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The Truth About Microcurrent

the truth about microcurrent
November 25, 2014 Reviewed by Marta 41 Comments

Microcurrent is used therapeutically to relieve muscle pain and to stimulate the muscles to restore a more youthful look to our faces. Safe and non-invasive, microcurrent devices are now available for use at home. Want to know more? Here’s the truth about microcurrent.

Microcurrent is the opposite of Botox

Botox inhibits the muscle movements that cause expression lines. If a muscle is immobilized, even temporarily, it will use less energy and start to atrophy. Indeed, atrophy can be utilized for esthetic effect — for example, a cheek can be given a hefty dose of Botox to slim it down. But for me, that’s one of the problems with Botox; muscle atrophy leads to sunken faces and skin that folds into marionette lines. Me, I’d rather opt for plumping.

And that’s where microcurrent comes in, as it lifts and re-educates muscles. Whereas Botox can make the face hollow and concave, microcurrent achieves what Dr. Perricone calls "convexities" in the face. "Convexities are what make you youthful," he says.

So how does microcurrent do this?

We have electrical charges pulsating throughout our bodies. Microcurrent mimics the body’s own natural bio electrical field and sends tiny electrical currents to our muscles. According to CACI, a British company which has been making professional microcurrent machines for decades: “Combining ultra low frequencies with a modified waveform enables the micro-current to recharge the electrical potential of the muscle by stimulating the spindle cell fibers that run the length of the muscle and attach to the golgi tendon organ in the belly of the muscle.”

There are over 30 muscles in the face, and microcurrent can be used to stimulate the muscles. There is no muscle contraction. The muscle is woken up, and the current reminds it where it used to be (before gravity wore it down) and muscle memory is reactivated. So, used over time, the muscles are re-educated to resume their place for a perky and plumper look.

What can microcurrent do for you?

Originally developed for treating facial palsy, microcurrent in the esthetic realm can:

• Re-educate muscles

• Increase blood and lymph circulation

• Enhance the penetration of the active ingredients of skin care formulations

• Increase the production of collagen and elastin

• Increase protein synthesis, gluconeogenesis and cell membrane transport

Additionally, research has shown that microcurrent may help with anti-aging at an even deeper level. In 1982, researcher Ngok Cheng led a study that provided hard evidence of microcurrent's role in cellular vitality by proving that microcurrent increased levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in lab-rat skin cells by 500 percent. ATP is the fuel a cell needs to function. Actually ATP is a really big deal as it is the energy that fuels all biochemical functions in the body. It boosts protein synthesis, necessary for tissue repair.

Dos and don’ts

Microcurrent is safe to use on the face, neck and even the under-eye area. It should not be used on eyelids. Water or a water-based gel should be used to ensure the conductivity of the microcurrent and for comfortable use of the device. Microcurrent can typically feel a little tingly or prickly. This will vary greatly depending on the individual’s level of sensitivity.

  • October 19, 2018

    by Margaret

    You say it’s safe to use on the neck but I’ve read that it’s not safe because your thyroid gland in your neck. Zapping your thyroid gland is NOT a good idea.

  • August 27, 2018

    by Susana

    I would like to know more about Connie Stevens products. I am actually started using her time machine around 2 month but it I see nothing yet

  • March 12, 2018

    by Nasim

    I had breast cancer 5 yrs ago I am cancer free now is NuFACE safe for me to use

  • December 19, 2017

    by molly johnson

    wondering how effective this is in eliminating under eye puffiness. I wake up with such puffy eyes and it seems to be taking longer and longer for them to go down. could I expect this to be a good solution?

    Also, has anyone checked the EMF's (electromagnetic field) put out by these? if so, are any units better than others in terms of limiting EMF exposure?

  • November 23, 2017

    by Syl

    I used Nuface pro for the face, and I feel sick (nautious, headache & dizzy) I used the lowest level. I am the kind that is also sensitive for smartphones. Anyone had the same experience? I really like to know more about it as I want to use it more often.

  • July 31, 2017

    by m beatrice

    I have an implant is it safe to continue to give treatments using this device I usually wear gloves

  • July 28, 2017

    by Miche

    Hello i was wondering what the "don'ts" are. Like i have swollen armpits and wondered if it can help reduce them

  • July 24, 2017

    by Lori

    Are NuFACE Trinity/Pro microcurrent treatments safe for someone seriously sensitive to any stimulants (alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, excessive heat, excessive cold, too much exercise) which assist in re-occurring Atrial Fibrillation (Afib), tachycardia, flutter; and since 2009, has had 4 cardio versions, 2 cardiac ablations, and 1 six-hour pulmonary vein ablation?

