A microcurrent facial uses weak electrical signals to stimulate the muscles and skin. Some claim this has benefits, such as reversing the visible signs of aging, such as drooping skin and dullness.

Research suggests that microcurrent stimulation has several benefits, including promoting wound healing, reducing inflammation, boosting circulation, and improving muscle function. Additionally, unlike other more invasive procedures, microcurrent facials involve no incisions or anesthesia.

People can purchase microcurrent devices to use at home or receive professional treatments with a dermatologist or esthetician. However, there is little evidence to show how effective, reliable, or safe microcurrent facials are long term.

A man lead on a table while a dermatologist performs a microcurrent facial.Share on Pinterest
yacobchuk/Getty Images

A microcurrent facial is a cosmetic treatment where a person uses a special handheld device to deliver tiny currents of electricity to the face. These microcurrents stimulate the skin and muscles with the aim of improving a person’s appearance.

Microcurrent devices have two electrodes on one end, which deliver the current of electricity. This does not involve any surgery. A person remains awake throughout the treatment and can continue their usual activities immediately.

Microcurrent devices are available for use at home, or people can purchase treatments from a licensed professional.

Doctors have used microcurrents for decades to treat conditions such as Bell’s palsy, a type of facial paralysis. However, a 2015 analysis suggests that the practice might not be effective.

Microcurrent devices work by delivering an electrical current to muscles and skin cells. The idea behind this is that the electrical current will build up muscles in the face, lifting and tightening the skin.

Some companies also claim that microcurrent facials stimulate collagen production. At present, there are no studies that confirm this. However, anecdotal reports suggest that people can notice an immediate difference after sessions.

Limited scientific research suggests that microcurrent treatments may:

Stimulate facial muscles

One of the main benefits of microcurrent therapy is that it stimulates facial muscles. Stimulating them may help the face look tighter and reduce the visible signs of aging.

Improve blood circulation

Electrical stimulation can improve blood flow to the skin. This may improve the health of skin cells, make the skin look healthier, or increase plumpness.

Speed wound healing

Some research suggests that microcurrent stimulation may help promote wound healing. It may increase blood circulation to the area or reduce inflammation. This may help with chronic wounds and ulcers. It may also help with certain types of acne.

Other health benefits

Microcurrent stimulation may also offer other noncosmetic health benefits. For example, a 2019 study found that daily self-administered microcurrent therapy could reduce facial pain from sinus congestion for up to 6 hours. It also reduced pain and congestion over 4 weeks of use.

Animal research also suggests that electrical stimulation may help improve the functioning of atrophied muscles. More research in humans is necessary to determine if this might be a viable treatment for muscle weakness or muscle loss.

Professional microcurrent devices tend to be more powerful than at-home devices. This makes them unsafe to use at home but also means they may create more pronounced results.

Dermatologists and estheticians may also combine microcurrent treatments with other services, such as face masks, serums, and massages. They can tailor this to someone’s particular needs to achieve their desired results.

People using at-home microcurrent facials may need to use them consistently to experience results. It may also take longer to notice equivalent results due to weaker currents.

Research from 2021 states that microcurrent treatments are “relatively safe” and have few side effects.

Microcurrents are not strong enough to cause injury, so when a person uses these devices correctly, they should not hurt or cause skin damage. However, some people should not have microcurrent facials. This includes people with:

Many microcurrent clinics also recommend against treating pregnant people. This is because doctors do not know if treatment is safe for a developing fetus.

Another potential risk comes from unregulated or untested microcurrent devices. When trying a microcurrent facial at home, a person should always use a device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Alternatively, people should seek treatment from a licensed professional.

There is limited research on the potential side effects of microcurrent facials. Some of the effects people report include:

  • tingling
  • discomfort
  • skin irritation or sensitivity
  • skin dryness
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • facial twitching

A person should consult a doctor about any side effects, particularly if they are severe or do not improve.

People seeking a microcurrent facial for aesthetic reasons will typically have to pay for the treatment themselves. However, those with a medical condition, such as a wound or severe acne, may be able to get insurance to cover the procedure.

Costs vary depending on where a person lives and from whom they seek treatment. Most clinics charge between $200–600 per session.

At-home devices, which a person can use many times, can cost anywhere between $180–500, depending on the size and strength of the device and any accompanying attachments.

Microcurrent facials stimulate the skin and muscles of the face by delivering small electrical signals. A person can do this with an at-home device or receive professional treatments from a dermatologist.

Some people report experiencing immediate results after microcurrent facials, including tighter skin and a more sculpted appearance. However, there is little scientific research proving that this treatment is effective or safe long term.

People considering a microcurrent facial should discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with a doctor. It is also advisable to consider the reviews for specific clinics before booking a treatment.