I Got Botox, Hyaluronic Acid, and My Own Blood Stamped Into My Face For "Glass Skin"

Say hello to the vampire facial's more advanced cousin: microinfusion, a procedure that uses tiny, hollow needles to deliver potent ingredients directly into your skin. I'll admit, even though I'm pretty much game to offer up my face for any and all of the latest beauty treatments on the market, the idea of pricking myself with needles during a facial sounded a bit ominous — even if they are made from 24-karat gold. But when I learned that said needles would be stamping a luxurious combo of Botox, hyaluronic acid filler, and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) from my own blood into my skin, I was intrigued.

The procedure, technically called AquaGold Fine Touch, uses a stamp microinjector with 20 fine needles to deliver small doses of treatment 500 microns deep into your dermis. It sounds a little overwhelming, so to break down the deets of this high-tech facial, I turned to board-certified Upper East Side plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, MD, also the CEO of her own medical-grade skincare line. Keep reading to get her expert take on everything you need to know, plus my personal experience under the needles.

What's the Difference Between Microneedling and Microinfusion?

No doubt you've heard of (or seen the results of) Kim Kardashian's "vampire facial" experience — a face full of blood that could make even the least squeamish person shiver. Let's just start out by clarifying that the microinfusion treatment does not leave you in the same state. That's because there are some distinct differences between microinfusion and straight-up microneedling. "Traditional, old-school microneedling is more aggressive and uses solid needles to make many holes in the skin," Dr. Devgan said. "Then, an active substance, like PRP, is smeared on top. You just have to cross your fingers and hope that it gets absorbed in the right place."

Microinfusion, on the other hand, is a more sophisticated way to deliver those active substances directly into the skin. "I use a sterile single-use device, this little stamper, that has spring-loaded, hollow bore needles," Dr. Devgan explained. "It's like making a thousand little manual injections with a syringe. We're actually putting the active ingredients where they're supposed to go, which allows us both to be more effective and to be less traumatic to the skin."

Aviel Kanter

What's in the Microinfusion Cocktail?

The beauty of the microinfusion facial comes from the potent combination of products tailored to each patient's needs, plus the microneedling method itself, which stimulates the production of collagen. For me, Dr. Devgan decided on a mixture of Botox (botulinum toxin), hyaluronic acid filler, and PRP from my own blood to work antiaging magic. Your dermatologist might choose to forgo the PRP or include certain vitamins like C and A depending on your skin type.

You might be wondering, "Botox? Won't that freeze my face?" Botox serves a different purpose here than when it's injected into the muscles. In the microinfusion facial, stamping Botox into the dermis shrinks the piloerector muscles, the small muscles attached to hair follicles. "If you're getting injectable Botox for, let's say, forehead wrinkles, we're injecting the Botox deeper into the muscle layer of your skin," Dr. Devgan said. "Botox delivered in the traditional way will reduce activity of muscles and give you fewer wrinkles. In this facial, the Botox is more superficial, so it has an effect on the quality of the skin, but you're going to have no difference in movement of your face. It gives you the feeling of porelessness and a beautiful glass skin look."

Hyaluronic acid is the major component of the body's own collagen, and so by applying it directly into the dermis, "you give the skin a juicy, hydrated, plump look, almost like a teenager's skin," Dr. Devgan said. PRP, which is separated from your blood using a centrifuge, is often referred to as "liquid gold" — it's rich in growth factors that ramp up stem cell production, meaning it stimulates the creation and generation of new, youthful skin.

Who Can Get Microinfusion?

Anyone is a candidate for microinfusion, but it definitely helps if you already have an established skincare regimen. Dr. Devgan said this treatment is especially effective for people who aren't a fan of wearing a ton of makeup and prefer to go bare-faced. "This is a great treatment if you're wanting to improve the quality of your skin, the suppleness, hydration, dewiness, fine lines, pores, and pigment," she said. "Interestingly, it's also great for people who are a bit acne prone, because Botox in your dermis decreases the production of sebum, which is oil in the skin. So it can break a breakout cycle."

However, if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you should steer clear of anything with Botox or fillers, and if you have any irritation or broken skin, you'll need to wait until it clears up before getting microinfusion.

Aviel Kanter

What to Expect at Your Microinfusion Appointment

If you're used to getting spa water and plush slippers with your facials, this is not the same experience. While it's not exactly relaxing, if you've chosen the right dermatologist, you'll definitely feel well taken care of and supported. I began by getting a vial of my blood taken (for PRP extraction) and a numbing cream applied to my entire face, including my lips — so I would advise going to your appointment fresh faced, with no products and no makeup on.

While the numbing cream took effect, the medical assistant talked to me about my skincare goals (smooth out fine lines, plumping, adding luster) and ran through what to expect during the treatment. I signed a couple forms, then waited another five minutes to be fully numb. To be honest, it was a pretty low-key numb — nothing like how you feel after a dentist appointment, and certainly no drooling or difficulty drinking.

Dr. Devgan and I chatted about my skin, and I told her about some problem areas I wanted to focus on — namely, the delicate area under my eyes where some fun new wrinkles have started to emerge. Then the stamping began! Truth be told, it would have been fine without the numbing cream ("It's less uncomfortable than grooming your eyebrows," Dr. Devgan said), but better safe than sorry. Dr. Devgan quickly stamped over the entirety of my face until all the ingredients ran out, less than 10 minutes in all. Be prepared for some drippage of the excess serum that you'll need to leave on for a few hours before washing off.

What's the Downtime and Aftercare?

Basically none. I was a little splotchy and red for an hour or so after the treatment, but by the time dinner rolled around, I was back to normal. Dr. Devgan advised that you should wait at least four hours before washing your face with a gentle cleanser (I used Cetaphil) so all the good stuff can finish soaking into your skin. A light, unscented moisturizer is fine before bed (I used Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré), but you should stay away from chemical exfoliants and makeup the same day as the treatment. Remember, you've just poked a hundred tiny holes in your face. However, life can go completely back to normal when you wake up the next day, whereas traditional microneedling can leave you with up to three days of redness.

Aviel Kanter

When Will You See Results, and How Long Will They Last?

Dr. Devgan advised that it takes four to seven days for the full effect to kick in, and collagen induction will happen on the back burner over the course of six to eight weeks. After a few days, my skin definitely felt a bit tighter, and after three weeks, I was pretty much makeup-free 24/7 (aside from a swipe of blush and some mascara). Dr. Devgan also said the results will last around the same time as Botox, which is about three months for most people.

Is It Worth It?

To be totally transparent, after about a week, I didn't see any radical difference in my skin. That said, I already partake in a pretty intense skincare regimen and have relatively problem-free skin (being an editor has its perks!). I don't have a ton of pigmentation, have no acne scarring, and already consider my skin to be on the glowy side — I think the treatment just served to keep up my skin's business as usual. However, now that it's been about three weeks since microinfusion, I'm suddenly noticing added plumpness and brightness in my cheeks and not a pore in sight — the PRP at work! Meaning it's definitely been more of a delayed-gratification process in my case.

From the other accounts I've read and before-and-after photos I've seen, it seems like microinfusion is probably best suited to people who feel their skin is dull or whose skin is prone to congestion and oversize pores. If that rings true for you, give it a try! Microinfusion could be your golden ticket to the glass skin of your dreams.