You typically think of the intravenous modality as a staple in hospitals for getting patients hydrated (or the more recent trend of using them to replenish key nutrients post-hangover)—but now, as pointed out by Lily Kunin, wellness expert, Well+Good Council member, and founder of new health hotspot Clean Market in New York, IV drips are being administered as a quick way to get a skin boost.
"We have 14 different IV drips that are designed for certain protocols," says Kunin. "One is our NutriGlow drip, which is a high dose of glutathione [an antioxidant]. The good thing about IV drips is that they're more bioavailable, you absorb them better, and you can typically take a higher dose because it's not going through your digestive tract."
Curious about the next big thing in beauty? Keep reading to learn more.
How IV drips work
As you would imagine, injecting something intravenously is a way to fast-track the delivery of the vitamins and nutrients from the IV bag. "IV drips help replenish the body with essential vitamins and nutrients in a much more rapid manner than taking supplements," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York-based dermatologist.
That's what it means that things are more bioavailable to your body. "If you think about it, when you take in food or a supplement, you have to digest it and it has to get absorbed in order to get to the right place," says Erika Schwartz, MD of Manhattan's Evolved Science. "When you do an IV, you've bypassed all of that and you're going directly into the bloodstream. It's a lot faster." All of that breaking down and digestive action is skipped, which is why IVs are used in hospitals to deliver things like antibiotics directly to the patient.
The way they impact your skin
How can this be used for your glow, though? It's actually beneficial in a myriad of ways. "Anything you inject intravenously goes into your system and affects everything within you," explains Dr. Schwartz. "How your skin looks is a reflection of how your body's functioning—how every organ in the body is working."
It's just like eating a nutritious diet for an inside-out glow—but faster (not that it obliterates the need for eating healthy food). "People may not see the connection between certain organs and their skin, but, for example, a healthy liver is key for healthy skin," says Dr. Schwartz. "IV drips have more concentrated ingredients for detoxifying."
These skin-boosters people are injecting include a wide range of nutrients that you're used to seeing in topical skin care and beauty supplements. "Many of the skin-targeted drips contain minerals like magnesium and zinc, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin C, all of which support healthy skin function," says Dr. Zeichner. Others include amino acids, saline, and electrolytes, according to Dr. Schwartz.
Why this might be the future of beauty
The appeal of using IV drips for beauty is that, besides delivering skin-boosting nutrients in larger amounts and more quickly than any other method, the results are pretty immediate. "You see results really fast—within 24 hours your skin looks amazing," says Dr. Schwartz. "People do it regularly—some do it every week. Lots of actors and actresses will do an IV for their skin before an event because they look so much better."
They're definitely making their way out of hospitals and into the world of wellness. "I don't think it's just a fad—it's a medical, conventional way of reaching your internal organs to produce external results," she adds. "We're refining it and it's becoming a regular tool box of prevention, health, and beauty." So don't be surprised if on your next beauty treatment menu you see the option of getting injected with skin-enhancing goodness. Just make sure it’s by a nurse or a similarly officially trained medical pro.
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