Methods & Modalities

Enhancing Exfoliation with Electronics

by Carrie Adkisson (as seen in Les Nouvelles Esthetiques & Spa) | April 25 2019 | 3 min read

Exfoliation is a fundamental part of a professional skin treatment; it helps remove grime, surface debris, sebum and dead skin cells. It also softens impactions, prepares skin to receive active ingredients, and stimulates cell renewal and turnover. For clients, however, the ultimate motivation is the way the skin looks and feels afterwards! To help them achieve these results and keep coming back for more, it’s important to utilize advanced modalities and devices to enhance exfoliation in the treatment room.

Electric Brushes

A rotating, soft bristled brush can provide deep cleansing and mild physical exfoliation, enhancing the efficacy of cleansers and exfoliants used in the treatment room. A sponge attachment can also be helpful in the removal of setting masques. Rotating brushes can be cordless or attached to a multi-functional machine, and come in several shapes and sizes. Most skin types can benefit from the boost in exfoliation that electric brushes provide. However, avoid use on sensitive skin or inflamed acneic skin, as physical exfoliation can create more inflammation.

Ultrasonic / Ultrasound

Therapeutic ultrasound can be a very gentle-yet-effective method of mechanical exfoliation in the treatment room. Sound waves create vibrations that gently slough or shake free dead skin cells in the outermost layers of the epidermis. Professional machines typically come equipped with a smooth, flat metal probe or blade (also called a skin scrubber). The blade provides more exfoliation benefits and is easily held with the curve facing the skin at a 45 degree angle. The movement should always be upward on the skin with a very light touch; no pressure required. This device serves to enhance the exfoliation benefit of the chosen product. Contraindications include metal implants, a pacemaker and medically prescribed exfoliants.


Microdermabrasion is a very popular mechanical form of exfoliation. As this technology has progressed, new variations on the traditional machine are available to provide more options in the treatment room. The traditional form incorporates tubing attached to a hand piece that simultaneously projects mineral crystals or other granules onto the skin, and provides variable levels of suction to remove the crystals along with dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. The suction creates friction on the skin, resulting in physical exfoliation.

Other variations include:

Many machines also offer the flexibility to choose from more than one of the above mentioned options, which allows for more ways to customize treatments to clients' needs.

Contraindications for microdermabrasion include users of medically prescribed exfoliants and/or acne treatments, open or broken skin, and recently waxed skin. Microdermabrasion should also be avoided for those with highly sensitive skin and active inflamed acne.

Galvanic and High Frequency

There are also some interesting and advanced ways to use galvanic and high frequency machines that you may already have in your treatment room. Using these modalities in an alternative way can amplify the effects of chemical exfoliants and deliver maximum results. Contraindications for galvanic and high frequency include metal implants, pacemakers, heart conditions, epilepsy, pregnancy and diabetes.

These electrical exfoliation options are all available to the professional in multiple forms. Depending on your environment and budget, invest in a multi-functional machine or create your own by purchasing components one at a time. Machines are designed to help make things easier and create greater results. If you’re looking for ways to jump-start your creativity and excite your clients with amazing results, get started with one of these electrical exfoliation options today.