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An Introduction to Electroporation

At AE we like to discuss the latest treatment techniques that are hitting the market. You may have noticed recently the number of home use electroporation machines that are now available. This is not designed to be a review but just to raise the subject and get your feedback on the treatments or machines you have been using.
First some theory…
Electroporation is a technique that was developed in the early 2000’s. It has been used for a number of medical applications, most notably the treatment of cancer and has been successfully used in a number of previously difficult to manage cancer treatments, including prostate cancer. The technique involves using an electric pulse targeted at specific cells to breakdown their outer layers and allow the penetration of drugs or chemicals into those cells.
In some cases the electrical charge has been refined to actual destroy the cells.
I think you can see how this would work for your skin. By using a similar technique it is possible to open skin cells for the efficient introduction of beneficial molecules such as hyaluronic acid or collagen back into the cells deeper in the skin layers that are otherwise difficult to reach. Until now treatments of this type involved injections and needles such as mesotherapy, these can be uncomfortable and are not achieving the same targeted results as Electroporation.
Now here comes the BUT…
1) The key to the technique is the targeted electric field creating the right frequency and intensity to achieve the required goal. Are handheld machines really able to hit the spot or is their approach too generalized to deliver results.
2) The essence used for electroporation treatment – you will need an essence specifically designed for this purpose, such as Ricel Poration A, and our concern is many of those available today are more of a generalized nature hoping to hit the spot.
One interesting development is the “mesoporation” treatment that combines mesotherapy with electroporation. As you can imagine the mesotherapy needles insert the collagen and/or hyaluronic acid and then the electroporation pushes them into the target cells.
Our conclusion is that a number of good treatments are available through professional clinics and spas but the home use market might need some investigation before investing in a device on the market. We can see devices ranging in price fro $50 to $400 for simple home use and $10,000 for professional use. It is easy to question the power and effectiveness of the cheaper machines and with the original research being based on creating electric pulses target at very specific cells it is easy to imagine that the cheaper machines take a more generalized hit or miss approach and may not be particularly effective.
In addition the products being used in conjunction with the machines also need to be of the right quality and concentration to be effective. An example is “Fibrobast Growth Factor” (FGF or EGF) which has been around for some time for treatment of the skin after stronger treatements such as laser or peels and now is used as an essence together with Electroporation. These growth factors are proteins that the body uses to regenerate damaged cells and promote collagen production in these cells. Combining these regenerative effects with the deep reach into the skin of electroporation has led to the development of an effective anti-ageing treatment and in some cases is referred to the “non-surgical face lift”.
In our opinions this is a very interesting development and we expect to see much more literature and discussion over the next few years with electroporation ultimately becoming as mainstream an approach as ultrasound is today.
Please let us have you thoughts and comments.