The NuFace Facial Toning System by the Carol Cole Company promises to deliver the first FDA approved microcurrent facial for use at home. The Device itself is not much bigger than a cell phone and is sold as a package with the "conducive" lotions (they stop it tingling unpleasantly) for a little under $300. I have been having salon microcurrent facials for years and am a huge fan. But let's be clear, the microcurrent facial treatment is no wrinkle buster; what it delivers is firm, healthy skin by stimulating the muscles.

Can NuFace Device really deliver results for the price of a couple of trips to the esthetician? A bleak little review posted by "Plain Jane" on Amazon.com does not hold out much hope: "If you do not have wrinkles around your eyes, around your mouth and a worry line between your eyebrows, this product may work for you". To be fair, NuFace makes it clear that it can't be used in these areas, because the muscles in those areas require a circular movement to make them work properly and this device wasn't designed for that.

I think the limitation of NuFace lies in the very fact that it is pretty inflexible. The salon microcurrent machines are effective - and they really are - because they vary the current and frequency to target different muscles and skin tissue in different areas. They give a good esthetician a huge amount of very precise control.

Microcurrent facials work in the opposite way to Botox. They give the muscles a work out. Botox stops them working and ultimately this leads to atrophy. The reason why I like the microcurrent approach is because it is a toner and that seems compatible with the fair amount of time I spend doing Pilates and bicep curls to keep myself in shape.

As we get older, muscles stop working as hard - unless we keep going to the gym - leading to, for example, sagging jowls. The charge delivered by the microcurrent machines, at one millionth of an ampere (the same as the body's natural electricity, re-educates muscles to respond to regular nerve stimulation. Interestingly, muscles 'remember' once they have been stimulated and return to the semi-contracted state required for them to perform normally. This means firmer facial tone and some diminishment of lines.

Helping to reestablish normal energy flows, microcurrent therapy is also used on muscle pain and inflammation. Microcurrents increase amino acid transport, protein synthesis and collagen regeneration, which stimulates cell growth. Product penetration is improved.

Most of the reviews of NuForm are unconvincing. But don't let that put you off microcurrent treatments and the odd trip to the salon.