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my monthly salon facial treatments

My monthly salon facial treatments

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
Reviewed by Marta September 27, 2010 35 Comments
Although I regularly post updates of my daily regimen, it is high time that I describe my monthly facials as these treatments are every bit as important as finding a good serum. This is one of the reasons why I’m going to be increasing Truth In Aging’s coverage of treatments, salons and spas. But I’ll come back to that. First, I want to tell you about my facial treatments (which I have been having for about eight years now) at the Ildi Pekar salon in New York.

The two main components of my treatments are microcurrent and LED. I believe that they are both the single most important thing that I do to prevent sagging and put off the need to have dermal fillers.

Microcurrent is not a new technology (in the UK, the machines are called CACI) and it was originally developed to restore muscular functions for stroke patients. However, the machines have become more sophisticated over the last couple of decades with more sensitive controls that allow a good esthetician to really “sculpt” facial contours.

Microcurrent uses a subsensory electric current that delivers a pulse to the facial muscles and stimulates them and the surrounding tissue. The esthetician’s skill is in manipulating two probes to massage the muscles whilst the current is being delivered to them. This stimulates the muscle fibers and they can be gently (this is not something you can really feel happening) toned or shortened.

The theory is that microcurrent improves the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical in muscles that provides energy. However, there only seems to be one study backing this up and it goes back to the late 1980s – however, the results were an impressive 500% increase in ATP. Anyway, ATP is stored and so the effects of microcurrent treatments over time are cumulative.

What appeals to me about microcurrent is that it works in the opposite way to invasive procedures such as Botox, which inhibits muscle movement in order to relax wrinkles. However, a muscle that doesn’t move will atrophy and the result (without more treatments) would be increased sagging. Microcurrent, on the other hand, is like giving the muscles in your face the equivalent of a bicep curl.

The other key treatment in my monthly facial session is LED light therapy. At Ildi’s salon the panels of light are positioned to treat my face, décolleté, arms and hands.  While microcurrent works on the muscles, lED works on the skin’s cells. It works by stimulating the body’s tissues to convert the light energy into cellular energy. It boosts collagen production and scavenger cells that remove excess pigmentation or scar tissue.  Uising visible or near infrared light for LED is used more widely for reducing pain, inflammation and edema, promoting healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves, and preventing tissue damage.

LED is somewhat controversial because it isn’t really understood as to how it works and some research has shown that it can signal radical scavengers in the short-term. However, these are ultimately overthrown by the antioxidant activity that the light stimulates.

I top up these salon treatments with a Baby Quasar LED light treatment, which I use at home for about 10 minutes once a week or so. I have never tried an at-home microcurrent device on the grounds that any fool can hold up an LED light, but the effects of microcurrent are also due to the way the probes are used to massage the muscle. As I don’t really have the experience of a trained esthetician, I’ve always felt that I’d be wasting my money on an at-home device.

We are going to increase TIA’s coverage of salon treatments for face and body, as well as salon only skincare brands. So if you have treatments that you can recommend or a local salon that you’d like to share with our community, please let us know.
  • November 16, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Sharon

    I still have those monthly microcurrent treatments, but it is somewhat out of habit. The best thing I have found is ultrasound which I do with my at-home device, the Truth Vitality Lux Renew.

  • November 15, 2016

    by Sharon

    Hi Martha,
    I wanted to ask : with five years hindsite - do you find electrical stimulation of the facial muscles with microcurrents effective against sagging? Do you see down sides to this treatment (other than the cost).
    Would be grateful for your answer

  • October 1, 2011

    by Marta

    Microcurrent and LED both work under the dermis and will not effect the pigment of the skin. I suspect your technician meant phototherapies such as IPL or laser, which do change and can discolor the surface of the skin. But you could really give microcurrent and/or LED a go without any fear.

  • October 1, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Kimberly, I have LED salon treatments once a month. I top up in the meantime with LED at home (either Aurora or Baby Q), but even if I didn't do the at-home treatments I think once a month is fine, twice a month would be great, twice a week is overkill.

    I think the green tea experiment would be great, as well as inexpensive and harmless. I use YBF's Antioxidants Concentrate because its convenient. But a DIY thing would be worth trying if you have time and the inclination. Let us know if you do!

    And a big warm welcome to the TIA community!

  • October 1, 2011

    by Kimberly

    Hi again, Marta--

    One more question (for now, anyway): Do you have any opinion of and/or experience with these "spa pods" here in Manhattan that have cropped up lately? I get the impression that they're basically full-body LED machines--sounds intriguing!

    Thanks again,

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