"You may taste some metal and see sparkles by your eyes. But there's no need to worry!"
That's the last thing you expect to hear when you're in a cozy spa treatment room, waiting for your facial to begin. And yet, that's what I hear coming out of my practitioner's mouth as she preps me for my microcurrent facial. I'm pretty sure I can detect a note of glee in her voice, too.
"Are you ready?" Doctor of Chiropractic Susie Warden asks after smearing the conductive cream on my freshly cleansed face and décolletage.
"Sure am!" I lie, wondering why I signed up to do this. Oh that's right—I'm always on a quest for glowing skin, something a microcurrent facial reportedly can give me. Plus, if I want to write about beauty, I kind of need to try the treatments. Sometimes I regret that line of thinking, like when I'm at Advanced Healthcare Associates, waiting for a chiropractor to shoot electricity into my face.
Dr. Susie hands me a metal rod also coated in the conductive cream and tells me to hold it in my right hand. She explains that the rod gives the microcurrent machine "biofeedback" so it can figure out exactly how much electricity my face needs.
"If my hands are sweaty, is that bad?" I ask, wondering if I'm about to get electrocuted.
"Not at all," Dr. Susie reassures me.
She turns on the machine and starts to roll the microcurrent wand across my skin. The wand's job is to send hundreds of microamps of electricity into my face, neck, and upper chest. It definitely sounds scary, but it's actually a very mild electric current.
I'm surprised at how much it reminds me of jade rolling. That is, until Dr. Susie moves the roller toward my mouth. That's when I taste the metal.
I feel nothing besides a cool massaging sensation as the roller glides across my skin. I'm surprised at how much it reminds me of jade rolling.
That is, until Dr. Susie moves the roller toward my mouth. That's when I taste the metal.
It's a disturbing sensation, not so much because of the taste—which is like eating a tiny piece of foil still stuck to a Hershey's Kiss—but because of the way it reminds you that you're shooting electricity into your face. It's easy to forget about that when the microcurrent roller is far enough away from your mouth.
As I taste the metal, I try to remind myself of the potential benefits of a microcurrent facial: namely, increased collagen and elastin production, according to a 1991 study out of the University of Washington. That means this facial can be great for fighting fine lines and other signs of aging.
Dr. Susie tells me that the facial can also improve acne, lift sagging skin, and brighten overall tone.
"Did you see any sparkles in your eyes?" Dr. Susie inquires as finishes the first round of my microcurrent facial. "No, nothing," I respond. "Even when you close your eyes?" she prods. "Nope," I confirm. "Well some people don't. It really just depends on the individual," she explains. I am perfectly fine with that.
It's now time for round two. She coats my face in the conductive cream again because a lot of it has rubbed off onto the roller at this point. Using the microcurrent roller on bare skin isn't bad, per se, but it can be a little uncomfortable, Dr. Susie explains. She increases the power setting and begins to roll again.
Carmen, who is making a video of the facial, tells me that my skin tone looks better. "You look like you're wearing makeup."
Round two goes pretty well. It feels the same, despite the higher setting. Toward the end of round two, I realize that I'm starting to feel a tiny bit of discomfort by my left eyebrow, which is where the conductive cream has really worn off. It's really nothing bad, but I mention it to Dr. Susie just in case. She adds more cream in round three.
This is also when Carmen, who is making a video of the facial, tells me that my skin tone looks better. "You look like you're wearing makeup," she says. I'm excited to see.
During round three, the final round, Dr. Susie increases the power setting once again. And that's when my eyeballs start to do something I can only describe as "shake."
Let's be real, what's really happening is that my eyeballs are getting zapped with electricity and that's causing them to shake. Again, it's nothing uncomfortable, just unnerving.
When Dr. Susie rolls the microcurrent roller across my upper cheeks, I notice the "eyeball sparkles" for the first time. "I see the sparkles!" I blurt, inwardly cringing as I call the flashes in my eyes by their euphemistic name. Because let's be real, what's really happening is that my eyeballs are getting zapped with electricity and that's causing them to shake. Again, it's nothing uncomfortable, just unnerving. I close my eyes to see if my vision is still flickering. It is.
Dr. Susie seems to think it's totally fine, so I try not to worry as she finishes rolling my face. It's fairly easy to forget about it when she rolls the rest of my face, and I soon relax again. I relax even further when she switches off the device and massages a day cream into my skin.
When I change back into my clothes, I stare at my face in the bathroom mirror. My skin tone does look a little more even and there's not as much redness.
The results aren't staggering, but honestly, they rarely are after one facial treatment, microcurrent or otherwise. Theoretically, this is something you need several sessions of to see noticeable improvements. Dr. Susie recommends getting a microcurrent treatment at least once a month.
Despite the weirdness of the facial, I would not be opposed to doing it again. I'm curious to see if I would get better results after several treatments.
Plus, once you get past the metallic taste and shaking eyeballs, it's really very relaxing and essentially feels like someone just massaging your face for an hour.
In fact, I suspect the improved lymphatic drainage associated with facial massage is partially why my face looks better afterward. But just getting a one-hour facial massage doesn't have the potential collagen-boosting benefits that a microcurrent facial has.
Right now, the beauty world is buzzing about the NuFace, an at-home microcurrent device that you can use while zoning out in front of the TV. Keep in mind, though, that you do have to use it at least 5–10 minutes almost every day to see results.