My Favorite Skincare Gadgets – #2: Microcurrent

My 2nd most favorite gadget to use in conjunction with my skincare is a microcurrent device.  Proper skincare will help maintain the structure and elasticity of the skin by rebuilding collagen and elastin.  Ultrasound devices can stimulate the pili muscles in the dermis to further tighten the skin.  But, another factor which contributes to an aged appearance is sagging of the facial muscles located under the skin’s subcutaneous layer.  This results in nasolabial fold lines, sagging jowls, and turkey gobble under the chin.  Skincare and ultrasound are not capable of correcting lax, sagging muscles, so it is an important consideration if you are trying to keep an overall youthful appearance.  Luckily, a microcurrent device can address the sagging muscles.  Professional microcurrent machines have been used in spas for at least 20 years.  Muscles on the face that are not worked on a regular basis eventually atrophy and sag with age, similar to muscles on the body. 

Microcurrent gadgets generate little electrical impulses which are passed through the facial muscles.  The electrical stimulation gives the facial muscles a mini workout by alternately tensing and relaxing them.  As a result, facial muscles are firmer and more lifted appearing.   Deep lines caused by constant squinting, frowning and  other expressions can be softened and relaxed with microcurrent.  The eye brows, cheeks, and jawline can be lifted with a microcurrent gadget.  As you lift the cheek muscles, nasolabial lines (marionette lines) diminish as well.  An immediate lifting effect can be seen right after a spa treatment and can last 7-10 days.   With regular treatments, the effect is cumulative and sustained.  You may have to go in once a week for a few weeks to obtain the desired results and then go on a maintenance schedule of once or twice a month to keep up the results.  The effect is temporary, however; so unless you can go in at least once every month, your sagging will eventually come back. 

The good news is that for a few hundred dollars, you can buy a home unit for interim or long-term use.  They may take longer than a spa treatment to obtain the same level of results, but the end result is the same as long as you do treatments on a regular basis.  Most of these are hand-held units and cost in the $300 to $500 range.  The benefits of microcurrent devices are that they are noninvasive, not painful, or harmful.  They are extremely easy to use.  You may feel a tingling and contractions, but it should never be painful or unbearable.  In addition to lifting the muscles, the electrical current also increases circulation and blood flow in the skin, providing more nutrients to the skin, improving its overall health, tone, and texture.  I find microcurrent helpful in reducing morning eye puffiness by moving out retained fluid under the eyes.  Like ultrasound, I find microcurrent is a must-have gadget because of its multiple benefits and lack of risk.

Over the last decade, I have tried several units.  I tried the Dermatone, Suzanne Somers Facemaster, and the Ezzi-lift.  By far, my favorite microcurrent device has been Tua Trend.  It is a handheld rechargeable unit.  I’ve been using it over a year now, and it’s very user-friendly, not painful, highly adjustable, AND only takes me 15 minutes 3x/wk for treatments.  Great for busy (or lazy) people who don’t want to spend hours every week doing treatments.  Here is a picture of my Tua Trend.  The sponges are different colors, but are the same otherwise:    

The beauty of this unit is that it has a timer on it, so you know exactly when to move the wand to the next section of the face.  There are specific settings for 5 zones of the face and neck (upper cheek, lower cheek, eyebrow and eye, jaw/neck, and under eye).  You can control the intensity or strength of contractions to each zone; this is displayed as a number on the screen.  The wands are detachable.  Two replaceable sponge contacts or heads are on each wand.  Only 1 wand comes with the unit.  However, you can buy an additional wand and plug in 2 wands (4 sponge contacts in total) in order to work both sides of your face simultaneously, cutting the treatment time from 30 to 15 minutes.  There is a DVD and a booklet with full instructions, but it is very easy to use after one read.

 I use the Tua Trend on clean dry skin.  The wands must be moistened with water or calming mist so that the current can conduct properly through the skin.  If not wet enough, you will not feel the tingle or contractions as well.  Correctly placed, you will see and feel the muscles contracting.  Depending on the level you set, it can be mild or very strong.  I suggest not setting the levels too high in the beginning.  You can overwork the muscles and cause more sag if you try to do too much, too soon, at a very high intensity.   Also, do it in the mirror the first few times to be sure you are contracting the right muscles.  Build up your intensity and give your face muscles down time to rest in between treatments.  I think 3x/wk is adequate.  If you have a big event or date, do it the morning of the event for a pick-me-up lift.  After the microcurrent treatment, I do my ultrasound massage.  It’s not necessary that the microcurrent and ultrasound treatments be done together, but I like to use my gadgets on the same 3 evenings (or mornings) and get it over with.  Together, both treatments should take about 40 minutes 3x/wk….That’s not too much time to invest in keeping your face as youthful as possible.   I think these gadgets are a better option to plastic surgery, as they are safer, cheaper, and there is no down-time.   Additionally, you can’t end up looking “overdone” or unnatural looking, as sometimes happens with plastic surgery.   Keep in mind, even good plastic surgery is only a temporary solution, because the skin and muscles will ultimately sag again after a few years.   Unfortunately, you can’t stop the aging process, you can only slow it down with proper skincare and regular use of skincare tools or gadgets.

Resources:

http://reviews.qvcuk.com/1690/432631/tua-tua-trend-face-neck-portable-toning-firming-system-with-demo-dvd-432631-reviews/reviews.htm

http://www.tuatrendface.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTpmou2tkqg&feature=related

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