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Introduction to Iontophoresis



Iontophoresis: {GK=Introduction of ions} is defined as the introduction, by means of an electric current, of ions of soluble salts into the tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes.


Skin type: All skin types depending on substance used.

Dry dehydrated skin, Dull sallow skin.



  1. Ensure machine is in good working order and on a stable trolley.
  2. Remove jewellery from patient and self.
  3. Cleanse patient’s face and neck thoroughly and check for contraindication.
  4. Explain the procedure to patient and reassure about any sensation i.e. pricking ,metallic taste and slight warmth.
  5. Place inactive electrode in patient’s hand.
  6. Remove substance into a bowl and with help of brush apply on patient’s face and work round with one active roller electrode.   
  7. Place active electrode on patient’s forehead and another at base of neck. Check intensity dial at zero. Make sure that the polarity switch is at negative. Switch on the machine and turn up the intensity dial gradually until patient feels a pricking sensation.
  8. For 2 mins, taking care not to lose contact with the skin and avoid over- stimulation of an area.
  9. After 2 mins,switch off machine, turn intensity dial to zero and remove the active electrode from skin.
  10. Turn polarity other switch to positive. Place the active electrode on forehead and the at base of neck, and switch on machine and turn up the intensity dial as before.
  11. Move the electrode for another 8 mins, slowly over the face and neck.
  12. Switch off the machine, turn off intensity and remove electrodes.
  13. Tone and moisturize face, or blot and continue with other treatments.
  14. No make-up is to be worn for at least 2hours, or if possible, for the rest of the day. If make-up is necessary, then apply medicated foundation and then the rest of the make-up.
  15. Positive polarity is for penetration. Negative polarity is for opening up. So in cases of acne, boils, acids give 8 mins negative.
  16. For serums, pigmentation, give 8 mins positive.

 Duration: 2-3 minutes (negative) and 6-8 minutes (positive).


 Intensity: 2-3miliamps.



Chemical effects:

  • When the active electrode becomes +ve it attracts the –ve ion chlorine.
  • This produces a chemical reaction whereby chloride ions react with hydrogen ions to form hydrochloric acids. This hydrochloric acid restores the acid mantle down the redness of the skin.
Physical effects:
  • Restores acid mantle.
  • Contracts skin tissue.
  • Tighten pores.
  • Reduces vascularity.
  • Overall refining of skin condition due to its astringent effect.
Effects of Iontophoresis:-
  • Beneficial substances for correcting different skin problems are penetrated or introduced to the skin.
  • Opens the pores.
  • Stimulates circulation.
  • Generally improves texture and tone of the skin.
Iontophoresis is Suitable For:
  • All skin types depending on substance used.
  • The contents of substances are specialized which are beneficial, pure, water-soluble for various skin problems.


  1. Retinoic acid for Acne (0.05%).
  • Acne-scars.
  • Pigmentation.
  • Fine lines.
  • Dark circles.
  1. Glycolic acid  {6%,12%}     
  • Pigmentation.
  • Fine lines.
  • Oily skin.
  1. Kojic acid (2%) and Vit-C for Periorbital melanosis.
  2. Aloe + Vit E for Dry & Dehydrated skin.
  3. Seaweed jelly, Positive  galvanic gel, Aloe vera gel can also be used.



  • Hyper-sensitive skin, Loss of skin sensation.
  • Skin diseases, infection, sepsis.
  • Cuts, abrasions, inflammations.
  • Excessive filling, metal pins, plates, coils.
  • Epileptics.
  • Diabetics.
  • Patient with pacemaker.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Highly strung and nervous client.
  • Highly vascular skin.
  • Defective circulation.

Precautions for Iontophoresis

  • Check for contraindications.
  • Ensure machine is in good working order.
  • Remove jewellery from client and self.
  • Explain to client about sensations which she will be feeling.
  • Place correct ampoule on client’s face.
  • Select correct polarity.
  • Time treatment correctly.
  • Do not remove electrode from skin when machine is still on.
  • Avoid over stimulation of any one part of the skin.
  • Try not to touch patient during treatment as the current may be earthed by you.
  • Ensure machine is placed safely on a stable trolley.

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