The great news is that in the past few years, at-home devices — based on technologies that were once only available to doctors — have become affordable and effective. The downside is that the choices can seem overwhelming. So it isn’t surprising that my mailbox is always full of questions about at-home devices, such as those with microcurrent, ultrasonic or LED. I’m sharing a few that the rest of you might find useful.
Dear Marta, I'm interested in firming and lifting skin. What would be better for me — microcurrent or ultrasonic? Should I use both?
The short answer is that you can’t go wrong with either. Microcurrent and ultrasonic are the best things I have found for lifting sagging skin. I have a personal preference for ultrasound, which in my experience is the more effective treatment. But I actually do use both — ultrasound around 2-3 times a week and microcurrent 1-2 times a week — because the technologies are complementary:
Microcurrent works at the muscular level
Microcurrent delivers a tiny charge that stimulates facial muscles. The charge is very tiny and sub-sensory, meaning if the device is properly used, you should not feel anything (very sensitive people may experience tingling).
Ultrasound works at the cellular level
As the ultrasound waves pass from the treatment head into the skin, they cause the vibration of the surrounding tissues — particularly those that contain collagen. Ultrasound cannot be heard by the human ear and cannot be felt (there is no vibration or other sensation).
Dear Marta, I'm looking to invest in a device but am on a budget. Is there an all-rounder device that could help all my skin concerns — wrinkles, sagging and sun damage?
Let’s take your skin concerns in turn and I’ll point to the best technology for them:
The best technologies for wrinkles are collagen boosting. This would be LED light. Specifically the red LED light helps treat wrinkles by targeting water layers on elastin, resulting in wrinkle reduction.
Ultrasound can really help firm things up. The rapid oscillation of tissue created by ultrasound energy promotes movement of fluid waves against cells, facilitating movement between the inner and outer cells and thereby increased fibroblastic activity and collagen formation.
For sun spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation, look to green LED light. Green light targets melanocytes, melanin-producing cells located in the bottom layer of the skin's epidermis. It prevents it from traveling to the skin’s surface, and breaks up melanin clusters to diminish existing discoloration.
Dear Marta, I'm approaching my 40s and am looking for a tool that'll help keep wrinkles at bay.
I do believe that cumulative results of ultrasound and LED light are preventative. I have a 30-something friend whose monthly esthetician visits for LED seem to be staving off her 40s in the most impressive way. As sagging is not an issue, I would keep things simple with our Truth Vitality Lux Renew ($279 in the shop), which has LED light (red and infra-red for wrinkles and blue for acne) and ultrasound, or Quasar MD Plus ($399) with red and infra-red LED light.