Why stars are hooking up to health-boosting IVs.

This red carpet season, celebrities have a new way to put a spring in their step: IV treatments that deliver vitamin therapy directly into their veins. Rihanna tweeted the therapy as “the party girl drip,” and hooks up before she hits the town—or after as a detox. IV vitamin therapy supposedly helps rehydrate skin, hair, nails, and gives a healthy glow, all while combating stress and encouraging alertness. Hot mamas Cindy Crawford and Madonna are reported fans as well.

This is not a quickie shot of vitamin B6 at the local MD’s office but an hour-long IV drip where the vitamins directly enter the bloodstream and are 100% absorbed—unlike taking a vitamin pill. “People love it, especially after a bad night,” says Leif Rogers, MD, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.  “Just the fluid itself actually makes you feel better and hydrated, the vitamins give you a kick and you actually get a little buzz from it. Not like you’re wired but more euphoric—it’s odd, but pleasant.” 

Rogers’ custom formulations are based on a patient’s specific needs and include vitamins such as B, C, magnesium, folic acid, and biotin; health profiles include “The Competitor” for an athletic edge, “The Traveler” to prevent jetlag, or the “The Healer” as a post-surgery treatment. Unlike a handful of pills, drip vitamins are not absorbed through the stomach, so the treatment should not make you feel queasy. However, there have been reports of patients actually tasting the vitamins during the hour-long session. The effects should last for weeks and will set you back $300-500 depending on the dose.

Las Vegas “Hangover Specialist” Jason Burke, MD, is bringing the detox benefits to hung over, stressed out gamblers. The anesthesiologist drives his Hangover Heaven Bus, an RV treatment center on wheels, to hotels with the drip ready for sore losers and tired winners.

Philip Battiade, HP is the founder and director of the INFUSIO® European Medical Center in Beverly Hills and a naturopath who has had extensive training in integrative and holistic medicine. At Battiade’s clinic in Frankfurt, Germany, they swear by a multi-vitamin drip with C, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins. According to Battiade, “It’s good for regulation and basically anything that is wrong with you—from recharging electrolytes or pain from a migraine. It’s Grandma’s chicken soup in an IV.”  

But the Hollywood version is used for cosmetic purposes too. “Celebrities are using IV infusions in a few different ways—to recover from a difficult night or for anti-aging. It hydrates the skin and gives you more of a glow along with an energy boost,” according to plastic surgeon Mark Youssef, MD at Younique Cosmetic Surgery in Santa Monica. “We tailor it to our patients’ individual needs. Some have difficulty absorbing many vitamins—especially B12 or C which is a high concentrated antioxidant—and in some cases celebrities are suffering from poor diets due to weight loss.” 

Of course the drip is not a perfect beauty therapy. “It will make you look and feel good and fill the skin with all the nutrients but will not give you a facelift or get rid of all your wrinkles,” says Battiade.

Downsides to the drip? There is a minimal risk of infection, “If your immune system is too weak, sometimes puncturing veins can create an infection or leave a large bruise,” warns Youssef. To avoid unsightly marks, the doctor recommends staying hydrated and getting your drip a day or two before an important event, just so no one gets the wrong idea about your needle use. 

Sources:

  1. Leif Rogers, MD
  2. Hangover Heaven
  3. Infusio European Medical Center
  4. Younique Cosmetic Surgery