    Would this same NuFace unit with LED be safe?

  • July 5, 2017

    by Mimi

    I had rhinoplasty surgery about 10 yrs ago and do have an implant in place. Would it be safe to use the nuface since the implant is plastic?

  • July 3, 2017

    by Karen Fain

    How often should you have the treatments done?

  • November 20, 2016

    by DAWN

    I just bought the nuface trinity/pro and need to know if you can use the device on your armpits and the back of your upper arm. Are there places that you shouldnt use the device like neck, inner thighs or lower back pain? I have read that it is used to help with sore muscles too. Thank you

  • October 25, 2016

    by marta

    Hi Debbie, I don't know about older versions of Time Machine, but the one that Connie Stevens sells currently is microcurrent - the same technology as I am discussing in this article.

  • October 24, 2016

    by Debbie

    What is the different between these new home use microcurrent devices and the older devices (Connie Steven's time machine) that actually contracted muscles?

  • October 9, 2016

    by karenbailes

    Is LED machines taking over the micro current machines as this is my main treatment

  • June 12, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Leslie, the eyelid skin is the thinnest of all the body. The microcurrent pulses would penetrate straight into the eyeball.

  • June 11, 2016

    by Leslie

    Can you please explain why micro current shouldn't be used on eye lids ? Thank you

  • March 11, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Jan, I have answered your previous question, it is above yours.

  • March 11, 2016

    by Jan

    This is a question, I have already sent you this and had no reply.

    I have thread veins and I was wondering if having this treatment would affect the veins.

    I await your comments please


  • March 7, 2016

    by Marta Wohrle

    Hi Jan, I don't believe it will do any harm. But you might want to look into LED, which will actually help. More information here:

  • March 7, 2016

    by Jan

    I have thread veins is it advisable to have this treatment.


  • May 23, 2015

    by Marta

    Thanks for the link "mmm". Makes perfect sense to me.

  • May 23, 2015

    by mmm

    They say microcurrent facials are botox's new best article here:

  • March 5, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Karen
    It really depends on what you are trying to achieve. Microcurrent is good for firming. Whereas, LED and ultrasound are good for firming and wrinkles. As the technologies work in different ways - LED and ultrasound work at the cellular level and microcurrent at the muscular level - they are complimentary.

  • March 5, 2015

    by Karen

    Dear TIA Customer Support,

    Would I use this in lieu of the Truth Vitality Lux Renew? I'm assuming so, but since this is new to me, as I've never had procedures done in a spa or Dermatologist's office, I want to make sure.

    Thank you.

  • January 12, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Catherine, no at home device is going to perform the same way as a professional machine that costs thousands of dollars. However, with regular use - 3-4 times per week - you will see results with an at home device and it will also be great as maintenance between monthly professional sessions.

  • January 12, 2015

    by Catherine

    Do you think at home devices work as well as office micro current machines?

  • December 9, 2014

    by Annette

    I went back to getting a very light sprinkling of BOTOX around the eyes and between the brows every 6 months, in addition to using the TIA Renew, which I love. Over the last few months, I've been getting microcurrent treatments combined with a facial and light peel at my local spa. After about 3 microcurrent treatments, I can see a noticeable difference in the treated areas. I keep the microcurrent treatments focused on my jawline/neck and around the mouth, to provide a gentle lower face lift, staying away from the BOTOX injection areas. The combined results look good, in my opinion. I plan on ordering the TIA microcurrent device once my spa package for microcurrent treatments is depleted. I feel I can combine BOTOX and microcurrent as I have been doing, as long as I don't overlap treatment areas. Am I off-base on thinking this?

  • December 5, 2014

    by Tara Danard

    In response to what Maggie posted, micro current can increase puffiness around the eyes for example if there is already issues with lymph drainage. I'm presently waiting on my TIA micro current device to be delivered (yay) but for a while now I've been doing my own lymph drainage to reduce under eye puffiness. I gently stroke above and below my collarbone with two finger, gently and with moisturizer, then from chin downward, and again with two fingers, in front and behind the ears. Once I've done this for a few minutes making sure the drainage channels are clear I then gently go from inside the corner of the eyes across my face horizontally and then down along the side of the face by the ears. You don't need to do it roughly, that can actually cause blockages. I've heard that doing this before a micro current treatment will be more effective in reducing puffiness because the lymph isn't blocked in any way, whereas if the lymph is already not flowing, the micro current will have a harder time with drainage and thus puffiness may result after treatment. This isn't gospel, I'm not a professional but with experience in manual drainage it kind of makes sense.

