and promote healthier cell production.
Muscle Re-education and Specific Iontophoresis are two ways to use Microcurrent in the treatment room.
Muscle Re-education, the process of lengthening or shortening muscles, is mostly related to the term “facial toning.” Sometimes referred to as MENS (Muscle Electrical Neural Stimulus or Minimal Electrical Neural Stimulus), Microcurrent re-programs the muscle fiber, allowing the muscle to lengthen or shorten depending on the direction of the application.
The procedure sends a current to lift and re-educate muscles. Some machines used in Europe and in medical environments cause a muscle contraction. In the United States, if used by a professional skin therapist within their scope of practice, Microcurrent cannot cause a visible contraction. There is no actual muscle contraction, and probes allow the skin therapist to pick up the muscle and hold it in place for a few seconds. The current stimulates Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), a nucleotide that can accumulate in the muscles themselves. It is vital that the therapist knows all 32 of the muscles on the face, their origins, their insertions and their bellies.
When a muscle lengthens or shortens, the skin lifts and firms. Working from the belly of the muscle outward will have a lengthening effect on muscles that have become increasingly contracted from years of making facial expressions. Working a muscle from the origin and insertion point inward will have a shortening effect that is necessary for those muscles that have become elongated over many years of age and gravity.
Muscle Re-Education uses micro amps (a very low concentration of electrical current), square wave technology and hertz. This makes the procedure significantly more comfortable for the client.
Specific Iontophoresis, another form of Microcurrent, allows for superior penetration of water-based products into the skin. During this treatment, electrical current emits from one probe and returns to the other to allow specific focus of product penetration. The results of this procedure vary depending on the type of product you’re using.
Specific Iontophoresis does not require an inactive electrode. It uses modulated biphasic square wave technology, which lets the skin therapist oscillate a direct current in between 2 electrodes every 2 to 2 ½ seconds. In other words, the electrode alternates from positive to negative about every 2 seconds. Specific Iontophoresis uses microamps, a low level of electric current, which is gentler for the client.
Advanced devices can specifically control the depth at which the current travels, and therefore, the depth that the product penetrates. This allows the skin therapist to target specific areas of concern. However, a heavy layer of product, high surface tension or a resistant or thicker patch of skin in the application area can easily persuade the electrical current and product to enter into a weaker area of the face or body.
The Range of Microcurrent
Overall, Microcurrent is an effective professional skin therapy tool ideal for managing the signs of skin aging. While Microcurrent’s potential range of other applications, including wound healing, muscle rehabilitation, macular degeneration and lymphoma continue to assist medical practitioners with amazing results, we must stay focused on how these studies and this technology can benefit and support us as skin therapists.