Skin Perception

Microcurrent Gel: Best Conductive Gels And Substitutes

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Using microcurrent conductivity gel or its alternatives and substitutes is a must as it helps to transmit the electric current from the device to the facial muscles, protect the skin from zapping and enables the device to glide smoothly.

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At-home microcurrent devices are known for their effectiveness and numerous anti aging benefits. These high-tech tools are often referred to as toning or contouring devices as they stimulate facial muscles, improve facial contour, tighten skin, and provide overall lifting effect. Regardless of which device you use, you’ll have to use a microcurrent gel also known as conductive gel for face, which is essential.

What Is Microcurrent Conductive Gel?

Conductive gel is a clear water-based gel that is chemically neutral and electrically conductive. In fact, the conductive properties come from high concentration of ions (aka electrically charged particles) naturally found in gold, silver, zinc, magnesium, sodium, selenium and calcium.

Since our skin has natural abilities to resist electric current, a conductive medium like microcurrent gel allows electric current to pass through the skin. Overall, this type of gel is widely used for medical procedures like ultrasound, electro therapy, microcurrent therapy, and with radiofrequency and ultrasonic devices.

When it comes to microcurrent devices, they are designed to produce a low frequency pulsating currents of electricity. Once in contact with the skin, the electrical currents release energy into the muscles and mimic our body’s natural currents. Not only this process normalizes physiological activity within the cells, but it also energizes muscles and increases muscle tension, hence lifting and toning effect.

 

At a glance:

Why Should You Use Conductive Gel?

  Most importantly, using microcurrent conductivity gel or its alternatives is a must as it helps to transmit the electric current from the device to the facial muscles. Moreover, without the conductivity gel this treatment won’t be effective, since the electric currents will not be able to reach the necessary depth.

  Also, conductive gel for face protects the skin from zapping (micro electric shock), and enables the device to glide smoothly without pulling the skin. In fact, it is recommended to apply a generous amount of microcurrent gel to ensure good conductivity and an adequate skin protection.

  Additionally, some conductivity gels for microcurrents are infused with anti-aging ingredients and act as both, conductive medium and anti aging treatment. Usually these microcurrent gels are leave-on, so you don’t have to wash them off after the procedure, and they are also more expensive.

To sum up, using conductivity gel provides the following benefits:

  • Enables microcurrent to penetrate into the muscles
  • Protects skin from zapping
  • Allows the device to glide easily
  • Nourishes skin with anti-aging ingredients

How To Choose Microcurrent Gel

choosing-conductivity-gel-for-microcurrents

All popular microcurrent devices like NuFace, ZIIP, Clareblend, Foreo Bear and Myolift come with a small bottle of complementary conductive gel (usually 2-3 fl.oz). But you don’t have to purchase a microcurrent conductive solution from the same manufacturer as your device. If you find a certain microcurrent gel to be too expensive or not potent enough, you can switch to a different brand of conductivity gel or use a substitute. Overall, a 2 fl.oz. bottle of microcurrent gel will last for about 4-6 weeks if used 3-4 times a week.

Look for the following properties when choosing microcurrent gel:

  • Water based
  • Oil-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Clear/transparent color
  • Hydrating ingredients
  • Anti aging ingredients

*Be aware: many conductive gels including ultrasound and electrode gels are formulated with propylene glycol – ingredient derived from petroleum, which can potentially irritate the skin and build up in the body (read more about propylene glycol safety).

Ideally, a good conductivity gel for face needs to be water-based, hypoallergenic, transparent in color, and include hydrating and anti aging ingredients. If for some reason you decided to use a conductive gel substitute, make sure it doesn’t contain any oils. To clarify, oil on the skin or the device will act as a barrier and deflect microcurrent. With this in mind, also stay away from oil-based cleansers when preparing your skin for the microcurrent treatment at home.

Best Microcurrent Conductive Gels

Overall, there aren’t that many choices when it comes to microcurrent conductive treatment gels for home use. That is to say, your options are down to conductivity gels by NuFace, 7E Wellness, Jellen, and ZIIP Beauty, which each offer two types of microcurrent gels with rather extensive ingredient list. In addition, you can opt for conductive gel substitutes like aloe vera gel, colloidal silver gel or ultrasound gel (read more about conductive gel alternatives below).

