Have you ever attempted to tone and strengthen your facial muscles? That’s the goal of the microcurrent facial, a recent craze in the beauty world.
Patients with Bell’s palsy, a condition characterized by sudden paralysis or weakness of facial muscles, have benefited from the microcurrent facial electrical stimulation technology when combined with other treatments. Today, technology is creating waves in the beauty industry.
Yet the efficacy of this approach has been questioned by certain specialists.
In addition to its regular use for other body parts, it has been used to treat facial paralysis for the past 70 years. Getting hooked up to electric (stimulation) equipment is a common practice when patients visit physical therapists to treat back pain—a similar approach.
The epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous adipose tissue are all beyond the purview of electro-stim, as far as we can tell. We can only assume that the muscles benefit from this. To claim that it does anything else but improve muscle tone would raise our level of skepticism.
Theoretically, we can see a justification for it if your goal is to improve your appearance by increasing your facial muscle tone. Yes, that’s something you could attempt, and our only concern is that you would need to engage frequently in this activity.
A therapist would apply a conductive gel to the face before a cosmetic treatment. Aesthetician Lauren Bays explained that the same gel is used for ultrasonic scans because it facilitates the diffusion of electric impulses.
The aesthetician then uses two metal prongs to transmit electrical impulses to the skin, activating the underlying facial muscles.
Beginning with a lifting and tightening phase, the therapy continues in this manner throughout. Simply said, it applies electrical currents in both directions to stimulate the epidermis and the muscle beneath it.
According to Bays, the treatment can cost anywhere from $200 to $600 and takes approximately 45 minutes. She stated that the more treatments one receives, the greater the likelihood one will have positive effects.
Patients may experience “a little bit of a tickle” on the skin or a metallic taste in their mouth during treatment. Still, according to Bays, the majority of people find it to be a soothing experience.
Similarly, doctors might apply this technology in a medical setting. For instance, patients with facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy might visit a physiotherapist to rehabilitate their facial muscles.
Some therapists may utilize electrical stimulation equipment as part of this retraining to assist patients in learning to regulate specific muscles and expressions. (The Mayo Clinic says that besides rest and physical therapy, patients can manage Bell’s palsy with anti-inflammatory drugs, antiviral medication, or surgery.)
Some medical professionals, however, remain skeptical about the potential benefits of electrical stimulation for these patients. A review article in the Journal of Novel Physiotherapies in 2015 concluded that “there is inadequate data” to support the treatment as an effective method of treating Bell’s palsy.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, you can treat Bell’s palsy with various “alternative therapies,” including electrical stimulation.
Overall, microcurrent facials are reasonably risk-free, whether they’re employed for aesthetic or therapeutic goals.
It could also be an enjoyable experience. The effect it has on the skin is like a tingling electric shock.
On the other hand, there is no evidence to suggest that it is effective as a cosmetic technique.
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