Like a power toothbrush for your face, the Clarisonic bristles move a few millimeters, 300 times a second in an oscillatory fashion, said Dr. Robb Akridge, co-founder and vice president of clinical affairs at manufacturer Pacific Bioscience Laboratories Inc., in Bellevue, Wash. And the message seems to be getting through: Sales have increased 2,179% in three years.
Not all consumer versions of professional devices get the thumbs up, however. Alster and Veronica Barton-Schwartz, who runs a spa in Malibu, gave tepid reviews of the micro-current devices that aim to firm facial muscles with electric stimulation.
Yet aestheticians have been using micro-current technology since the 1970s, according to Carol Cole, whose namesake company has been selling her NuFace hand-held micro-current device for four years. Though some experts debate the usefulness of micro-current, at-home devices can offer a cost savings. Cole said professional micro-current treatments can cost $120 to $400 a session, and an effective regimen requires 12 to 18 twice-a-week sessions. Her device sells for $325.
Naturally, even with DVDs, charts and guides to using the products, someone will probably airbrush their sinuses in medium beige. Alster and others urge consumers to research all claims and, please, read the instructions.