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Are Microcurrent Devices Worth The Splurge? It Depends, Says A Dermatologist

I’m at the age where, whenever I look in the mirror, I can see that my face doesn’t look the same compared to a year ago — let alone 10 years ago. I’ve tried everything from gua sha to ice rollers to one of those battery-operated exfoliating devices that’s supposed to leave your skin squeaky clean. But I sensed I might need something just a smidge more powerful when it came to lifting and firming my (very newly) middle-aged face. Enter: the microcurrent device.

I don’t know if you’ve seen one of these things, but based on what’s been plastered on my social media feeds, a microcurrent treatment is supposed to “zap” my face back into shape.

According to Pooja Johari, Founder of 7e Wellness Myolift, this happens due to low levels of electricity that mimic our bodies’ own electrical impulses, which are delivered into the skin. “Microcurrent stimulates and rejuvenates the skin and muscle tissue with no pain during and no downtime after the treatment,” Johari explains. “Users can expect benefits like firmer, smoother, more even skin, improved moisture retention, better circulation of blood and lymph, enhanced product penetration, expedited healing and cell regeneration, decreased laxity, and a sculpted, lifted appearance to the face and neck.”

Non-invasive and non-injectable, the procedure sounds like a dream for those who are avoiding Botox.

That said, microcurrent treatments aren’t cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $500 per session, and while at-home devices cost similarly — which sounds cost-effective overall — they’re not as strong as what the doctor’s office uses.

However, if you’re like me, you enjoy adding some go-to tools and tricks to your skincare regime. So, is buying a microcurrent device worth the investment? Here’s what to ask yourself.

Is it good for your skin?

Just because everyone else says you should use a microcurrent device doesn’t mean it will actually work for your skin type. Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist, says that since microcurrent treatment helps tighten and lift the face, “it’s really best for those who have mild to moderate skin laxity, lines, or wrinkles.”

And while it’s using one is fine for all skin types and ages, she says it’s essential to have realistic expectations. “If you have very lax skin, no amount of microcurrent is going to lift it — the only treatment that will help in that case is a surgical facelift,” Yadav explains.

Basically, it’s not a magic pill.

Also, while using a microcurrent treatment is safe for most people, Gadav says there are a few exceptions. “If you are pregnant, have any kind of metal implant, epilepsy, a heart condition, or have gotten injectables (filler or neurotoxin) within the past two weeks, you should not use microcurrent,” she cautions.

Will you *actually* use it?

Let’s be honest: We say we’ll do the “all-in shower” once a week, and then we start skipping a step or two after a few weeks. Next thing you know, we’re doing nothing but the shower. So, if you’re going to invest in a microcurrent device, you’ll have to be diligent to see the results.

Johari says you should expect to treat your skin at least once per week (up to three times per week for a “boot camp”-style approach) over six or more weeks. “Those of us who are more mature or have more ambitious goals for our skin should expect to extend the series beyond six weeks until the desired results are achieved,” she says. After this, weekly treatments are recommended to help with maintenance.”

Is it worth going to a pro instead?

According to both Johari and Gadav, you’ll definitely get more bang — or buzz — for your buck by visiting a pro since professional microcurrent treatments use higher levels of current than an at-home treatment.

Johari says this helps professionals manifest faster results, and a professional’s knowledge of facial musculature “may also allow them to achieve greater efficacy with their treatments.” Although professional strength devices and treatments usually come with a higher price point, Johardi adds they require fewer treatments (which can be spaced further apart) to achieve results.

Are there any side effects?

Gadav says microcurrent has few side effects, but redness, sensitivity, and irritation are the most commonly reported. However, she warns that it can cause heart palpitations, which is why those who are pregnant or have heart conditions should avoid it.

The verdict?

If you’re confident that you will use it every single day, Gadava says it might be worth buying a microcurrent device. However, as she points out, “the majority of people aren’t great about using devices daily, and the tools just end up collecting dust on their bathroom counters.” Guilty!

If you’re hesitant about the price tag, she recommends starting with gua sha, face sculpting tools, and facial yoga. “If you’re dedicated to that and like the results but wish they were a bit more dramatic, try an at-home microcurrent device.”

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