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As someone with highly reactive, sensitive skin who has struggled for years with an emotionally debilitating skin disorder and, lately, cystic acne on my chin that comes in horrific flare-ups, I am in the catch-22 of being a beauty editor with a fear of trying new skin treatments. It’s my face, after all, and anyone who has suffered with unsightly skin issues knows that in the rare times your skin has reached stasis (which, at least for me, is only ever a cruel few days of normalcy guaranteed to cycle back to “bad” at some point even without my spurring that on), it takes a lot to be willing to risk unsettling that state of equilibrium voluntarily on something new.
As such, something has to be extremely compelling, the science behind it has to make sense, and I have to trust, in my gut, that the experts behind a product or device know what they’re doing for me to try it. That criteria was met and more when I received the opportunity to experience facialist and “electrical esthetician” to the stars Melanie Simon’s nanocurrent skincare device, ZIIP. If I hadn’t had a good feeling about it, I would have just said no, as I do all the time. But I heard about Simon’s innovations in the beauty industry, and the technology behind the device sounded like something life-changing.
Read on for my—someone whose skin is fickle and whose standards for experimenting (at least on my face) are airtight—honest experience.
What Is a ZIIP Nanocurrent Skincare Device?
The box, presentation, and design of the product are unlike any beauty device you’ve ever seen. Simply put, the ZIIP ($495) looks like an insanely sleek, sexy computer mouse (see photos above and below) that you turn on and rub in circles over your skin to deliver nanocurrency—which is basically electricity. When turned on, it promises to deliver nano-sized electrical currents deep in the cellular level of your skin meant to zap bacteria and promote younger-looking skin.
Fortunately for me, when I first met Melanie Simon in a suite at one of my favorite venues in L.A., Palihouse, to learn about her fan-favorite ZIIP, she gave me a nanocurrent facial using the device, taught me all about how to use it, and sent me home with it (and the charger, travel bag, and six vials of the conductive Golden Gel that comes with it) to experience on my own. Of course, this was after proving to have the most perfect complexion I've ever seen, which only made me want to use the device even more.
Potential Benefits of Using a ZIIP Nanocurrent Skincare Device
According to the brand, there are some great potential benefits:
- Heals tissue
- Accelerates wound healing
- Increases circulation
- Stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, reduces wrinkles
Nanocurrency vs. Microcurrency
Microcurrency has been big in the beauty world for some time, but as Simon explained to me, it’s a higher frequency that comes with some inflammation. Nanocurrency, however, is claimed to be lower frequency yet more potent. Nevertheless, the ZIIP device is designed with some microcurrency; it's just not the main focus of the treatment.
How to Prepare for Using a ZIIP Nanocurrent Skincare Device
The device is used in conjunction with the included conductive gel (pictured above), which is meant to act as a conduit for the currents to deeply penetrate the skin, that you have to apply before using it. In addition to being electrically conductive, the gel also contains high concentrations of human growth factors and active peptides that are meant to simultaneously treat skin and leave it looking supple and glowy long after you’ve put the device away.
Beyond prepping the skin with conductive gel, you have to choose which treatment you'd like to receive from the ZIIP device. The best, coolest, and most ingenious part (other than the results-driven nano-technology) is that ZIIP offers a menu of programs tailored to specific skincare concerns. It was developed with a foolproof app that "delivers” the program you select to the device via Bluetooth, so you don’t have to think about any buttons or levels. Each program offers a unique electrical cocktail of wavelengths and currency depending on the specific issue(s).
The default program ZIIP comes equipped with is Energize—which is a 12-minute treatment suitable for all skin types and intended to firm, tighten, and brighten. Then there’s one designed to prep and brighten skin; one for people with ultra-sensitive skin looking for anti-aging benefits; one created to lift, sculpt, and awaken the complexion; one designed to treat and prevent melasma; a two-minute revitalizing treatment that clears pores, diminishes under-eye circles, and blurs fine lines; an eye-specific program for fine lines and puffiness; and lastly, Total Clearing (me!! me!!)—an eight-minute program targeted for acne.
