Will Electric Stimulation Machines Help Firm Facial Muscles?

What do you think about using an electrical stimulation machine to firm up facial muscles? I'm on a facial exercise regimen - which I'm going to try for 4 mos & I also have a electrical muscle stimulator - which I'm using on my facial muscles - we'll see what happens.

Doctor Answers 72

Electrical stimulation to help lift the face and firm facial muscles

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   The verdict is still out on this one. We see patients with facial paralysis and its very obvious that  knocking out facial muscles causes severe droop in the face and around the eyes. Yet we also see muscle hypertrophy as an undesirable aging effect in the forehead, neck and jaw region. I think that eventually we will tailor our treatment plans to selectively train and firm up certain facial muscle groups with electro-stimulation and relax other groups with neuro-modulators to achieve the best results.

Tacoma Facial Plastic Surgeon

The Impact of Electrical Stimulation Devices on Aging

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Electrical stimulation devices claim to use low level "micro current" to stimulate facial tone and sculpt the face. While they may provide a very small benefit, they do not prevent or correct facial aging and cannot be used as an alternative to face lift. 

It is important to remember that aging is more than just "skin deep" and its not just about the muscle.. A lot of aging has to do with the deeper structures of the face. Specifically, we lose critical bone and fat from our face as we age. The bone and deep fat are structurally important and are needed to support and provide contour to the overlying skin. The skin itself also ages, becomes increasingly inelastic and can no longer hold its shape resulting in "static wrinkles" and pleats. Finally, the deep fibrous network that anchors our skin to the bone also weakens over time. All these age changes boost the effect of gravity resulting in sagging jowls and necks.

The more you understand about facial aging the clearer it becomes that there are no magic solutions or devices.

Brock Ridenour, MD
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Will Electric Stimulation Machines Help Firm Facial Muscles?

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The idea of micro-current and electrical stimulation to the facial muscles to "firm up" or tighten the face does not work. It is a scam to call it a non surgical facelift, it isn't. The facial muscles are not striated muscles. They do not hypertrophy, grow or get bigger with stimulation or exercise. Your eyelids aren't bulging with muscles because you are blinking 25,000 times a day. Please consult a board certifidied facial plastic /plastic surgeon to be evaluated.

James Shire, MD
Chattanooga Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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Electric stimulation machines on the face

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The electric stimulation machines might help, but they will never be a substitute for a facelift.  They will never get the tissues back to where they belong, as everyting droops and sags.  The best solution for this is a facelift in good and experienced hands.

Alberto Arguello, MD
Costa Rica Plastic Surgeon

Electrical stimulation to firm muscles of the face

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Unfortunately the answer to this is probably not! There are a lot of things on the internet and late night TV that claim amazing things about tightening the face in minutes. However, the old adage of "if its to good to be true, it probably is" holds when it  comes to electrical stimulation. My best advice is to see a board certified plastic surgeon for a thorough review. I hope this helps

Ritu Chopra, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Electric Stimulation Machines Don’t Replace Facelifts

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 Facial muscle exercises and electrical stimulation machines have been around in various forms for many years, but do not treat the anatomic issues addressed by a facelift. A facelift repositions sagging deep cheek tissues and neck muscles as well as removing excess skin. Additional issues not addressed by a facelift are the loss of facial volume and quality of the remaining skin. These issues can be treated with fat transfer, dermal filler and skin resurfacing techniques such as chemical peels and lasers.

 Best of luck,

Dr. Kaniff

Thomas E. Kaniff, MD, FACS
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Sham device

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Hi Neil,

Much like the stimulation devices on the market to tone the abdomen, these devices DO NOT WORK. There are many factors that lead to the appearance of an aged face, including:

1. changes to the skin. Damage from the sun and normal age related changes (thinning and loss of elasticity) result in lines and thin crepey skin

2. loss and descent of facial fat pads. The face is full of individual and compartmentalized fat pads. These fat pads are anchored to the skin by ligaments. In youth, they are full and give the face and skin a taught appearance. As we age, these fat pads shrink and fall causing hollowing around the eyes, deep folds around the mouth and jowls

3. changes to the facial skeleton. The eye sockets, the nasal opening, the cheek bones and jaw all lose bone as we age and this exacerbates the hollowing around the eyes, the appearance of a droopy nose and the sagging skin over the cheek and jaw. 

As you can see from the list, stimulating the muscles, even if it helped make them stronger would not combat the normal age related changes to the face. Please save your money. Also, I would be cautious of performing facial exercises. The transmission of forces from the face muscles to the skin is what causes wrinkles. 

Hope this helps,

Mehdi Sina, MD

Mehdi Sina, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

Electro stimulation

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Stimulating the muscles of the face and neck does not improve the facial improvement from what I have learned and observed.  The issues involved with facial aging with - sagging and wrinkling of the face and neck - are more a result of a both external factors and internal factors.... External ones being damage to the skin due to sun/elements exposure, cigarette smoking, poor skin care etc.  Internal causes are the genetic factors which you are pre-disposed to, family traits, and natural loss of collagen, fat, elastic fibers and bone with age.  To my knowledge, electrostimulation has no effect on any of those tissues. Substances such as Sculptra do infact stimulate collagen production and thicken facial tissues and Hyaluronic acids give push, lift and fill where it is needed.  That is money better spent.

Good luck,

Armand Simone, MD FACS   New York, NY

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Armand V. Simone, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Will Electric Stimulation Machines Help Firm Facial Muscles?

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Electrical stimulation of the muscles may help to strengthen the muscle, but facial aging is a combination of all layers of tissue including skin, fat, muscle and bone. Addressing the more superficial layers of skin and fat will give more bang for the buck and much better predictability. 

Brian J. Lee, MD
Fort Wayne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Will electrical muscle stimulation help facial ageing?

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Many thanks for posting this question - it is something I am frequently asked about by patients.

The answer is that it is unlikely electrical stimulation really has an effect on facial ageing. The muscles and support structures in the face do not work like other muscles in the body that can be improved on in the gym,

For treatments that have good evidence behind them, such as facelifts, muscle relaxing injections and dermal fillers, it would be best to discuss your options with an experienced plastic surgeon. Good luck 

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.