Galvanic treatment in the beauty industry has been described since at least the 1970's and earlier. The treatment works on the principle that charges ions in the skin are either attracted to or repelled from the electrodes, resulting in certain chemical effects. Sometimes called galvanism, the treatment aims to improve the skin in two ways: (1) cleansing: a process called Desincrustation, and (2) nourishing the skin condition, through an electro-chemical process called Iontophoresis (also called Ionization). This is achieved by the application of a small, constant, direct current.
Galvanism works by penetrating water-soluble, active substances into the subcutaneous tissues, where they act on the ineffective circulation to bring about an improvement in the vascular and lymphatic interchange in the area. This is completed in a natural and harmless way, and is aided by the actual effect of the galvanic current on the tissues. This improves the function of the cellular membrane, and allows the trapped fluid and fat to be dispersed and eliminated. This aids in eliminating cellulite.
A deep-pore cleansing treatment for oily skin. A specialized pre-treatment, alkaline, gel with a negative charge is applied to clean, dry skin. This step is called desincrustation. It softens tissue, dilates the follicle, increases blood and lymph circulation and increases sensitivity, In this step, it soften sebum when the alkaline gel reacts with the stearic fatty acid found in sebum (oil) within the follicle and forms sodium hydroxide, a soap. This a process known as saponification. The sebum is now soft and liquid and is easier to extract.
The use of direct current with a positively charged gel, serum or moisturizer is called iontophoresis, or the nutrition step. This treatment is used to drive active ingredients deeper into the stratum germinativum for various conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, etc.. It helps to balance the pH of the skin, returning it slightly acidic. It also has a calming, vasoconstrictive effect on the skin, reduces edema and it decreases blood flow to help reduce sensitivity. Iontophoresis must always follow desincrustation if desincrustation is used or it can be used as a stand-alone treatment for product penetration or to calm sensitive skin, perhaps for a non-oily skin.