What to Expect While Using a ZIIP Nanocurrent Skincare Device
On the morning of my first day of at-home use, I downloaded the free ZIIP app from the app store, selected the Total Clearing program, applied the conductive gel all over my face to ensure the current could uninhibitedly flow, and within seconds, my device buzzed to politely let me know it had received the program and was ready for use. I put my iPhone down on my bathroom sink counter, placed the device’s two metal probes firmly on my skin, and let Simon’s videos guide me in circular motions, only moving to a new section of skin once the ZIIP vibrated, indicating to do so.
If you have sensitive skin, start out with five minutes instead of eight, and use your device every other day, or two to three times per week, as opposed to once a day.
For the Total Clearing program—in which you’re supposed to do about 30 rotations of two-second circles—Simon explained that I would feel a slight buzz/burn when the device went over a blemish. The first day I used it I had isolated individual cystic bumps—one on my cheek, one on my chin, and one on my hairline. Sure enough, I felt a buzzy sensation exactly on each blemish when I went over them with the device. According to Simon, this occurs because the blemish is positively charged, and the ZIIP device is programmed with negative electrical currents to seek out and combat blemishes. The claim is that the tingling sensation means the blemish is getting reduced—once you go over an area and don’t feel anything, it means the zit no longer has any bacteria for the device to zap.
Shockingly, by the end of my first five-minute session, I no longer felt my blemishes tingle when I ran over the exact spot they were in. It was such a quick and easy five minutes, and I couldn’t believe how radiant my skin looked the entire rest of the day.
At-Home vs. In-Office Nanocurrency Treatments
Like so many skincare leaders that Hollywood’s most beautiful celebrities flock to and rely on for flawless skin—from dermatologists Harold Lancer, MD, and Jeffrey Colbert, MD, to estheticians and facialists Shani Darden and Joanna Vargas, all of whom have created product lines as spinoffs to their ultra-successful office practices to make their results more accessible—Simon created the at-home nanocurrency ZIIP device (the culmination of 10 years of research, testing, and development, according to the brand) so people could benefit from her signature nanocurrency treatments without having to see her personally. Now, with ZIIP, some people might see Simon twice a year and use the device at home in between; others may never meet Simon in person but reap the benefits of her innovation via this handy, transformative gadget.
There is no pain or recovery time with ZIIP, and the feel of the device is smooth and non-abrasive—because it’s not working on the surface but rather deep within it. In general, side effects are incredibly unlikely with microcurrent treatments.
While there's no set aftercare associated with the ZIIP, I took the day off after my first treatment. By the time I woke up, the normally super-inflamed look of my cysts had diminished drastically, and my skin felt super soft to the touch. Most importantly, #nonewcysts. By my fourth use, a week later, my skin had a clarity that I can’t put a price on, and I was getting compliments on my skin at work—which, for someone with cystic chin acne that is the bane of my existence, felt incredible. I am completely hooked on the device and haven’t gotten a deep, painful, under-the-skin cyst since I began using it.
The Final Takeaway
Five-hundred dollars is a huge sticker shock at first, but when you break down how often you’re using it and the benefit it provides—especially versus what you’d pay for a similar treatment in an office (a nanocurrent facial with Simon herself costs around $600)—the initially crazy price starts to seem like a steal. Honestly! A single standard (aka non-nanocurrent) facial at a reputable spa, or a single massage, is about $200. One out-of-pocket visit to a dermatologist or esthetician costs about half the cost of the device. When you’re looking at something that you can use every single day, and that’s comparable to an in-office procedure that would cost hundreds for one time, the price starts to seem like pennies in the scheme of the appearance of the only skin you’ll ever have. For someone like me, it’s a small price to pay for clearer skin.
[Note from a dermatologist: Discuss this and all over the counter products with a board certified dermatologist to work out the best regimen for your skin.]
Yi D, Lim H, Yim J. Effect of microcurrent stimulation on pain, shoulder function, and grip strength in early post-operative phase after rotator cuff repair. Medicina (Kaunas). 2021;57(5):491. doi:10.3390/medicina57050491