We have long known the important relationship between proper diet and skin health. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and antioxidants culled from nutritious, wholesome foods have a direct bearing on the health and appearance of the skin. Research into bioavailability has shown that there could be a long waiting line for the skin to receive important vitamins and nutrients, even when supplemented with vitamin pills.  IV therapy has been used since the 1970s to deliver vitamins directly into the bloodstream as a way to bypass the digestion system and its subsequent gatekeepers.  Today, IV therapy is a $2 billion business, estimated to reach $10.98 billion by 2027. Here, we will look at IV Therapy, its benefits and its application in the skin care market.

Intravenous (IV) therapy is a treatment where nutrients are delivered directly into the bloodstream.  The body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients is dependent on many factors, such as sodium dependent multivitamin transporters (SMVT) important transmembrane proteins responsible for transportation of vitamins and other essential factors such as biotin, pantothenic acid and lipoic acid. These transporters have a limited amount of ability to transport these important factors, much like a crowded train.  Other factors that affect absorption include the presence of other inhibitors, which can be physiological, biochemical or high molecular weight.

In addition, factors such as poor gut health can affect absorption rates, as well as poor habits such as high alcohol consumption or smoking.  Because IV therapy bypasses the digestive system, it is said to have a higher absorption rate, making it more bioavailable. These treatments sometimes called “vitamin infusions” can be used for a variety of concerns, including asthma, fibromyalgia, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, pain, rehydration after sports activities, to improve skin conditions and even as a hangover cure.

IV therapy is also used to help boost the immune system, restore hormonal balance and aid in the removal of toxins from the body as well as for treating flu symptoms, jet lag, and exercise fatigue. It is provided at hydration bars and lounges, spas, and wellness centers, and some businesses even offer at-home and mobile services. This therapy has come into focus in the media, reportedly touted by celebrities such as Madonna, Adele, Chrissy Teigen, Rihanna and Brad Pitt.

IV Therapy has been around for many years, but came into focus as an alternative health and wellness treatment with the advent of the Myer’s Cocktail.

Named after John Myers, MD, who developed this therapy in the 1970s, this consisted of a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. The solution is bright yellow, and was known colloquially as a “banana bag”, containing  37 mL of  high doses of water-soluble vitamins and minerals and sterile water.  A recent study using the Myer’s Cocktail found that it did help mediate the effects of fibromyalgia.

Today, the process is simple and fast. Customers fill out a health profile form, relax in a recliner, choose from a menu of infusions or “cocktails,” and then receive the mixture of vitamins, herbs, and fluids via an IV line. It takes 45-60 minutes, and the cost ranges from $80 to $400.

According to Dr. Natalya Fazylova, DNP, Co-Owner of ReBalance Integrative Medicine and Anti-Aging Center in NYC, who has a menu of 25 IV Infusions she performs at her facility, the true beauty of this therapy is that it can be customized to suit every client.

In her practice, a treatment consists of a full consultation and skin analysis to determine physiological as well as topical concerns.  This includes a 3D skin analysis which shows several layers of skin, providing information on wrinkle formation and depth, skin dryness, hyperpigmentation and more.  After this, a course of treatment is prescribed to suit the individual client.

“Everything we do is customizable,” says Dr. Fazylova. “It is very rare to have just one problem.  They could have acne plus pigmentation, plus wrinkles.  They could have hormonal imbalances which are triggering menopausal acne.  There are many different variations, but the infusions can be customized for each client’s individual needs.”

Treating the Skin Inside and Out

Factors such as stress, poor diet, hormonal imbalances and other medical conditions as well as environmental factors such as UV light and pollution all affect the appearance and health of the skin.  New research, for example, has found that imbalances in the microbiome of the stomach and digestive system can have significant impact on inflammatory skin disease. It is for this reason that skin care experts believe that the most effective and beneficial skin care treatments need to help work internally and externally to correct imbalances and deficiencies.

IV Therapy provides a unique time to perform facial and body treatments that help to restore the client inside and out.  ReBalance, for example, offers five 60 minute IV Therapy Infusions in conjunction with specific, seaweed-based skin care treatment protocols to address skin care concerns both external.

