Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
When someone sends you an email offering vitamin injections to the face, you say yes. At least, I do. Last week I got the opportunity to try out Vitaglow, a form of mesotherapy developed by Dr. Shirley Madhere, a holistic plastic surgeon in NYC. Originally created by French physician Michel Pistor in the 1950s, mesotherapy involves a series of painless micro-injections into the middle layer (or mesoderm) of your skin. While it's mainly used for facial skin care, mesotherapy has also been applied to the body to target very small areas of cellulite — a kind of liposuction, without the liposuction. While I wasn't ready to let Dr. Madhere take a stab at my butt, I was curious about her Vitaglow treatment. Painless needles? Twenty minutes? A face-full of multivitamins and antioxidants that will make me glow like a Disney princess? Yeah, twist my arm. I'll do it for journalism, or something.
I popped into Dr. Madhere's office on a chilly afternoon, and she walked me through the procedure. After learning the procedure firsthand in France, she's performed this on models before Fashion Week and celebrities looking for a red-carpet glow, as well as regular schlubs like me. We talked about my particular skin concerns — sensitivity, congested pores, irritation by virtually any new product I try — and she whipped up a "cocktail" just for my skin. I'll admit, I was hesitant. Though she explained that of the thousands of Vitaglow treatments she's done, there had been virtually no complications, I was ready to be the exception. I've walked out of every facial I've ever had looking like I fell down a flight of stairs face-first. But, for the sake of potential glowy-ness, I persevered.
Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
Twenty minutes later, I was back on the subway, completely untraumatized. When she said painless, she meant it. The maneuver of Dr. Madhere's angled needle was so light and quick that it didn't actually feel like it was penetrating my skin. It was as if someone was running a pin over my skin, barely poking at it. After one pass over my face, my skin was wet with my cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants. Dr. Madhere let it dry and then did one more pass with the needle. No itching. No stinging. Nothing. To finish up, she whipped up a soothing turmeric-based mask and let it sit on my face for five minutes. Though it didn't feel like there was anything to soothe, I still sat up to face the mirror, fully expecting to see a blotchy, red face. Nope. Not a mark in sight. I left the office with strict instructions not to touch my face for at least nine hours. Honestly, of the entire process, this was the hardest part.
When I swanned into work the next day, no one dropped their jaws and proposed marriage to my glowing angel face. The immediate results were extremely subtle — as expected. But, while everyone else talked to me as if I was not a Disney princess, I spent ages in the bathroom gazing into my pores. They were smaller. Seriously. As our own beauty team has taught me, one should never believe a treatment can actually shrink your pores, but I'm calling you to the mat, beauty gals! I realize this was likely an effect of my skin cells being plumped like teeny tiny pillows by Dr. Madhere's needle, but this was the best I've ever seen my skin up-close. Not only did the more minimizing effect create smoother-looking skin, but somehow they looked as if all the gunk had been pulled out of them. Was this the Vitaglow cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants acting as tiny miners in my face overnight? That's the only explanation I can reasonably come up with. Tiny miners in my face. It wasn't an over-the-top skin miracle, but it was so great I felt confident to walk around without my usual BB cream for a few days. Maybe others didn't register my Disney princess-ness, but in my mirror I WAS ARIEL, DAMMIT.
For the big-time results, mesotherapy is not a one-stop shop. While it promises a Botox-like effect (and manual collagen stimulation simply as a side-effect of having a needle poke at your collagen-producing mesoderm layer), that only comes after a series of these procedures. For those who don't like the idea of scary facial fillers and a creepy frozen face, mesotherapy is a great option. It's not a quick fix, but if you're patient (and willing to invest), you can apparently get the same results with safety — and without toxins.
So, should you try mesotherapy? Maybe. I might give it another go before my next big event, like my wedding to Prince Eric. While one session might not change my skin entirely, the subtle effects, plus the confidence that comes with pore perfection might make this the dream treatment for tricky-skinned ladies and needle-phobes alike.