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Welcome back to Worth It, our weekly seal of approval on noteworthy launches and bespoke collaborations in the worlds of beauty and fashion. If it's featured here, consider these investments worthwhile.
Therabody isn’t synonymous with skincare. You think: muscle spasm, back pain, body roller. Sure, it's important and helpful for feeling good and healthy and happy (a thrown out back is miserable), but not necessarily what you think of when you think of aesthetics. So when the company, which is founded by a chiropractor, decided to launch the TheraFace earlier this year, I admittedly did a double take. A pain relief brand launching light therapy and microcurrent tools? It felt eerily similar to when Dyson, a vacuum brand, branched out into haircare. Unexpected, albeit intriguing. But, upon further investigation, its expansion does makes a whole lot of sense.
The TheraFace, which boasts a multitude of benefits in one tool, is centered on percussive therapy—the same technology used in the brand’s Theragun. In simple terms, percussive therapy is the boom-boom-boom that somehow obliterates back spasms, calms muscles, and generally relaxes everything. It’s been scaled down to a gentler pace in this device, making it ideal for reducing tension around the jaw, the sinuses, and shoulder blades. Then, there’s a microcurrent attachment, which is designed to help firm the skin, as well as a light therapy ring equipped with blue light to help reduce mild to moderate acne, and a red light to target signs of aging. If you want to pay a steeper price, you add on cold rings, and hot rings.
Most of these skin-rejuvenating treatments are typically done in physician’s offices or at the hands of a well-trained physician, but they're now available at-home via this new tool. “In-home treatments tend to be less effective because they are designed in a way that minimizes the risk of adverse effects and harm when using the device,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. “The treatments are less powerful which leads to more subtle, if any, results, but also less risk of harm to the user.” To see if the TheraFace would deliver, I put it to the test.
Why I’m Obsessed
I’m big on skincare gadgets and gizmos. Give me an acne zapper, heat wand, ice globe—I’m down to try anything, and, if I’m being honest, I have tried most. I’ve gone the professional route for most of my light therapy treatments—and consider myself a mega-fan. Acne? Gone overnight. Redness? Immediately calmed. I’ve taken microcurrent for a spin with derms and estheticians and can confirm the lifting powers are see-it-to-believe-it good. Percussive therapy isn’t something I’ve tried, but given that I have TMJ and despise wearing a retainer (shh, don’t tell my orthodontist), I was most definitely pumped to put its muscle relaxing powers to the test. And let me say: It did not disappoint. Here, I'm breaking down my honest thoughts on the TheraFace's primary attachments.
I’m a teeth grinder who really, truly hates sleeping with a mouth guard. As such, I occasionally find my jaw in spasm or experience a shooting pain when I bite foods. Fun stuff. But this unfortunate sensitivity made me the perfect tester for the percussive attachment. I used the flat attachment (there's also a cone and a micro-point) and set the device to a level two speed before taking it to my jaw.
The pulse of the machine was certainly powerful, but it wasn’t painful. I ran the machine slowly along my jawline, pausing at the joint for five seconds. I repeated that whole shebang three times. I even brought it down to my shoulder blades to help with tension.
After doing this for three days, my mind was blown. I’m not exaggerating; I’m not joking. This percussive attachment loosened my jaw in a way that no acupuncturist or massage therapist has ever been able to. I had no pain, no tightness, no sharp pinches. Hands down, no doubt about it, the percussive attachments blew me away. It's 100 percent my favorite function in this tool.
I’m a big fan of light therapy—have been for years. In a professional setting, blue light is “suitable for treating pre-cancer cells, some forms of superficial non-melanoma skin cancers, and some acne,” explains Dr. Greenfield. Red light, on the other hand, penetrates a bit deeper than blue light, and therefore, is more powerful. “It can be used to treat wrinkles, redness, acne, and some forms of pre-cancer on the skin.”
The TheraFace is equipped with red light, blue light, and red light+LED light. As someone with rosacea and mild acne, I’ve taken all three modes for a test run. While results are certainly more dramatic with the big, fancy, medical-grade machines, I noticed that my skin was generally more calm and clearer with frequent use of the TheraFace. The blue light is perfect for a spot treatment when my skin is acting up and the red light notably firms my face.
On the functionality front, I love that the device is specifically designed to place the light 0.5 inches away from the skin. It’s a safe distance, so you don’t have to worry about burns or skin damage. Figuring out how long to use the LED was a bit of a learning curve though. Here are my takeaways: Treat each area of the face for 15 seconds. Then, repeat the process three times.
If you’ve never tried a microcurrent device or facial, I want to warn you: It feels weird. The electricity-powered tool, when applied with the proper conductive gel, makes your facial muscles involuntarily twitch and spasm. Essentially, it’s giving the face a little workout. “Microcurrent is a small dose of electricity delivered to the body with the thought that it can induce collagen and elastin synthesis and improve fine lines and wrinkles,” explains Dr. Greenfield.
When I put this attachment to the test, I made a point to treat one side of my face and not the other. And when I tell you the results were wild—I mean it. My cheekbones, eyebrows, smile line—basically everything—looked a quarter-inch more lifted than the untreated half. I looked more awake, more alive, and just generally better than I did before.
All in all: I love it. The TheraFace basically bottled a handful of in-office treatments, for a fraction of the price. Between the lifting powers, the spot treatment ability (goodbye chin pimple), and voodoo muscle relaxing magic of the percussive device, I can confidently say I'm hooked. Sure, results are more subtle at the get-go. But this is a long-term investment in skin health—and that’s something I can get behind.
Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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