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Multiple-modality Equipment

Danielle Tsoklis October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Today, clients actively are seeking to resolve a wide range of visible problems on the skin’s surface without using some of the incredibly invasive methods that currently are available. Most of these problems are related to the aging process of the underlying skin structure. With age, collagen production slows down, causing the dermal layers to lose their density. Expression lines, as well as perioral and periocular wrinkles, appear. Then skin laxity begins and muscles lose their tone, causing deep nasal-labial folds, sagging jowls and a loss of facial contour.

For many years, estheticians were limited in the types of treatments they could offer clients for skin rejuvenation or collagen enhancement. Existing technologies, such as galvanic devices, focused on one part of the problem and were restricted to either a superficial or an intermediate level of the skin.

Device-based esthetic methodology has experienced a renaissance throughout the past five years. Many of these units have been developed recently and offer a multiple-technological approach, such as microdermabrasion devices that have been combined with other modalities, including light-emitting diodes (LED) and microcurrent.

Coming of age

Since the 1960s, European estheticians have realized the importance of using professional equipment during facial treatments to enhance the services, as well as to allow for better penetration and performance of active ingredients. Steamers, rotary brushes, high frequency, vacuum massage and galvanic all were part of the procedure.

The United States was slow to embrace these technologies, and U.S. facials once consisted only of applying hot towels, a massage cream and a mask. It was only during the latter part of the 20th century, with the introduction of microcurrent, that the industry began to understand the importance of working at deeper levels in order to obtain results that could not be reproduced at home.

In the 1990s, microdermabrasion helped to revolutionize the industry by offering estheticians the ability to resurface the skin safely by using a noninvasive process. Pigmentation, acne scarring and stretch marks were treated effectively with natural mineral crystals. The results were astonishing.

The new millennium saw the introduction of photo treatments using LED. This nonthermal procedure utilizes the natural visible light spectrum with its different wavelengths to trigger a rejuvenation process throughout skin layers, similar to the effect of the photosynthesis process in plants.

What would happen if all of these treatments were used together at the same time? Considering the timeline of esthetic product development, the next logical step should be the integration of microcurrent, microdermabrasion and LED into a service matrix that enables each to build on the strengths of the others, therefore multiplying the effects and the results.


Although each of these applications is available separately, it is only with their intelligent combination in a single session that truly amazing results are possible. Always check your state’s regulations to ensure that an esthetician is able to perform all the functions of your multiple-modality machine legally. Log on to for the complete contact information of each state’s cosmetology board.

The interaction of multiple technologies allows for the production of previously unattainable results and can reduce the number of treatments needed to achieve the desired effects of facial rejuvenation, including a reduction in fine lines, pore size and pigmentation. There also is an improvement in texture and tone, as well as in skin tightening. Clients enjoy a pleasant, more comfortable experience coupled with better results. Most importantly, multilayer skin rejuvenation properly treats the skin at three different levels—the epidermis, dermis and muscles—the very areas where surface problems originate.

Most estheticians have come to realize that this synergy, along with the integration of multiple supportive approaches, such as a proper diet, adequate exercise and avoiding harmful irritants, is the best way to attain and maintain results. All skin types benefit from multiple-modality technology—especially photoaged skin, because it combines a variety of problems, including redness, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and skin laxity. Acne-prone skin also improves because multiple approaches control and prevent breakouts.

Naturally, a systematic approach to understanding the role of these devices in facial rejuvenation requires careful training, as well as an analysis of the problems being treated. Stand-alone devices can demonstrate high degrees of variability when used separately. Facial canvas anomalies, such as wrinkles, pigmentation, coarse skin, redness and laxity, are addressed thoroughly with multiple-modality devices. Regardless of the device used, however, the integration of appropriate anti-aging cosmeceutical products completes the picture.

It’s in the details

How does a multiplatform treatment that combines microdermabrasion, LED and microcurrent work? A full-face treatment session, including the neck, lasts approximately 60 minutes. The first step is skin preparation. Microdermabrasion that uses natural mineral crystals will resurface the skin and reduce imperfections, such as pigmentation, coarse skin and blackheads. By removing the corneal layers, skin will be more receptive to microcurrent and light therapy.

The next phase of the treatment involves the simultaneous application of LED at 640 nm and impulse microcurrent, which work beneath the skin’s surface. Scientific experiments have shown that the red light section of the visible spectrum increases collagen production fivefold.1 This is the key to restoring dermal density that has been lost through the aging process.

Impulse microcurrents open the ionic membranes of the cells, allowing for a better photoresponse from LED and an increased lifting effect that leads to faster, better results. Microcurrent is able to restore proper muscle tone, tighten facial contours and reduce facial laxity.

In the next phase, antioxidants are applied to the skin by using a light manual massage. A bipolar balance waveform current then is used with special electrodes to deliver the product into deeper layers of the skin, known as transdermal delivery. Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E, are scavengers of free radicals—unbalanced electrons that are responsible for accelerating the aging process.

Depending on the severity of the skin problem and the age of the client, typically six to 10 corrective treatments are needed. One maintenance treatment each month will preserve the results. Depending on the number of modalities used per treatment and the region where the spa is located, the price usually varies from $125–175.

More is better?

Incorporating combination esthetic therapies is an important business step because no single modality adequately can address the complex picture of the aging face. Multiplatform devices can offer the best combination of microdermabrasion, light-based modalities and electrical currents to treat various client needs. This exciting technological breakthrough enables spas to offer both immediate visible results and long-term sustainable improvement.

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Choosing Esthetic Equipment

Follow these suggestions to ensure that you make the right equipment choice. Through education, you can make a good, solid investment for your business … and your career.

  • Investigate considerations such as cost, ease of use, training, support and the manufacturer warranty.
  • Find out whether the equipment is upgradable or will become obsolete.
  • Discover whether the apparatus is safe. Has it been approved by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA)? Does it do what it is meant to do?
  • Purchase equipment from a reputable, established company that is able to answer all your questions.
  • Understand the principles of the technology thoroughly.

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