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What Is It: The Microcurrent Facial

microcurrent facial
October 4, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 12 Comments

Being vain, but also timid when it comes to anything that might hurt (I beg for a general anaesthetic whenever I get my teeth cleaned), the only thing I've really dared to try is a microcurrent facial.

Once a month I visit my facialist, Ildi Pekar. I met her about four years ago when she was working for the ultra-famous, tender to the stars, Tracie Martyn. Madonna is a regular visitor to the rather dingy downtown salon and Susan Sarandon is said to carry the serum in her purse. For me the draw was the resculpting facial and, increasingly, an appreciation of Ilde's special touch.

Ildi is Hungarian (for reasons that I haven't pinned down, Eastern Europe is leads the world in advanced skincare). She is endlessly curious about natural skincare; thinks one should care much more about firm skin structure and muscle tone than fine lines if one wants to stay looking young; and, as previously noted, she has magic fingers. Back at Tracie Martyn all the facialists follow the same routine (by the way doen't expect to get Tracie unless are Liv Tyler - saying you are related to Liv Tyler won't work) but I soon learned that each of them was somehow different. Loyal to Ildi, I followed her when she left to start up on her own at snug and calming rooms near Grand Central Station.

At the heart of her facials is a machine that delivers low level electric currents to fight sagging and puffiness by delivering a tiny charge that stimulates facial muscles (I believe that the system was originally designed by doctors to help stroke victims regain movement). Face and neck muscles feel toned - the equivalent of having done bicep curls. The process is enormously relaxing and it does result in a youthful glow. I've been doing this for at least four years and remain a believer. Its supposed to increase elastin by 48% and collagen by 14%. I can report a toned and relaxed look . However, be warned, it does not get rid of wrinkles.

  • October 17, 2009

    by marta

    Hi Joan, I'll look into it, but my understanding of microcurrent is that that machine itself is not the main issue (although they need to be at the proper frequencies and preferably have multiple settings), but how they are used. The practitioner is almost trying to sculpt the face with the metal prongs and it takes practice. Have a look at our <a href="" rel="nofollow">video</a>( demonstrating the treatment to see what I mean. Still, I'll have a look at what's out there.

  • October 17, 2009

    by Joan

    Marta, have you ever considered trialing and reviewing any of the microcurrent machines made for home use? Like the galvanic spa?

    There are no salons in my small town that offer microcurrent facials and it sounds wonderful. Just wondering if we have any options. Thanks!

  • September 15, 2009

    by Janet

    If you use the hand held micro current machine on other parts of your body, ie your delicate skin on your neck and chest, could the current affect your heart?

  • July 4, 2009

    by Beth

    Thank you, Marta (and thanks to Ildi)! That makes sense.

  • July 3, 2009

    by marta

    Beth, I checked with Ildi Pekar my esthetician and she recommends starting with once a week for three weeks and then going monthly. She says that any more than that is a waste of time because the facial muscles are fairly week and will only respond so much. However, she was at great pains to add that it also depends on the type of machine used. Hers has adjustable settings and is relatively powerful. A weaker machine may require more visits. Hope that helps.

  • July 1, 2009

    by marta

    I think when I started out, it was once a week for the first month and thereafter monthly. But it was a few years ago, so I'll check with my esthetician tomorrow and get back to you.

  • July 1, 2009

    by Beth

    Marta, I found a microcurrent esthetician who is recommending coming in twice a week for the first ten treatments, then moving to once a month for maintenance. Do you think this is salesmanship or makes dermalogic sense? Thanks for your thoughts!

  • September 8, 2008

    by marta

    <p>Thank goodness. Thermage is such a bad idea. One of my closest friends is in her early 30s and is getting married later this year. She started getting LED light therapy treatments at my esthetician and is knocked out by the results. The cost (in NYC) is about $150 for a session (one a month suffices). If I were you I would definitely look into that. </p>

  • September 8, 2008

    by Lim

    <p>Finally a helpful site that give women who works hard for their money useful info on what works and what doesn't. Aside from praising your site, I have a question about the best non-invasive treatments for deep wrinkles on the neck and fine facial lines. What are they? Before reading you article, I was opted to plop down 2k for thermage treatments. Now that's been cast in the toilet. Please advice! I am in my early 30's and getting marry in 9 months. I want to look really really good. Thx in advance.</p>

  • April 20, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>That's fantastic. Funny about day 2 and 3 showing the improvement - that's what I find too. What I love about it is that the muscles 'remember' and so you get more toned with each treatment. Keep it up and no sagging jowls for you. </p>

  • April 20, 2008

    by mt

    <p>Tried Ildi's Refine Facial, which includes microcurrent, this weekend. Am extremely happy with the results. I do look more toned - I have cheekbones now, which is a nice change. Day 2 results even better than Day 1. </p>

    <p>Am likely to become a loyal convert. </p>

  • November 1, 2007

    by Julia Marozzi

    <p>One small point about microdermabrasion - I went to Clinique La Prairie in Montreux, Switzerland, to write about the clinic, and while there had the procedure. Initially, my skin was rosy and plump and fine. Within 36 hours it had developed painful redness all over and was itchy and puffy. It took a week to calm down and there was a fair bit of peeling. So if you have sensitive skin, beware, and make sure the therapists do not take off too deep a layer. Sounds as if everything in the US is more advanced than anything in the UK. Best regards</p>

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