Seaweed is known for its hydrating and properties, and is one of the richest sources of natural anti-oxidants such as phlorotannins, sulfated polysaccharides, fucosterol and fucoxanthins. They have anti-oxidant properties, scavenge free radicals, are anti-inflammatory, have chelating activity and protect against oxidative stress.  Seaweed also contains essential fatty acids that help maintain our skin’s barrier, and polysaccharides such as Alginic Acid, which help to lock moisture into our skin. It is also known to help increase cell proliferation.  Specific species, such as Laminaria Digitata and Ascophyllum Nodosum, are complete sources of nutrients, containing 42 trace elements and minerals, 18 amino acids, and 12 vitamins.

In skin care, specific seaweeds can be used to create a number of beneficial cosmetic effects including decreasing the appearance of oil, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, exfoliating the skin for a more luminous looking complexion and moisturizing the skin to make it feel and look soft and smooth.

For example, the ReBalance Revita- Glow IV Drip (written about previously in this blog) includes glutathione, a powerful antioxidant found in plants that has been shown to fight against oxidative stress and is used in the Infusion to help detoxify the body and help with hyperpigmentation.  This service replicates the type of treatment many of Hollywood’s top stars get prior to red-carpet events to help get their skin glowing and radiant.  This is combined with Seaweed-based skin care treatment that also contains glutathione, and LED Red Light therapy to help create a luminous, flawless looking complexion.

The Revita-Youth IV Drip contains a rejuvenating IV infusion drip formulated with IV fluids that includes electrolytes, B12 and other B complex vitamins, Vitamin C, and Biotin to help boost collagen, brighten skin  and provide support for healthy skin, hair and nails. This is combined with the a facial that utilizes a fresh, sustainably-harvested seaweed based mask followed by a mineral rich thermal heating mask to tone, deep cleanse, moisturize and tone the appearance of the skin with dramatic results.  This treatment is augmented with LED to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The Revita-Acne Detox IV Drip addresses the free radicals and toxin buildup that can lead to dull looking skin, causing blemishes and acne breakouts. It includes a unique blend of antioxidant rich vitamins and minerals which naturally cleanse your body and removes toxins to give your skin a youthful and rejuvenated appearance and is combined with a deep-cleansing facial that utilizes Seaweed extracts, a synergistic Tea blend, Salicylic and Kojic Acids, Willow Bark, Aloe and Hyaluronic Acid to deep cleanse and purify the skin while it leaves skin with a renewed appearance. This is followed by a LED Blue Light therapy to help calm the appearance of inflammation and redness.

The Revita Flame IV Drip helps to reduce the appearance of inflammation and decrease the redness associated with Rosacea. Packed with Vitamin C and multiple other vitamins, electrolytes, antioxidants and glutathione, this infusion is focused on blocking the damage caused by free radicals. This is combined with the a facial treatment that utilizes antioxidant ingredients including Laminaria Digitata Seaweed extract, micronized Silver, Quercetin, Rutin and Mirabalis Jalapa extracts, to help to calm the appearance of redness and irritation. This is followed by an application of a soothing sheet mask combined with LED Blue Light therapy to help calm the skin, leaving the skin smooth, hydrated, clean and even toned.

The Revita-Slim Body Shaping Therapy is a body treatment helps address the appearance of cellulite by assisting with lymphatic drainage. The RevitaSlim IV Drip contains Vitamin C, Chromium, Carnitine, B Complex vitamins, amino acids and minerals, and is performed in conjunction a refreshing firming body treatment that combines Peppermint Oil with freshly harvested Seaweed to stimulate, rejuvenate and purify your skin. The treatment ends with an application seaweed body cream and a massage to cellulite prone areas with the Seaweed body contour cream, as well as LED treatment to invigorate and tone the skin surface.

Dr. Fazylova uses a 24 gauge catheter, the smallest needle size, and recommends the drips to be done twice a week.  The facial and body treatments can be done in a rotation, depending on the treatment.  For example, an anti-acne facial with extractions, a chemical peel or a IPL can be performed at the beginning of the week, with the next drip treatment including a soothing, anti-acne sheet mask. Or, the IV Infusions can be supplemented with hand massages or masks, depending on the needs of the client.

With a demographic ranging from 18 to 65, Dr. Fazylova reports that once they see the results, they always want to continue the treatments. Going forward, as clients adjust to the changing effects of stress, IV Therapy combined with skin care treatments provides a unique solution to improve overall health, wellness and beauty outside and in.

For additional advanced education on holistic approaches to skin care with Lydia Sarfati and Dr. Fazylova, addressing the internal and external factors affecting skin, go to LydiaSarfati.com for more Tips from the Experts