*The prices below reflect retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.

Le Mieux O2 Calming Gel
Le-Mieux-O2-calming-gel

Le Mieux skincare is known for its anti aging, anti-inflammatory and regenerative formulas that use hyaluronic acid as a base. The O2 Calming Gel is light botanical multi-purpose hydrator that can be used with beauty tools including microcurrents, as an aftershave, sooth burns or stinging, calm skin irritation, and address dehydrated skin.

This advanced gel has anti-aging, hydrating and moisturizing properties, and is suitable for all skin types. Moreover, this gel is packed with 18 botanical ingredients including  hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, green and white tea leaf extracts, oat leaf extract, chamomile flower extract, red algae, and others. Comes in 6 oz. pump bottle.

Buy at amazon.com

7E Wellness Conductive TX Gel
7e-wellness-conductivity-gel

7E Wellness, one of the market leaders in professional microcurrent technology that came up with MyoLift at-home microcurrent, offers 2 types of dual-action professional grade conductive gels with bio-active complex - ReNu and ReStore. These treatment gels come in two different sizes: 4 oz jar ($27) and extra large bottles (16 fl.oz, $82) that will last for over a year if used three times a week.

7E ReNu conductivity gel is formulated for stressed and dry skin, and helps to calm redness, irritation, acne breakouts, as well as nourish and hydrate. This soothing treatment gel includes active ingredients like zinc minerals, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, lavender, and geranium.

7E ReStore anti-aging conductive gel for face was designed specifically for mature skin to address fine lines, wrinkles, elasticity, dryness and tone. This microcurrent gel is infused with green tea, neroli, collagen, peptides, hyaluronic acid, seaweed, copper, and zinc minerals.

Buy at 7ewellness.com

Buy at amazon.com


NuFace Gel Primer
Nuface-microcurrent-gel

NuFace, a pioneer in at-home microcurrent devices, offers three types of conductive gel for face. NuFace Hydrating Leave On Gel Primer is a lightweight gel that hydrates and refreshes the skin with hyaluronic acid and phytomoist complex. This particular NuFace gel comes in three different sizes 2 fl.oz, 5 fl.oz, and 10 fl.oz, and suites all skin types.

NuFace 24K Gold Gel Primer is pricier and more potent anti-aging conductive gel with a build-in brush. In addition to 24k gold, it is formulated with anti-aging and firming ingredients like peptides, hyaluronic acid, algae, DMAE, alpha lipoic acid and niacinamide. NuFace gold conductive gel is available only in one size – 2 fl.oz.

NuFace Aqua Gel is the newest addition (2021) to NuFace skin care products. This lightweight clear gel acts as microcurrent activator and hydrating treatment 2-in-1. Not only it’s packed with nourishing minerals and extracts, but also it includes moisture locking hyaluronic acid and glacier water. Overall, it’s a great conductive gel for those with dry, dehydrated and thirsty skin.

Buy NuFace gel at amazon.com

Buy NuFace gel at dermstore.com

Jellen Organic Aloe Conductive Gel
pump bottle of Jellen aloe

This multi-purpose microcuurent conductive gel for face is made with 95% of organic clean ingredients. It has hydrating, moisturizing, calming and soothing properties, and also promotes skin elasticity. Jellen’s nourishing gel is suitable for all skin types and is available in 8 or 16 fl.oz pump bottle.

This brand also offers an advanced luxurious version of conductivity gel – Peptide Power Gel, which includes anti aging complex and ingredients like peptides, DMAE, pro-vitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid. It also doubles as facial mask that addresses fine lines and skin tone, hence higher price. In fact, this conductive gel is so popular and is in such a high demand, that very often it’s sold out (find Peptide Gel on Amazon).

