We try a skincare device that’s supposed to improve the effectiveness of our beauty products

Does Panasonic’s Ion Effector actually help your moisturizer penetrate your skin better? There are lots

Does Panasonic’s Ion Effector actually help your moisturizer penetrate your skin better?

There are lots of weird beauty and skincare contraptions out there that make wild claims about their efficacy–this crazy-looking LED robot mask comes to mind–but you never really know if they’ll really do what they say they’ll do until you try them. Luckily, we at SoraNews24 have very few reservations about what we do to ourselves, so we can try them for you!

Today our Japanese-language reporter Natsuki Gojo wanted to share her experience with the Panasonic Ion Effector, which is, admittedly, a much safer device to experiment with than, say, a dollar-store heated lash curler. It’s a skincare device with multiple functions, though its primary purpose is to help your everyday skincare items permeate the skin better–particularly moisturizers and Vitamin C serums.

Ever since she tried the “Medi Lift” face lifter, Natsuki has become really interested in skincare technology. In fact, she’s been thinking of getting something to help make her skincare lotions and serums more effective, and after some research, she settled on the Panasonic Ion Effector.

The reason why she chose this particular product was not necessarily because it was more effective than others, but simply because it lets you use the skincare creams and serums you already have on hand. Many of the other, “better” devices require you to use a special beauty serum, or specify that you can only use that brand’s products, which Natsuki was not a fan of.

The type she bought is the “High Permeation Type” (model number EH-ST98). The price varies based on where it’s being sold, but you can expect to pay between 30,000 and 40,000 yen for it (US$270 to $360). It has two different, interchangeable heads: the “Pre-care Head” and the “Ion Head”. As you might guess, the “Pre-care Head” is meant to be used before starting your skincare routine. It prepares your skin to absorb as much of the products as it can by relaxing its top layer. You don’t need to use any creams with the Pre-care head.

The Ion Head is used together with your skincare products. For toners, essences and other light skincare products, you affix a cotton pad within the triangle-shaped frame and soak the pad with the product, then apply it to your face. For lotions and creams, you can apply them directly to your skin and then use the Ion Effector over them to maximize their penetration and effectiveness.

After trying it the first time, Natsuki said the device actually feels really good on the skin. The Ion Head in particular was nice and warm, and when she used the “Cool Mode” at the end, the super cold surface made her skin feel refreshed. “It was the best!” she said.

The wand itself was light and comfortable in her hand, so her arm didn’t get tired while she used it, either. Overall, she was very satisfied with the user feel of the product. But the real question is…did it work? Did it help her moisturizers penetrate her skin more deeply?

To find out, Natsuki measured the moisture content of her skin both before completing her skincare routine (after getting out of the bath) and after. On the first day, as a control, she recorded the results of not using the wand. After putting her face creams on with her hands like she always had, Natsuki was shocked to find that the percentage of water in her skin was actually lower after doing her skincare routine than before!

▼ On the left, after the bath (55 percent). On the right, after skincare (52 percent).

Natsuki had often heard that you have to apply your moisturizer as soon as you get out of the bath, but she didn’t realize how true it was until then. She resolved to be more diligent about that, at least!

The next day, Natsuki tried using the Ion Effector. She started with Precare mode, continued on to Moisturize Mode, and then finished with Cool Mode. This time, unlike the previous day, the percentage of moisture in her skin increased by 4 points by the end of her skincare routine! Since she used the same creams as the night before, she concluded that maybe there is some truth to the Ion Effector’s claims.

Natsuki also measured the moisture in her skin each morning after she woke up, and there was also a big difference in the moisture retained between the two nights. The Ion Effector actually seemed to help her skin retain more moisture throughout the night than it did when she only applied the creams with her hands.

▼ 21 percent moisture when she applied the creams with her hands the previous night, versus 30 percent when she used the Ion Effector.


This seemed to back up the Ion Effector’s claims of helping your skincare products penetrate the skin better. Additionally, Natsuki only used three modes in her experiment, but the device actually has six different modes:

  • Skincare – for when you want to exfoliate or deep-clean your pores
  • Pre-care – to make it easier for your skin to absorb larger particles from your skincare ingredients
  • Moisturize – to make it easier for moisturizing ingredients to penetrate the skin
  • Brightening – to make it easier for Vitamin C to penetrate the skin
  • Multi – to make it easier for both Vitamin C and moisturizing ingredients to penetrate the skin
  • Cool – to soothe your skin and tighten it up

There are no rules about how to use the wand; Natsuki says that if you’re busy you can use just one mode, and if you want to have a self-care night, you can go through as many modes as you want. You can even adjust the ion level and the temperature of the wand as well.

▼ Top to bottom: Ion Level Setting button (3 levels); Heat Setting (3 levels); Power and Mode Switch; Low Battery Light

As a result, Natsuki has become a big fan of the Ion Effector. After using it for one month, Natsuki says that her skin feels much more moisturized and that she has much fewer pimples than before, making the Ion Effector an indispensable part of her skincare routine.

Her only complaint is that the battery life on the device is pretty short. A full battery only lasts for about three or four uses, so remembering to charge it every day is essential, lest it run out of juice mid-routine.

Though it’s a pretty pricey product, in the 30,000 or 40,000 yen range, compared to repeatedly buying expensive skincare creams and serums, Natsuki thinks it was well worth the price for its apparent effectiveness in increasing the penetration of the products she already owns. She’s actually been using it religiously every day, and even wonders why it took her so long to buy it!

If you’re interested in skincare technology, Natsuki highly recommends you give it a try. Though this model appears to only be available in Japan, there are similar models from Panasonic available overseas, so definitely take a look if you’re interested!

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[ Read in Japanese ]