If getting your skin micro-pricked with finer-than-human-hair, 24-karat-gold needles sounds enticing to you, keep reading. If it doesn't, what if I told you said needles were infused with a scrumptious skin-improving cocktail of vitamin C, glutathione, small-molecule hyaluronic acid filler, and Botox? And—wait for it—there was essentially zero downtime involved afterward. Intrigued? You should be because I just described the single-best skincare treatment I've ever received. And honestly, I think I might be hooked for life.
A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to drive up to Pasadena to check out Facile Dermatology + Boutique's brand-new location. (Prior, there was just one location in West Hollywood, which is actually where I dabbled in lip injections for the first time last January.) Before my visit, I thought a light lip bump (in volume) sounded nice, but as I was driving and inspecting some residual acne scarring and pigmentation in my rearview mirror, a miracle skin treatment sounded equally tempting. Apparently, think and you shall receive.
After arriving at its new boutique (the setup is so chic, you'll immediately want to offer up rent money) and meeting with Lena Metcalfe PA-C (quite truly the sweetest angel of a person you will ever meet), I had changed my tune. While I discussed my skin (explaining my history with acne and my current and future skincare goals while she nodded in acknowledgment and evaluation), Metcalfe asked, "Have you ever heard of microinfusion?" I hadn't, and little did I know, her words would ignite the love affair of a lifetime. (I kid, kind of.)
Fast-forward about one hour, one microinfusion treatment, and yes, a slight lip bump later, and I was walking back out into the hot sunny L.A. air with skin that, while slightly pink, looked and felt practically reborn. Microinfusion, marry me? Of course, I realize I haven't fully explained what microinfusion is. To find out, keep reading. (Trust me, your summer-depleted skin is willing you to.)
But First, What Is It?
Also known as the Aquagold Fine Touch Treatment at the boutique, microinfusion (which runs $650 at Facile) involves using a tiny micro-channeling device to inject a special elixir of strategically blended, skin-enhancing ingredients into the superficial layer of the skin. As Metcalfe explained to me, the device has 20 needles, each of which is finer in width than a strand of human hair and plated in 24-karat gold (so luxe).
"There is no exact recipe or science for the cocktail, but most clinics are blending vitamins, Botox, and filler products," she explained. "At Facile, we create a blend based on your skin needs, but our most popular mixture includes vitamin C, glutathione, a smaller molecule hyaluronic acid filler, and Botox. Once the ingredients are all blended, we gently stamp the tiny needles over the face to deliver the goods, even in the typically hard-to-reach areas like the under-eyes." (I had also told her my perpetual dark circles are the bane of my existence.)
Microinfusion vs. Micro-Needling
While Facile also offers micro-needling (another super-buzzy skin treatment as of late), I ultimately decided to go with the microinfusion options instead. Not only did it feel like a better fit in regard to my sensitive skin type, but I also just didn't feel like putting up with three days of downtime. However, the two treatments are often confused, so I asked Metcalfe is she could set the record straight once and for all.
"The needles in the microinfusion Aquagold device are hollow, which delivers ingredients directly to the skin," she emphasizes. "Plus, they are stamped at a shallower depth into the skin. With micro-needling, however, we focus on stimulating your body's own collagen in the skin by creating deeper channels, or micro injuries, without delivering an ingredient directly."
There's also a difference in downtime. As mentioned, micro-needling can require up to three days, while post-microinfusion, your skin will likely just turn pink (not unlike a sunburn) for about 30 minutes before abating completely.
The Skin Perks
Just as Metcalfe predicted, my skin did get pretty red during and after the treatment (and the treatment itself was completely tolerable sensation- and pain-wise!). However, that redness also disappeared during my commute back to Culver City from Pasadena (roughly 45 minutes), and when I arrived home, my skin (pardon the vanity) looked insanely good—kind of like I had just slept for 24 hours in some tropical oasis. It was dewy, refreshed, bright, clear, and virtually shadow- and pigment-free. Oh my god, I thought to myself. As someone who's often skeptical about many skin treatments and facials, I was completely blown away by not only the results but also the immediacy of the results.
"Microinfusion is a really great treatment option for anyone looking to boost their overall skin appearance quickly," Metcalfe tells me. "I also recommend trying microinfusion if you aren't quite ready for Botox or filler injections in the more traditional sense but want to dip your toes in that world. Since we are placing tiny microdroplets of the products into your skin, there is no risk of 'freezing' your face or overfilling. The effect is very different because it is working at such a superficial micro level of the skin."
Metcalfe describes the results as "glowy" and "filter-like," and honestly, I 100% have to agree. The short-term skin benefits can last anywhere from three to six months thanks to the treatment's powerhouse ingredient lineup: vitamin C (for a flood of brightening antioxidants, glutathione (another brightening and skin-evener Metcalfe calls "the mother of all antioxidants), hyaluronic acid filler (for plumpness and hydration), and Botox (to tighten while reducing redness, oil production, and pore size).
"The long-term benefits," she points out, "will come from the tiny needles stamping into the skin at a 0.6-millimeter depth, which stimulates your own natural collagen production."
According to Metcalfe, you can get a microinfusion as often as once a month, although the majority of her patients come in once every two to three months for their newfound skin boost. As mentioned, there are no side effects aside from the residual pinkness, but she does point out skin might feel a little tighter or drier than normal—nothing a thorough surge of moisturizer and SPF can't solve!
"Post-treatment, I will apply a physical SPF (zinc- or titanium-based) to all treated areas we performed the treatment on, and I recommend patients avoid the sun and continue to apply a non-chemical SPF 30 or higher daily. Patients should also avoid makeup for roughly one day while steering clear of harsh exfoliating devices/products and chemicals to the treated areas."
"Additionally, I do not suggest microinfusion to anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding, as Botox and fillers are not recommended," she warns. "It's important to talk to your provider as some of the antioxidant treatments without botox/filler may be safe."
Metcalfe also explains if there is any kind of skin infection or excessive inflammation, a treatment microinfusion (sadly) might not be the best option until the condition is resolved or settles down. Last but not least, it's likely not the right treatment for somebody who's dealing with a lot of acne scarring or deeper fine lines and wrinkles. "I just think that patient may be underwhelmed by the result and may need a more intensive treatment," she tells me. For someone like me, however, with just a touch of residual acne scarring and pigmentation, the treatment delivered flawless results, and honestly, I couldn't have been happier or had a better experience start to finish.