Best home anti-aging devices – why this duo gets my vote!

With so many different anti-aging skincare devices on the market and so many ads creating the illusion that these things can dramatically turn back the years on your skin, consumers are left with a fear of missing out on THE best thing. 

But what I’ve learned over the years of talking to experts and trying out all the different technologies myself is there is no single best thing. Or there isn’t to date. 

Instead you’ve got a lot of pretty comparable home devices designed to stimulate your skin cells to get more active either through heat, light, electrical currents, vibration or another form of energy.  

I’ve found some to be more effective than others and, key to that is also the ease of use long-term. So, finding devices that can easily fit in with your daily routine and which are painless and hassle free.  

For me, two have stood the test of time. 

They are red light and microcurrent. So let me explain why I believe they are the dream team for at home skin rejuvenation. 

An image letting readers know The Honest Channel is now available as a podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

The science behind microcurrent

The makers say using a microcurrent device on your face regularly can both tone and lift the skin by stimulating your facial muscles and improving blood flow to skin cells. This supports the production of collagen and elastin – both essential proteins for the strength and volume of your skin. 

A small Austrian study that looked at the impact of microcurrent on burn wound healing  supported this idea when it was found the application of the current did indeed increase blood flow to the skin. 

That’s backed by a 2018 study from a hospital Kuala Lumpur which reported accelerated wound healing among patients who were treated with microcurrent. 

The makers of the ZIIP device also did a study involving 50 participants with mild to moderate acne where they used the device every other day for 12 weeks with a significant reduction in lesions recorded.

But we could really use a few good controlled studies looking at microcurrent for facial rejuvenation.

We do know from another study that it helped build muscle in elderly patients so there are lots of positive indicators, but it would be great to know what intensity of current performs best for facial rejuvenation and over what frequency. 

Promotional text inviting readers to view my skincare product choices

The science behind red light therapy

There’s a little more direct scientific evidence supporting the use of red light for skin agin. 

Red light therapy uses low-level wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to treat skin issues including wrinkles and scarring. 

It’s thought to work by strengthening the mitochondria in our cells which play a vital role in supporting and boosting a cell’s energy, working in tandem with the energy-carrying molecule found in all cells called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). 

And there have been a few encouraging studies including a Korean study published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology,  which saw seventy six patients with visible facial wrinkles treated with LED on the right half of their faces twice a week for four weeks and followed up after three months, including a group that were given a ‘fake treatment’. 

In the results there was a significant reduction of wrinkles and an increase in skin elasticity and a marked increase in the amount of collagen in those treated with LED compared with the untreated group. 

Promotional image inviting readers to sign up to my monthly newsletter

An interesting case study!

My own experience of using both red light and microcurrent combined has been really positive. They are the two home technologies that I have used consistently for over a year now and, over that period, I feel my skin has become visibly healthier and just a little bit fuller as well. 

But I have a little more compelling evidence than that. Because a few months ago my mum, who is 81, was really struggling with muscle twitching to the outer side of her right eye.  

And when I say struggling, it was almost constant some days and it was really getting her down.  

She wasn’t keen to try botox and  so all I could think was there was likely inflammation which I thought red light might be helpful for and so I gave her a handheld device I had from Maysama that is basically pulsed red light and microcurrent with heat and a little vibration too. 

So she started to use it daily only around the outer side of her right eye where the twitch was for about two to three minutes every night sitting in front of the TV.

To be clear, she wasn’t using it on clean skin or with a conductive gel. She was using it on skin that she’d applied moisturiser and make-up to earlier in the day.

Real results

My mum was compelled to keep using the device because of the instant relief she got from it, and it would calm the twitching for a period of time after as well and that became cumulative over around 12 weeks to the point where her eye doesn’t really twitch very much at all now.  

A before and after photo of my mum showing some improvement in her right eye
My mum’s right eye is to the left of each picture. Note the improvement under the right eye in the area of the twitch at the far side where the skin is noticeably smoother.

But guess what else we noticed? Standing talking to her about how much this had helped I noticed the skin around her right eye was noticably more volumised than her left. 

I took a photo of her recently and was able to compare it to a picture taken later last year. In the photo from last year you can see that the skin around both eyes had aged similarly with volume loss around the sockets and a little build up of eye bags too.

In the picture, taken just a few weeks ago, the skin around her right eye is firmer (particularly around the little dip under her eye where the twitch was emanating from.

Now to me, based on my own experience and what I’ve heard from viewers as well it was the combination of red light and microcurrent that did the heavy lifting here.

Combing red light and microcurrent

If you already have a separate red light device and a microcurrent one there’s no need to buy a combined gadget.

But if you’re starting from scratch and want to combine them there are other devices, including the Solawave which also includes heat and vibration, as well as the Urchin which had actually sold out at the time of writing.

Can you overdo it with red light and microcurrent?

The short answer to this is yes. You can overdo anything and these modalities are no exception.

Studies suggest red light emits a burst of free radicals (or unstable molecules) that are initially helpful to the skin – but only up to a point. 

And if the free radicals accumulate beyond a certain level they start to become unhelpful rather than helpful. 

And it’s not about how frequently you use your red light device, it’s more about how long you use it for within a single session. 

Most manufacturers of face masks and panels now recommend 10 minutes or under. 

I use my red light panel first thing in the morning for 6 minutes.

I also believe it’s possible to overdo microcurrent. And particularly those stronger devices which can feel very zappy and uncomfortable on your skin.

There have been anecdotal reports that they’ve contributed to facial fat loss which stacks up considering electrical current is used in some weightloss devices.  

There are studies to support the theory that electrical current stimulates lipolysis which is how fat is converted into energy. 

I’ve had a few people tell me they felt they lost facial fat with microcurrent but most users are positive about their results. To my mind, this is about finding the right balance and intensity for your skin.

My routine

I use the ZIIP device which combines a gentler nanocurrent with microcurrent. The makers recommend using it 3 to 5 times a week.  

I use my ZIIP most days so probably five days a week but I don’t use a conductor gel. 

If you want best and fastest results then I would recommend choosing a known brand for starters and using a water-based serum or conductor gel as instructed. 

From my perspective, I will likely – unless some other superior technology comes along – use microcurrent and red light for the forseeable future. 

That means they have to fit neatly and easily in with my routine, and so I use my microcurrent device on damp skin before showering and after using red light first thing. 

I don’t want to be buying or using extra serums and gels and adding extra things to my skin almost daily that I don’t need. I also find the conductive gels make the current a little too strong for my liking.

So I am not following the recommendations but it works for me to use the device as a massage tool with a little current just on damp skin. 

Pairing these two modalities, for me, has delivered the best results of any technology I’ve tried.

This article contains affiliate product links which means I earn a small commission from any resulting sales.