Methods & Modalities

Awakening Aging Skin

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Annet King April 25, 2019

At The International Dermal Institute, we know that aging skin is largely a matter of skin health, not just esthetics. While overall proper skin care is one of the most effective ways to maintain the issue of aging, sometimes skin could use an extra boost, which is why we recommend the use of electrical modalities in the treatment room.

Luckily, current technologies offer various electrical modalities to aid in the treatment of aging skin. Such modalities include Indirect High Frequency, Warm Peltier and Iontophoresis by means of Galvanic Current.

Indirect High Frequency

Indirect High Frequency is the use of High Frequency current to aid in product penetration and gentle skin stimulation. In contrast to Direct High Frequency, which is applied directly to the skin, Indirect High Frequency flows through the surface of the body, when the hands of the skin therapist make contact with the client’s skin as the client holds the electrode.

Indirect High Frequency is ideal for a skin that needs stimulation, such as a dry, lackluster, delicate, fragile, sensitive and flaccid skin. Light techniques are used versus European-style massage, which could stretch the skin or over-stimulate sensitive skin. Indirect High Frequency stimulates blood, lymph and sebaceous activity without pulling or stretching the skin. It has an overall regenerating action but also promotes relaxation and sedation. This makes it ideal for skin conditions that may be contraindicated to European-style massage.

During an Indirect High Frequency treatment, the client holds the saturator electrode to channel the current. The client may experience a mild tingling sensation. The therapist may also feel this in her fingertips. The lighter the therapist’s pressure, the more stimulation occurs. Prior to the massage, an essential oil blend, treatment serum and/or active complex can be applied to the skin, followed by the massage medium of choice. A water-soluble massage cream or oil free massage base can be used. Determine what products and methods to use according to the skin condition and required amount of “slip and glide” necessary or preferred. The skin can be massaged very gently for 8-20 minutes.

Indirect High Frequency benefits the following skin conditions:

  • Aging or prematurely aging skin
  • Dry and lackluster skin
  • Post-operative skin
  • Recent scar tissue (between 4-9 months)
  • Clients who dislike firm pressure massage
  • Clients with loose or flaccid skin

And it benefits the skin by:

  • Aiding in the penetration of treatment creams/serums/complexes by increasing the blood flow in certain areas
  • Regenerating the skin
  • Re-energizing tired and stressed skin
  • Assisting in massage for an aging skin using the indirect method

Warm Peltier

Another modality to use on aging skin is the Peltier, which is an electrically- controlled metal device. When used on the warm setting, the Peltier is most beneficial around the neck and shoulder area to aid in both the relaxation of muscle groups and the reduction of aches and pains pre- or post-massage. Additionally, this may be used in place of manual massage techniques to ease away tension in an express treatment where time does not allow for a European massage.

A Warm Peltier may also be used over a masque on an aging, dry and lackluster skin. This will increase blood flow, thus increasing product penetration and oxygen to the skin, leaving the skin with a refreshed, healthy glow.

Galvanic Current: Iontophoresis

Galvanic Current is a continuous current that flows in one direction and uses low voltage and medium amperage. It has dual polarity of a positive or negative charge. Using Galvanic Current on the positive polarity is referred to as Iontophoresis. During an Iontophoresis treatment, a small electric current is applied to the skin, which provides the driving force to enable the penetration of charged molecules deep into the skin. A positively charged product is placed on the skin under the active electrode. An indifferent counter electrode is positioned elsewhere on the body. The active electrode effectively repels the active substance and forces it into the skin. This simple electrorepulsion is the main mechanism responsible for penetration enhancement by Iontophoresis, and it is ideal for aging skin in helping to carry active age fighting ingredients deeper into the skin.

Galvanic on the positive polarity has a calming and vasoconstrictive effect on the skin, so it is not only ideal to help product penetrate, but it also helps reduce sensitivity and redness on the skin. Various products can be used with Iontophoresis if they are acid pH balanced and water-soluble.

Galvanic Iontophoresis can be used with:

  • Oil-controlling and acne complexes or serums
  • Age fighting and regenerating complexes and serums
  • Pigment-correcting complexes or serums
  • Hydrating and nourishing masques
  • Treatment moisturizers
  • Skin-firming complexes and serums

The main benefits and effects of Galvanic Iontophoresis include:

  • Tightening and firming of tissues
  • Constriction of follicles
  • Decrease in blood flow
  • Decrease in sensitivity
  • Reduction of edema and lymph stagnation
  • Oxygenation of cells
  • Calms and soothes the skin
  • Restores critical moisture
  • Regenerates the skin
  • Stimulates cell renewal and improves skin vitality

The Inevitability of Skin Aging

Aging skin is a condition that we will all face at some point in our lives. Technically speaking, our skin ages everyday, and it is up to us to take the necessary preventative measures to ensure our skin ages at a slower rate. Electrical modalities offer a concentrated way to address the issues that go with aging to ensure that we help clients maintain not only a youthful appearance, but also good health.


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