When Botox is the cake, electric facials are icing

October 25, 2011

Microcurrent is used to provide plumpness to inactive muscles.
Microcurrent is used to provide plumpness to inactive muscles.

Botox and her sister neurotoxins immobilize muscles, although not directly. The toxins bind to neurotransmitters, preventing them from signaling muscles to contract. This means unused muscle use less energy and might atrophy the way your arms do when you stop going to the gym.

Some doctors believe that in the wrong hands and over time, neurotoxins could cause the face to atrophy or lose desired fullness, especially in those who have been using Botox for more than three years and have thin skin and a slim face.

This is where electric facials come in. An electric facial delivers low levels of microcurrent to stimulate the muscles of the face and the neck. The theory is that this provides plumpness to an inactive muscle – the same goal you would hope to achieve with hyaluronic acid cream or filler injections. Now, there are plastic surgeons and dermatologists who are prescribing microcurrent to diminish loss in muscle tone as a noninvasive companion to neurotoxin injections.

Notably, anyone who has ever visited a physical therapist (PT) and has been hooked up to an “electrostim” machine knows just how noninvasive this treatment is. Lay back and relax; if the slight tingle you feel gets uncomfortable, which is rare, just ask the PT to lower the current.

According to Elle magazine, November 2011, “Celebrities have become insatiable consumers of electric facials, especially during awards season.” The “pop” or effects last for about five hours. J.Lo is rumored to have spent $22,900 on her own professional grade machine and Madonna and Kate Winslett are outspoken fans. Makeup artist Kristin Hilton carries an FDA-approved handheld microcurrent device in her makeup kit and says she can use it to create an arch in the eyebrows. “Everything’s tighter. You look more awake.”

There is no written protocol for combining Botox and microcurrent, but most doctors advise you to wait a few weeks post-injection. According to a plastic surgeon, “In the first 24 hours after an injection, you could potentially move the Botox from a muscle where you injected it into a muscle you did not intend.” Proving, as always, how important it is to find an experienced, licensed professional for all your injections.  


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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