  • December 4, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Angie and Leigh, I have known of people who have had Botox but also have microcurrent treatments. However, it seems counter-intuitive since microcurrent would seem to be working against the mechanism of Botox. If you have had Botox, I think you should consult whoever did the procedure. Here are the contraindications that I am aware of:

    • Consult with your physician before using this device, because the device may cause lethal rhythm disturbances to the heart in susceptible individuals.

    • Avoid using on open wounds, rashes, and other painful or inflamed areas.

    • Do not use over suspicious or cancerous lesions.

    • Do not use this device if you have a cardiac pacemaker, implanted defibrillator/stimulator, or any other implanted, metallic, or electronic device.

    • Do not use the device on your chest or near the thorax as it may increase the risk of cardiac fibrillation.

    • Do not use the device if pregnant.

    • Do not use the device if you are subject to seizures.

  • December 4, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Linda, I have tried the Serious Skincare egg and it was OK. I agree with you that it is awkward to use with the two parts. I've tried to keep our microcurrent device, the Truth Rejuvenate, as simple to use as possible - it has slightly smaller prongs than the NuFace, which In find more effective.

  • December 4, 2014

    by Marta

    Sorry to be only just getting to all these questions. Sherri, I haven't tried the Strivectin, but you should be aware that is not the same technology as microcurrent. It is electro stimulation and I have not seen clinical data on how it helps facial muscles or anti-aging. Although their publicity says that it is the same technology used in doctor's offices, I haven't personally come across a professional machine that uses electro stimulation on the face.

  • December 3, 2014

    by Angie

    Can micro current be used if you also use Botox? Does the micro current negate the effects of the Botox toxin? Thanks!

  • November 26, 2014

    by Rocky

    I have been using the Nuface Trinity (and the older version before the Trinity). It has been wonderful in keeping my face looking tighter, higher, and more toned!

  • November 25, 2014

    by Leigh

    Marta, are there any concerns to using microcurrent
    If you have heart or thyroid issues? Thanks.

  • November 25, 2014

    by LINDA

    I bought the Serious Skincare Microcurrent Egg. I find it difficult to use. I have fillers in my face and have had numerous plastic surgery procedures. Do you have any knowledge of this machine? I find having the two units confusing. I looked at the Nu Face Mini.
    Also I have been using the PMD microderm. Now I see that the diamond microderm is being offered.
    Would like to hear your feelings about these machines.

  • November 25, 2014

    by Sherri

    Marta, I share a concern you've stated in the past, concern that I won't stimulate the right muscles in the right way. To this point, what are your thoughts on the StriVectinLABS Facial Toner? It is supposed to stimulate all of the facial muscles simultaneously.

  • November 25, 2014

    by Nikki

    @Maggie: Suzanne Somers' device IS NOT true microcurrent. True microcurrent equipment output should be in the millionth of amp, when hers is in the thousands of amp (aka "TENS"). Do some research around on the difference between these and their respective effects on the skin, but do not give up hope on a beautiful technology because you have fallen for this piece of junk. True microcurrent home devices currently on the market include Nuface, NeurotriS Pico Toner, CACI Microlift and possibly a few others... But by all means stay away from TENS devices.

  • November 25, 2014

    by sheri

    I've been using microcurrent for years at home. It's safe!! If you use enough get, it won't feel prickly. It's no scarier than ultrasound or LED. Just different.

  • November 25, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Dawnymae, I would encourage you not to find it scary. Microcurrent is considered very safe and is even used to rehabilitate the muscles of people who have had a stroke. Maggiie, I used to agree with you in that a professional was the only way to go. And I certainly did not enjoy the Suzanne Somers device. But many of the newer and more simpler ones are easy and enjoyable to use. A good device will encourage lymphatic drainage, not the retention of fluid. I would consider also that results are cumulative over time and the choice of water based product is also important as some may cause irritation.

  • November 25, 2014

    by Maggie

    I would not advise anyone to personally do micro current treatments upon themselves - as I had a very bad inflammatory reaction when I purchased suzanne somers micro current device and my face swelled up and retained fluid for days and I did not see any improvement as far as anti aging results - so if you are a sensitive or hyper sensitive person - stay away from micro current treatment unless you want to go to a professional and let them advise and consult with you!

  • November 25, 2014

    by Dawnymae

    Sounds intriguing, but scary!

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