Welcome to another of my BLOGS – this time I am going to take a look at Galvanic Facials! I am not sure whether you are already familiar with this treatment and procedure, but I will start with a bit of brief history. You may or nor not be familiar with a scientist called Galvani but essentially his research provides the foundation for Galvanic Facial. If you studied Physics, you may well remember his “discovery” and be aware of his experiment involving an electric current and frog’s legs.
If you do not know about this then perhaps you might be familiar with the fact that he supplied part of the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” – the monster bought to life through passing a massive amount of electricity (lightning) through his reconstructed body – taken from corpses. Of course, Galvanic Facials have no comparison and are not as frightening or scary as this. The only thing that perhaps has not changed from history is that the Aesthetic Beauty Industry still uses the term Galvanic whereas the more familiar term “direct current” is not, but this is what replaced the term over time.
The process of desincrustation, which is a deep cleansing treatment that softens the skin and is ideally suited for those with congested or oily skin and was developed in France in the early 1930’s by Société P.A.B. After the second World War the beauty embraced the technique of ionophoresis (a technique of introducing ionic medicinal compounds into the body through the skin by applying a local electric current) by Guinot, one of the Aesthetic Beauty businesses.
Desincrustation is the process that will soften and emulsify the sebum and keratin in the follicle. This uses a solution which has an alkaline pH, and they are negatively charged which requires a direct current to hold the negative charge. The treatment involves both the practitioner to hold the cathode and the client to hold the inactive electrode. The solution is applied to the skin and gauze (covers the active electrode) the resulting reaction forms sodium hydroxide (from the fatty oils and acid mantle) this substance (soap like in appearance) is repelled onto the skins surface (known as saponification). The sebum then becomes soft and liquefies, the extraction of blackheads becomes much easier, more so if the skin is dehydrated.
Iontophoresis is similar to the aforementioned process in that a positively charged (acid pH) product or serum is applied to the skin. This process is particularly recommended for those with rosacea or has sensitive skin. It also reduces oedema and constricts the follicles.
What are the benefits of Galvanic facial? In addition to softening compacted sebum and keratin within the follicle making extractions of blackheads much easier (and cleansing of the skin), the treatment will unclog other pores and prevent the development of acne breakouts. So would be beneficial to those that suffer and experience acne. In terms of the signs of ageing the elasticity of the skin is improved meaning that the skin becomes more tightened and improves facial contours. The skin is also hydrated, moisturised, and nourished, fine lines and wrinkles become less visible as the natural product collagen and its production are increased. Oxygen and blood circulation are improved which will rejuvenate the skin. Another benefit is that this treatment will provide is that improves lymphatic drainage, this process is about the removal of harmful toxins and waste products, it will also detoxify and provide a deep cleansing of the skin which will improve both the tone and quality of the skin. Lastly following the treatment, the products used in a daily skin routine will penetrate deeper into the skin allowing these to have greater effect.
A practitioner should during the consultation process warn of any contra-actions that may occur during or after the treatment, in general these may only be mild, but they should advise a potential client that if symptoms persist after 24 hours to contact their doctor for advice. They could experience the following, a rash, dryness of the skin, some itching, warm and tingly skin. There is also a possibility of galvanic burn – however a practitioner should be aware that too little of the product being used or the current being too high may result in these burns so should be cautious.
A client should also be made aware of the necessity of following after care advice that the practitioner will provide, if not adhered too then the treatment will not produce the optimum results or desired outcome of the client. In the case of Galvanic Facials treatments should be limited and only repeated at weekly intervals. If the client is attending or planning to attend any special events, then treatment should be delayed. After the treatment, the client should not touch the treated area or be tempted to pick at the area. Avoid make up for 24 hours. Do not use a stimulating product but light cleansing in the evening is encouraged. As with other Aesthetic treatments a client should avoid sunbeds, saunas, and epilation for at least 24 hours, and avoid self-tanning products for a minimum of 24 hours. Products containing Hyaluronic acid are recommended and these include collagen creams, and sunscreens (check the ingredients before purchasing or they should ask the practitioner for recommended brands.
During the procedure, the practitioner will be using solutions that contain one of the following, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate or Sodium Carbonate (an individual may be familiar with these) the reason these solutions are used is that each of them are alkaline pH products which will soften the skin and follicles and also, they will assist in the breakdown of sebaceous waste – providing the deep cleanse during the treatment. The skin will need to be restored to its correct acidic pH levels so the products used will have to be removed completely, the practitioner will ensure this takes place and if the client experiences any inflammation, they will use a selected product that contains calming and purifying extracts to sooth this.
On completion of the treatment the practitioner will confirm the next appointment and may recommend other treatments that may be beneficial. If you have any concerns or questions, please make sure that you ask the practitioner at the time leaving a salon or clinic with concerns may cause unnecessary anxiety and this can be avoided. As always when I write these BLOGS, I always comment on the fact that a qualified and trained practitioner should be sought if an individual or potential client wishes to receive this treatment and if you have been recommended to a salon or clinic then this will provide re-assurance. If you are unable to confirm a practitioners’ qualifications, then you should avoid booking an appointment with them as this may lead to unnecessary complications.
I hope this BLOG has provided you with an insight into the procedure and the benefits it may provide in meeting your needs, but you can always do further research via the internet where you can Q&A sections relating to the treatment.