This article is addressing a specific question that I get often.
People are getting confused between galvanic, microcurrent and EMS devices
These terms are used interchangeably, they’re thrown around and people think they’re the same thing.
But they are not the same thing! They are three different modalities.
I’m just going to give you a brief definition of what these three modalities are.
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The main purpose of a galvanic device is to press water-based serums deeper into your skin. If you’re trying to treat a specific skin concern or you have dry skin, this can be a great treatment to help with your skin.
A lot of people think galvanic is microcurrent but it absolutely is not.
Galvanic current is direct and constant, whereas microcurrent uses an electrical current that’s alternating.
So the currents are different.
There’s no frequency with galvanic because it is a direct current.
Moving on to microcurrent.
Microcurrent is a low level electric current that stimulates the facial muscles.
It stimulates ATP to build collagen and elastin in the muscles to lift, sculpt and tighten your face muscles.
If you have a MYOLIFT device you can use erase or stretch to help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
That’s an additional benefit of microcurrent if you’re using one of those devices.
But for the most part, the microcurrent devices are using the educate or lift mode and that’s helping to lift, tighten, sculpt and contour your facial muscles.
The current is measured in microamps.
For example, the NuFace Trinity goes up to 335 microamps, whereas the MYOLIFT devices go up to 400 microamps.
The professional microcurrent facial that I got went up to 800 microamps.
Now when you get into EMS, that is electrical muscle stimulation.
This is a stronger current and a lot of people use EMS on the body.
You’ll see athletes using it professionally on their body to help stimulate muscles and help them recover, perhaps from injury.
There are EMS devices for the face.
But some of the research that I’ve done shows that many estheticians like to use microcurrent on the thinner areas of your face, like your forehead and your eye area, and then use EMS where there’s more muscle, where it’s thicker on the bottom half of your face.
EMS is stronger current. It actually causes your muscles to contract.
You shouldn’t feel microcurrent. If you’re using a microcurrent device properly you shouldn’t feel it, There should be no twitching, there should be no muscle contraction,
But when you’re using an EMS device, the point of it is to contract the muscle.
Because the top part of your face is so delicate that many estheticians just stick with microcurrent on the top and then EMS on the bottom of your face so that you can stimulate and sculpt cheeks.
The research that I’ve done shows that you can use microcurrent and EMS together.
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I imagine you could use galvanic, microcurrent and EMS together because they’re complementary and they all do different things,
There are devices that include EMS, like the Lumo or the Time Master Pro that do recommend using it all over your face.
For me personally EMS is uncomfortable, the twitching and when I move it over my teeth it really hurts.
I like to stick personally to microcurrent.
I do like to use my Tripolar Stop Vx because there is a mode called ELV that seems to stimulate the muscles on the lower portion of my face.
When you look at that device instructions, it says to only use that mode around your jowls and your jaw line.
That makes sense that they’re recommending to only use that mode on the lower part of your face, because if you’re stimulating your muscles and you can feel them contracting, you can feel it twitching, keep it to the lower portion of your face.
I do know that the Lumo and the Time Master Pro have low enough settings that you can use it on the top portion of your face and not really feel it.
I guess it just depends on your sensitivity and what you’re trying to do.
All I’m trying to do is just outline how these are three separate modalities and how they all do different things and they feel different on your face.
Hopefully that’s helpful.
If you’re shopping for devices and you see a galvanic device, you’ll know that it’s not microcurrent. If you’re shopping for a microcurrent device, you’ll know it’s not EMS.
What I have found that there are a lot of sites out there that are selling their EMS device as a microcurrent device.
I just mentioned that to you to do your research because a lot of brands are using these terms interchangeably, especially microcurrent and EMS.
They are different modalities and they seem to be used interchangeably.
If you order a microcurrent device and you start using it and you really feel twitching using it on your face, especially if it’s not even turned up to the highest level, it’s probably EMS.
Always do your research and check the return policy. In case you get something that’s not going to work for you, you can return it.
I do know there are some people that can’t use EMS or can’t use microcurrent for some reason.
There are contraindications for all of these modalities.
Really do your research and make sure you have that return policy because you don’t want to be using a modality that’s not going to work for you.
You can also consult with your dermatologist or your doctor before using a device.
I would say my favorite one is microcurrent. That was the first modality I started using and I still am using it today years later and I just really love the results I see on my face from using microcurrent.
Rebecca is a licensed aesthetician and certified laser technician with almost 15 years experience in the dermatology. Her life-long passion is making people look good and happy.
One thought on “Difference Between Galvanic and Microcurrent (and EMS)”
I really appreciated your comments, differentiation of the 3 major devices and the broad spectrum explanation. I am 75 and, though I plan to age “gracefully” without surgery, I would like some work with the wrinkles which are showing more. Not expecting miracles but wanted to understand the devices and the “sales” side didn’t offer the different uses and I always wondered what the disclaimers are.
I feel more comfortable having read your comments.