Why? Because it promises to give you an ethereal glow even Cate Blanchett would envy, while plumping up your skin and delivering immune-system-boosting benefits -- all in one 45-minute treatment. Too good to be true? Obviously. Which is why I set out to call B.S. on this chichi beauty treatment -- despite my fear of needles.
The Scoop on IV Beauty
But, how exactly does pumping your veins full of vitamins help your skin? "Hydration is an important component of skin and body health, says Arleen K. Lamba, MD, founder and medical director of Blush Med in Bethesda, Maryland. "Hydrated skin will look less dull and can even show decreased line formation." Translation: Wrinkles disappear like magic.
In addition, glutathione (an antioxidant) can be added to your IV to brighten your skin and combat sun damage over time. "Your skin regenerates every 28 days or so; you are a product of what you put in your body," says Sharsad. "A vitamin IV treatment on a regular basis will improve the appearance of your skin as you will be consistently flooding your body with the nutrients it needs to promote a healthy, radiant looking complexion.
It's also, I'm told, the perfect pick-me-up when you've been under the weather. "IV-infused nutrients help kick-start your body's cells, which perform below optimal level when you're sick," says Dr. Nasimeh Yazdini, medical director of Epithereal Medical Center in Marina del Rey, California. "The results are a greater energy capacity and optimal function of cells." In other words, vitamin IVs can make you look -- and feel -- like you haven't been puking your guts out for the past 24 hours.
IV Treatment No. 1: Vitamin IV for Youthful-Looking Skin
While Dr. Sarshad explained the procedure, I avoided making eye contact with the needles. Flashbacks to the time a nurse stuck me four times in each arm before moving to the veins on the top of my hands pummeled me. Her excuse: I have the world's puniest veins. The trauma of the event flourished into a full-fledged fear of needles. Luckily, my hyperventilating did not distract the good doc at Cosmetique, who got that needle into my vein in one fell swoop.
Then, it was time to wait as the cocktail of vitamins slowly dripped into my veins.
Then I looked in the mirror. I had removed my makeup so that if my IV perked up my pallor by even a bit, I'd be able to see it. Lo and behold, my skin looked like I'd just completed a GOOP-approved cleanse. (Read: radiant, plump and healthy, like Gwyneth herself had blessed it).
IV Treatment No. 2: IV Treatment for Hangovers, Colds and General Malaise
Since I was feeling god-awful, I had them add in extra vitamin C, so I could get the best of both worlds. According to Yazdini, it's a powerful boost of antioxidants for those getting sick, but the skin-brightening effects of vitamin C take three or more IV sessions to see.
I summoned the IV Doctor to the TotalBeauty offices to have my IV administered desk side, while I worked. Though reception was alarmed to see a woman arrive with an IV pole and medical bag, it was worth the stares. I was able to file a story while waiting for my bag of fluids to empty. Hello, two birds, one stone.
After getting unhooked from the IV, I headed to the bathroom to see how I looked. Having only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before, thanks to my cough and phlegmy-ness, I felt and looked surprisingly alert -- the kind of alert only a really good eye cream/face mask combo or an actual full night of sleep can give you.
Aside from the cold arm and the faint taste of vitamins in the back of my mouth (apparently, this is also common), it was just another day at the office. And I was hooked.