Are Electric Currents a Facelift Alternative?

At my plastic surgery practice in Chicago, I’ve had people ask me about all kinds of experimental procedures that are marketed as surgical alternatives. One such treatment is a facial microcurrent.

What is It?

A facial microcurrent is nonsurgical procedure that delivers electric energy to the skin. It is based on the theory that electrical stimulation using small currents will have a rejuvenating effect on the skin and reduce signs of aging. This is because cells naturally have an electrical charge, so delivering electrical currents to the skin invigorates the cells – causing them to renew and regenerate.

Fact or Fiction?

Research suggests that microcurrents can benefit the skin by promoting the healing of soft tissues and bones. However, there is little evidence to show that electrical currents tighten the tissue, and they certainly cannot create results comparable to a facelift. A facelift actually repositions the skin, tissues, and muscles and can take several years off your appearance. Plus, the results are much longer-lasting than a nonsurgical alternative like the facial microcurrent could possibly achieve.

The Science of Aging

Aging is caused by many factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors. Repeated facial movements such as smiling and squinting also gradually etch lines into the skin over time. Although facial microcurrents claim to strengthen these muscles (which hasn’t been proven), lines and wrinkles are ultimately not caused by muscle weakness. There is no evidence that the facial muscles actually weaken with age. Thus, I am deeply skeptical whether a facial microcurrent will have any significant or lasting benefits with regards to facial aging, and it is unproven.

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