Shock therapy: all about the microcurrent facial trend
As women, we're using to prodding and plying our skin with all manner of needles, lasers and high-tech products, so the concept of using electricity to reawaken the skin shouldn't seem that radical - right? We slather snail slime and bee venom on our skin, but when it comes to using microcurrent technology, some women understandably baulk at the concept. "They're like, 'Is this going to shock my face?' laughs Tera Valdez-Peterson, the co-founder of NuFACE, a hand-held personal device that uses microcurrent to target wrinkles, sagging and ageing skin.
"Once you tell them it's a low-level current and they're not going to feel anything, then they go, 'Oh, ok'," she says. Clearly, it doesn't take much to convince us if the results are worth it. "Microcurrent is a naturally occurring current found in our bodies - it was actually used by Chinese acupuncturists," explains Valdez-Peterson. And here's the other thing: microcurrent technology isn't actually all that new. Sharing a similar medical background to the ever-so ubiquitous Botox, it was originally used to treat Bell's palsy patients, but once those in the beauty industry caught wind of what it did for atrophied muscles, it was swiftly adopted by aestheticians.
Tera Valdez-Peterson's mum Carol Cole was one of these early adopters and amazingly, she's been working with microcurrent technology for the past 30 years. "She wanted to give her clients a solution that would cater to those anti-ageing concerns like sagging and loss of definition - that's why she created our first device," explains Valdez-Peterson. After realising that women needed a solution outside of the salon (where microcurrent was first introduced), Cole took to creating a hand-held device - and ten years later, it's still beeping it's magic.
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So how does it work? In truth, it's a little like giving yourself an ultrasound. You apply a water-based serum to a clean face and then glide the two spherical prongs over your face in stages. "You don't want any make-up on because it's a positive and negative current, so it's going penetrate any product deeper within the skin," explains Valdez-Peterson. Once you hear the machine beep, you're good to go over the area again - three times is the charm for each section. Using just 335 microamps, the FDA-approved NuFACE Trinity Facial Trainer uses microcurrent to go in and normalise muscles -shortening or elongating them where needed. So how does it feel? "Like a hug with really good energy," says Valdez-Peterson and after a test-drive, I can safely report that it's nothing more than a slight tingle.
Nu FACE may be popular with celeb make-up artists for a quick contour and pep up before a red-carpet event, but for seriously dramatic and long-term results it's best to use the machine for five minutes each day. Available with two extra attachments - a red LED head that tackles wrinkles and a ELE attachment with two prongs for pinpointing hard-to-reach problem areas like eyebrow furrows and crow's feet. While best for lifting, toning, wrinkle reduction and contouring, a by-product of the NuFACE's action is improved circulation. "You will see that make-up goes on smoother," says Valdez-Peterson. "It's like exercising - the results will get better the more you use."
The NuFACE Trinity (including two attachments) is $458, while the entry-level Trinity Mini is $285. Both are available at Mecca stores in the Trove section and online at mecca.com.au.
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