Direct vs. Pulsed Current Iontophoresis: Comparison Breakdown

What’s the better choice for iontophoresis: Direct or Pulsed Current? We get this question a lot from hyperhidrosis patients.

Direct Current

Direct current (DC) is an electric current that is one-directional, meaning the flow of the charge is always in the same direction. Positive to positive, negative to negative.

  • A continuous flow of charged particles lasting at least 1 second
  • One electrode is always the anode (positive) and one is always the cathode (negative)
  • With the current moving in one direction, there is a build-up of charge causing a stronger chemical effect on your skin tissue

For these reasons, direct current iontophoresis is considered to be more effective and its application results in quicker therapeutic results.

Pulsed Current

Pulsed current is also one-directional, but the intensity changes in value over the course of treatment. It’s perceived as being more comfortable because users can tolerate higher current values.

  • The flow of charged particles stops for less than 1 second in between cycles
  • Pulses can occur individually or in a series

Pulsed current iontophoresis is not as effective because the patient is only receiving a small portion of the treatment at the maximum value.


Put it this way: what’s the more effective way of driving down the highway? Slowly accelerating to 65 mph and keeping a steady speed until you reach your destination? Or accelerating to 100 mph, then decelerating down to 0, then re-accelerating back up to 65, all the way down the highway?

The Fischer

The Fischer iontophoresis device features both DC and PC options. This allows patients to treat according to their preference – whether they’re looking for faster results or a more comfortable experience.

  • PC is great for younger patients or patients with extreme skin sensitivities 
  • Start with DC to see results faster, then switch to PC for your maintenance schedule
  • Traditional iontophoresis companies offer either DC or PC machines. The Fischer is the only two-in-one DC & PC machine.

Completing The Iontophoresis Circuit

Iontophoresis requires an electric current and regular tap water. Two extremities (your hands, for instance) come into contact simultaneously with the electrodes (metal plates) so that ions can flow into your tissue. The positively charged ions which are naturally found in tap water migrate to the negative electrode, while the negatively charged ions migrate to the positive electrode.


Put it this way: if your skin was a sponge, the electric current pushes the minerals found in tap water into your sweat pores, “plugging them up” to create an all-natural dryness barrier.

Are you or someone you know struggling with hyperhidrosis? Give our Treatment Specialists a call at (800) 525-3467, or fill out this form to discuss your symptoms and insurance eligibility.

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