Can You Give Yourself an At-Home Face-Lift?

As for taping your skin to keep features in place and stop facial muscles moving? “Old-time actresses used to use this trick a lot,” said Dr. Michele Green, a dermatologist in New York City. Alas, she said, while you may briefly look tauter, “when you remove the tape, it all goes back to your previous state like a house of cards.”

Micro-current facial-toning devices, like those made by NuFace and Ziip, claim to lift and tighten skin by using a low-voltage electric current to stimulate facial muscles and encourage collagen and elastin production. But experts are lukewarm on their effectiveness.

“There’s not a lot of substantial data or any well-conducted studies showing strong evidence that these devices actually promote skin tightening,” said Dr. Rina Allawh, a dermatologist practicing in a suburb of Philadelphia.

While Dr. Allawh has patients who claim to see results, she said it’s possible that some of the improvement may actually come from the serum they’re pairing it with. “A lot of these devices come with gel primers that contain hyaluronic acid, which is an ingredient we use in fillers to help plump the skin,” she said.

Because at-home devices use a low level of power — the NuFace runs on a 9-volt battery, while most physician-grade devices typically need around 110 volts — “they’re required to be used frequently and often” in order to see any kind of results, said Dr. Kenneth Rothaus, a plastic surgeon in New York City and partner at Modrn Sanctuary medspa. (NuFace, which touts “the 5-minute facial lift,” recommends using it five times a week for five to 20 minutes at a time for the first 60 days, then two to three times a week thereafter.)

“Not many people are really going to be compliant with that,” Dr. Rothaus said. “The reality is going to be like that treadmill that functions as a coat rack.”

Dr. Green said that strict usage may “temporarily make you look better — but just temporarily.” Any effects will tend to last only a few days, she said. An at-home micro-current device “is certainly not going to replace Botox or laser resurfacing or an actual face-lift,” she added. “I don’t really see that this could have long-term benefits.”

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