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According to experts, you should be using a microcurrent device — here's why

Dealing with wrinkles or jowls? This buzzy treatment could help.
Galina Zhigalova / EyeEm / Getty Images

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Beauty insiders and celebrities have long been touting the benefits of microcurrent facials. You may have heard stories about how the treatment produces impressive (and nearly instantaneous) results when it comes to fighting signs of aging.

And while normally, you would have to take a trip to the spa to see if the rumors are true, a number of at-home microcurrent devices have been popping up across the beauty space, allowing people to try it right from the comfort of their own homes.

The thing is, these devices can be pretty pricey. So to see if they're actually worth the purchase, we consulted two top aestheticians to learn more about how the treatment works and which at-home options will actually provide results.

How does microcurrent technology work?

Microcurrent devices use low-level electrical impulses to stimulate the muscles in the face, said Lara Kaiser,an aesthetician in New York City.

The treatment also stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), Los Angeles-based celebrity aesthetician Gina Mari added. Essentially, you're stimulating "food" for the cells to allow them to work more efficiently. "What we always want to do when we're working with any type of technology when it comes to skin care treatment, is that we want to work on the cellular level," she added. "We want to stimulate the cells, we want to feed the cells and get some activity happening there."

What are the benefits of microcurrent?

Microcurrent facials can help to lift and tighten the muscles in the area and stimulate collagen and elastin, helping your skin look smoother, brighter and more rejuvenated. Kaiser likened it to "a Pilates class for your face.”

"You'll get a nice lift," Mari said. "It's great for women like my age, where you're starting to maybe get some jowling activity on the lower face. It's great for the neck, great for around the eye area." It's also a good anti-aging treatment for people who might be reluctant to try more invasive options, like Botox or fillers.

But it's not just for aging concerns, Kaiser added that she also uses it on patients who are struggling with acne. "That cellular energy helps accelerate healing."

Are there any risks?

While it may sound uncomfortable, the process should be pain-free. Because you're dealing with electrical currents, people who are pregnant, have epilepsy, seizures, or any electronic-implanted devices like pacemakers or cochlear implants or metal braces should steer clear of the treatment, Mari said.

Do at-home microcurrent devices really work?

Typically, the microcurrent machines that are used during professional treatments are larger and have a higher current than the at-home devices, Mari said. But while they're less powerful, that doesn't mean you won't still see the benefits.

Let's take it back to the exercise comparison. Even if you're seeing a trainer once a week, you're still going to have to do some workouts on your own to see results. This is the same idea, Kaiser said. She recommends at-home devices to her clients as a way to maintain results between appointments. They're also good to have on-hand in moments when you feel like your complexion needs a little boost before a big event or Zoom call.

How to use an at-home microcurrent device

And as much as we'd like a quick, one-and-done solution for all of our skin concerns, you shouldn't expect that from this (or any skin care treatment, really). The results are temporary, Mari said. Typically, when starting out, you can expect the results to last a couple of days. "You will see longer-lasting results with more consistency," she added. And the more comfortable and confident you get with using the tool, the better the results will be.

According to Kaiser, the device can be used every other day. Once again, just like a workout, "you want to give your muscles a day off here and there," she said. The amount of time that you use it for depends on the device, but typically, it's around five to 10 minutes — many have a set timer to let you know when it's done. Most devices also come with conductive gel that you apply before the treatment. Though some TikTokers have said they use different products like aloe vera or water, Mari advises against it.

"You're un-intensifying your treatment by not using the proper products to go hand in hand with that," she said.

Here, some expert-approved options to consider.

Nuface Trinity Facial Toning Device

Nuface's microcurrent device is arguably the most buzzed-about and most-recommended product in the category — and it was a top pick from both of the experts that we spoke to. To use it, NuFace suggests applying the included NuFACE Gel Leave-On Primer and then gliding or holding the device over the natural contours of the face "for an instant, visible lift."

The device has also garnered a fan base on TikTok recently. User @sarahgalyean posted a video showing the before and after results while using the device and it has since racked up 4.9 million views, with some people saying that they had been convinced to buy it. It also comes in a smaller, travel-sized version that retails for $209.

Nuface Fix Smooth And Tighten Gift Set

If you're unsure if you're ready to commit to buying one of the bigger devices, a targeted microcurrent treatment tool is one way to test the waters. Say you have deep 11 lines between your eyes, crow's feet or wrinkles around your mouth that were causing concern, NuFace's smaller device could be a good place to start to address those, Kaiser said. Though, she added that once you start seeing results in one area, you're likely going to want to tackle other spots on your face, like your jawline or forehead — and that will be harder to do with a smaller tool.

ZIIP Beauty GX 2 piece

Created by aesthetician Melanie Simon, ZIIP Beauty's microcurrent device also came recommended by both experts. "The cool thing about the ZIIP Beauty is that it comes with an accompanying app where she actually talks you through each treatment setting," Mari said. There are how-to videos for multiple types of facials and targeted treatments.

PureLift Face

While the PureLift Face is a pricier option, Kaiser called it her "favorite," saying that she loves the results. It features Triple Wave Patented EMS Technology, using varying frequencies, which according to the brand, can target different layers of the skin and muscle. Just apply the conductive serum gel and go.

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