Devices that apply microcurrents (barely perceptible currents that mimic the body’s bio-electric currents) can smooth facial wrinkles, lift sagging muscles and rejuvenate skin.
Part of the wound healing process is thought to involve very small electric currents that are generated following injury. The electric field produced by these currents may be involved in recruiting certain cell types to the wound and initiating the repair process.
Microcurrent stimulation relies on the principle that such repair processes could also be induced by artificial microcurrents applied to the skin. This would result in the production of collagen and elastin, two molecules important for skin strength and elasticity. It is thought that microcurrents may also increase the productivity of mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, by feeding them the electrons they need to produce the cellular fuel ATP. As ageing is linked to a loss of mitochondrial efficiency, this could theoretically reduce cellular ageing.
Most scientific studies involving microcurrents concern their potential to accelerate wound healing. There is evidence that microcurrents can promote collagen synthesis and the release of various growth factors, as well as improve circulation. However, much of the evidence pointing to accelerated wound healing is of poor quality, and one review found that only very specific forms of electrical stimulation at specific intensities produced consistent effects.
But what about skin ageing? Is there any evidence that microcurrent treatments can remove wrinkles? Well, there have been some studies – this one, for example, studied 30 women who received 30 microcurrent treatments lasting 20 minutes each. Dermatologists scored their facial wrinkles before and after treatment (they were not told which images came from before vs after). Based on said scores, wrinkles were reduced by various amounts, particularly in the forehead area.
Based on these photos chosen by the authors, there does seem to be some improvement. However, the study did not include a sham treatment to serve as a control, meaning that the observed improvements could have been due factors unrelated to the microcurrent itself. The lighting also doesn’t appear to be consistent between the before and after images, which could have affected the visibility of the wrinkles.
There may be a real effect here, but it is bold and premature to claim that at-home microcurrent devices can rejuvenate your skin, given the lack of scientific data. Most companies marketing such devices point to the evidence for improved elastin, collagen and ATP production, but these effects don’t necessarily translate to an improved skin quality. There’s also no guarantee that at-home microcurrent devices will produce the same results as in-office machines.
Some dermatologists suggest that microcurrent devices might be more useful for keeping skin healthy and tight, rather than rejuvenating aged skin. However, given the lack of evidence and the fact that most devices cost upward of $100, there are probably more effective and more evidence-based ways to spend your money.
Consider of Micro-Current's effect to variation of Facial Wrinkle trend, Randomized Clinical Trial: http://www.lifesciencesite.com/lsj/life0903/166_10025clife0903_1184_1189.pdfStudy.
Microcurrent Stimulation Triggers MAPK Signaling and TGF-β1 Release in Fibroblast and Osteoblast-Like Cell Lines: 10.3390/cells9091924
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