What is electroporation?
Electroporation or virtual mesotherapy consists of the controlled application of high voltage electrical pulses, achieving the momentary opening of pores in the lipid bilayer of the cell membranes and aqueous channels in the intercellular spaces.
It allows the introduction of active ingredients of molecular sizes hundreds of times larger than those we could introduce in a conventional topical way.
Depending on the pulse applied, we are able to open pores in the stratum corneum, intercellular channels in the epidermis and dermis, as well as achieve pores in the cell membranes to introduce the active ingredients into them.
This mechanism is reversible and transient, so that after a short period of time the cell membrane returns to its initial state.
How does electroporation work?
When we apply this technology to the skin in the right way, we achieve the opening of pores in the cells of the different layers and the temporary separation of the junctions between cells, creating aqueous channels.
This technique is used in laboratories of molecular biology, genomics, etc., both in vivo and in vitro, for uses such as genetic manipulation and cellular DNA modification. It is a common procedure for the introduction of genes into cultured cells, tumor treatment and gene therapy.
Adapted to a cutaneous application, the electrical pulses thus generate two routes of introduction, transcellular and intercellular, through the epidermis, transfollicular and transudoriparous.
Transcellular penetration occurs by permeabilizing the skin through the applied pulses, which causes an electrorotation of the lipids with the consequent momentary opening of pores in the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane.
On the other hand, the active ingredient diffusion through intercellular channels is produced, which consists in the generation of intercellular aqueous channels, allowing the direct passage of the active ingredients into the interior.
Both phenomena occur in the same way through the walls of the pilosebaceous ducts and sweat glands, thus achieving a large introduction of active ingredients.
Thus, transdermal electroporation by high-voltage pulses has established itself as the most effective method for the introduction of active ingredients into the skin, both in terms of the amount of active ingredient introduced and the diversity of the active ingredient that can be introduced.
Electroporation can be used in different treatments to reduce inflammation, stimulate collagen synthesis and enhance skin regeneration.
- Facial electroporation: for the face, eye contour, lips and neck area, using the right actives with electroporation can help to attenuate expression lines, alleviate forehead wrinkles and the small lines that are created in the upper part of the mouth. It is also effective against sun spots. We can rejuvenate the skin and reduce wrinkles on the neck and décolleté.
- Body electroporation: with electroporation it is possible to act on stretch marks, localized fat, flaccidity and work on body modeling.
- Capillary electroporation: by means of electroporation we can introduce active ingredients into the scalp and activate circulation.
Electroporation versus other
- Low-energy radiofrequency electroporation
Equipment that tries to generate electroporation by alternating current at 1 Mhz with very low intensity.
Slightly increases skin permeability by electrorotation but does not generate electroporation. They are easily identified by their thermoplastic insulated applicator.
- Electroporation by electrophoresis (iontophoresis)
Different currents are combined but the main current is a galvanic current, which requires the product to have polarity and the result is very limited.
They usually come in roll-on format with a separate return electrode.
- Injected mesotherapy
Electroporation and injected mesotherapy use in a similar way the characteristics of the active ingredients to achieve improvement effects on the treated skin areas.
Transdermal electroporation is also known as virtual mesotherapy, probably because of its similarity to injection.
In any case, a distinction must be made between injected mesotherapy (conventional) and virtual mesotherapy. At the operational level, the main difference is that in the injected one, asset injections are used. It is, therefore, an invasive technique.
In addition, the products designed for conventional mesotherapy have very low concentrations to avoid possible adverse effects on the skin since at a microscopic level very high volumes of product are introduced in specific points, leaving the rest of the tissue untreated.
However, by electroporation we are able to permeabilize the entire tissue, achieving a uniform distribution of the active ingredient. This is why we can safely use products with concentrations much higher than conventional products, achieving unprecedented results.
As a final review, it should be noted that electroporation is painless and non-invasive compared to injected mesotherapy. The fact that it does not use needles means that it can be applied by aesthetic professionals, without the need for a doctor.
How to identify electroporation?
In order to identify electroporation, we must take into account that it will always have a bipolar application with direct metallic electrodes, for the correct transmission of the electrical pulses to the skin.
High voltage should be perceived on dry contact, being desirable that its application with product is not annoying.