Buy at amazon.com

Buy at jellenproducts.com

ZIIP Beauty Conductive Gels
bottles of ZIIP-golden and silver-gel

ZIIP Beauty, one of the most innovative beauty companies nowadays, offers 3 different luxurious conductive gels (Silver gel, Crystal gel and ZIIP Golden gel) that also double as an intensive treatment mask (hence higher price than other conductive gels). Even though ZIIP conductive gels cost more, they are formulated with potent organic and powerful anti-aging ingredients, and designed to maximize the results of ZIIP treatments. Also, you can get these gels for a discounted price with a gel subscription.

Silver gel (2.7 fl.oz) – for plumping, brightening and revealing healthy glow (includes ingredients like pearl powder, cucumber extract, Japanese hyaluronic acid, and peptides).

Crystal gel (2.7 fl.oz) – for radiance and repair (includes ingredients like glutathione, Veronica flower, and cedar bark extract).

ZIIP Golden gel (2.7 fl.oz) – skin firming and for filling lines (includes ingredients like 24-carat gold, five growth factors, snail venom peptide, and bio-placenta).

Buy at ziipbeauty.com                       

Buy at amazon.com

Discover 5 best microcurrent devices for home use.

 

Conductive Gel Substitutes/Alternatives

 

jar of aloe vera

Even though there is no way around conductivity gels, and you need a conductivity medium for microcurrent treatment to be effective, you can opt for a conductive gel alternative. For example some of the best substitutes for microcurrent conductive gel include aloe vera gel, colloidal silver gel, and ultrasound gel.

Usually, these common alternative gels are cheaper since they are made of simple components and have very short ingredient list. Nevertheless, they do provide a sufficient conductivity.

Aloe Vera Gel

Being a medicinal plant, aloe vera leaves naturally contain clear gel that is used for treating different skin conditions. It is mainly known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, soothing, softening and natural healing properties. Since plain aloe vera is naturally rich in minerals and conductive ions it is one of the best conductive gel substitutes. Moreover, you can increase the conductivity of aloe vera gel by simply adding a pinch of salt to a gel.

Not only aloe gel is a more natural alternative to other microcurrent gels, but also it’s an excellent moisturizer and a great source of antioxidants including vitamin A, C and E. Here are few good options of organic aloe vera gels:

  • Aromatica  Organic Aloe Vera Gel with rosemary infusion, 95% USDA Organic, EWG Verified, pump bottle (10 oz. on Amazon)
  • Seven Minerals 99% Organic Aloe Vera Gel with non-sticky texture, grown and bottled in Texas, USA (12 oz. on Amazon)
  • NaturSense Organic Aloe Vera Gel, 99.7% organically grown, cold pressed, and grown in Texas (12 oz. on Amazon)
  • Pura D’or Pure Aloe Vera Gel With Lavender, 99.2% USDA certified organic, cold pressed, formulated and bottled in California, pump bottle (16 oz. on Amazon)

Pros of aloe vera gel: all natural, rich in minerals and antioxidants, budget-friendly, great for all skin types including sensitive skin.

Cons of aloe vera gel: dries out faster than microcurrent conductivity gel for face.

Colloidal Silver Gel

Silver gel is known for its antibacterial, antifungal, soothing and natural healing properties. Moreover, silver has naturally high electric conductivity and can be used as microcurrent gel alternative. As a conductive gel substitute it will work best for those with acne-prone, blemish-prone or oily skin due to its antibacterial properties.

  • SilveBiotics Silver Gel, made with 20 ppm silver liquid solution (4 oz. on Amazon)
  • Silver Miracles Colloidal Gel, made with 75 ppm colloidal silver (4 oz. on Amazon)

Pros: all natural, has potent antimicrobial and wound healing properties, great for acne-prone and oily skin.

Cons: dries out faster than microcurrent conductivity gel.

Ultrasound Or Electrode Gel

Common ultrasound gel or electrode gel can be used as a cheap substitute to microcurrent conductive gel, but it doesn’t contain any nourishing ingredients, and is made of only water and high percentage of propylene glycol, which is derived from petroleum and is somewhat controversial ingredient (read more about propylene glycol safety).

Pros: cheap, can be used by all skin types except sensitive.

Cons: no nourishing or anti aging ingredients, might irritate sensitive skin.

