Do « micro infusion » treatments work?

Hi, Dr. Irwin – What are your thoughts about microinfusion tech such as « Aqua Gold » facials in which micro needles infuse skin with a cocktail mixture of botox, hyaluronic acid and peptides or antioxidants? Apart from a temporary smoothing and minor plumping, do these actually stimulate collagen and reduce the appearance of pores and quell oil production to any extent? I’m in my 50s with combination skin in decent condition (very minimal wrinkling, some volume loss & thinning). And if they do plump, is the effect even across the entire face, or are select areas treated? Would really appreciate some unbiased advice about this, since much of what’s available online appears to be sponsored. Thanks! 🙂

These are such great questions!  Thank you!  Since these treatments are not “medical”, basically this means they don’t have to prove it works, they just have to prove it won’t kill us, or cause significant harm. So there’s not a lot of data here. Here’s is my take on this, and then a bottom line.

Why microdermabrasion based systems (example, Hydrafacial) may be better:

  • Long track record of safety.
  • Good science on what it does to speed up cell turnover, without skin injury.
  • The suction part (like a tiny vacuum cleaner) unclogs pores and reduces comedonal acne
  • Infusions can be done at the same time with many systems.  For example, a glycolic infusion generally will benefit someone with acne.  A hyaluronic acid infusion will help moisturize when dry.
  • Like all systems like this, the effects are temporary unless maintained by excellent home and/or acne care.

Things to be skeptical about with needle based micro infusions.

  • Not much science and not much track record.
  • If the needles are long enough to penetrate more deeply, they cause pain.  How is the operator dealing with this?  If they don’t cause pain, they are very superficial, and possibly not worth the extra money.
  • Disrupting the epidermis (outer layer of skin) with many needles, negatively affects trans epidermal water loss (TEWL).  Even though you may go out that day feeling plumper, much of that is irritation from the needles.  Also, over the next two weeks, you may actually be dryer because your skin can’t retain it’s own natural moisture, due to the tiny holes which are disrupting it.
  • What exactly is being infused?  If tiny holes are being poked in the skin, any chemicals in the solutions are now penetrating past your natural barrier layers and much more likely to cause reactions, or allergies over time.  Ask for the full ingredient list of what is being infused.

Bottom Line:

  1. My vote is use microdermabrasion or Hydrafacial (a cousin of MDA) until.
  2. Here is a good skin care regimen to start with for normal to dry skin.  Focus on the antioxidant, sunscreen and moisturizer, if you are new to this.  See my skin care regimen here.

Hope this helps,

Dr. Brandith Irwin

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