 

Do not use the following as conductive substitute:

  • Oil-based products/gel alternatives
  • Water
  • Moisturizers & creams

 

In conclusion, aloe gel and silver gel are good natural cost effective alternatives to other microcurrent gels. Even though these substitute gels don’t contain anti aging ingredients, they also don’t contain chemicals and skin irritants, and provide descent conductivity.

On the other hand, these alternative gels might dry faster than conductivity gels formulated specifically for microcurrent device. So instead of applying it over the entire face at once, you can apply it in sections to prevent gel from drying.

Related: Learn more about microcurrent therapy and its benefits.

 

Conductive Serums

Another alternative to conductive gels are conductive serums, though not as popular due to the high price tag. Most microcurrent conductive serums are highly concentrated, and in addition to providing conductivity benefits they are also infused with potent anti-aging and top-class ingredients. However, not everyone can justify $50 price tag for 1 fl.oz. of conductive serum.

  • Foreo Serum Serum Serum, micro-capsule youth preserve (on Amazon or Ulta)
  • Sola Wave Pure Hydration Conductive Serum

How to use microcurrent device at home

Women using Nuface microcurrent device

For at-home use, it is recommended to do microcurrent treatment at least 3 times a week, and spend about 5-20 minutes per session for optimal results.

For your safety, most microcurrent devices have to be charged prior to the use, and should not be used while charging. It is also recommended to stay well hydrated and drink plenty of water before and after the microcurrent facial.

  1. Clean. Start by removing all makeup and wash your skin with a mild oil-free cleanser.
  1. Microcurrent gel. Using microcurrent conductive gel is a must! It allows the microcurrent to be transmitted into the skin. Instead of applying it to the entire face, apply a generous amount of gel section by section on the part of the face you are treating. The goal is to keep gel wet on your skin and prevent it from drying.
  1. Gliding Technique. While applying light pressure, slowly make gliding-like upward motions. For best results, follow instructions provided by a particular manufacturer, since many microcurrent devices will slightly differ one from another.

Microcurrent Treatment Overview

Microcurrent facial is a non-invasive and painless electrotherapy that requires no downtime for recovery. It is an effective anti aging treatment and a safe alternative to other more aggressive and invasive medical procedures, and plastic surgeries. Moreover, it can be used as a stand-alone at-home or in-office treatment, or in combination with other rejuvenating treatments.

In general, microcurrent tools can be used on cheeks, jawline, forehead, brows, and neck (excluding center of the neck), and some people might experience a light tingly feeling. Mild visible results can be seen after a few procedures. But they are also cumulative, so with the regular use of your at-home microcurrent machine the results will be more vivid and last longer.

All in all, microcurrent therapy will benefit the most those who have sagging facial muscles, loose skin, loss of skin firmness and decreased elasticity of facial skin. It is a great way to improve muscle tone, lift and tighten skin, and improve facial contour.

 

Sources:

Aloe vera.” National Center For Complementary And Integrative Health

Cho S, Kim S.G, Kim Y, Park S, Lee C, Kim H. “Clinical test for evaluation of effectiveness of the micro-current stimulation in facial skin care.” Journal of Biomedical Engineering Research, Oct. 2016, Vol. 37

Houghton P.E. “Clinical trials involving biphasic pulsed current, microcurrent, and/or low-intensity direct current.“ Advances in Wound Care (New Rochelle), Feb. 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 2

Jain S, Arora M. “Effect of microcurrent facial muscle toning on fine wrinkles and firmness of face.” IAMR Journal of Physiotherapy, Mar. 2012, Vol. 1, No. 1

Kavanagh S, Newell J, Hennessy M, Sadick, N. “Use of a neuromuscular electrical stimulation device for facial muscle toning: a randomized, controlled trial.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Nov. 2012, Vol. 11, Issue 4            

Kern D, Riggs M, Knaggs H. “A novel microcurrent device to improve skin structure and appearance.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Sep. 2019, Vol. 139

“Propylene glycol.” TruthInAging.com

Rosser, L. “Offering microcurrent therapy.” Aesthetics, Aug. 2019

Saniee F, Kh K.K, Yazdanpanah P. “The effect of microcurrent on facial wrinkles.” Pars of Jahrom University of Medical Sciences, Sep. 2012, Vol. 10

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