By now, you might have heard rumblings about a fancy facial called “AquaGold.” Long story short: it’s a highly customized treatment that combines hollow microneedling with a combination of ingredients that your skin would benefit most. What really sets it apart is the fact that you can include neuromodulators, like Botox, into your little needle-driven cocktail. Curious to hear more? We’ve got all the details below.
What is Microneedling?
Let’s go back just a bit to discuss microneedling itself. Essentially, it’s a treatment where very tiny puncture wounds are created in the skin with the purpose of causing microdamage. This, in turn, stimulates collagen and elastin production, creating a more firmed, toned complexion. It also allows for great absorption of ingredients.
Microneedling comes in many forms, including at-home and in-salon versions. The latter almost always involve longer needles for a more improved result. Some come in roller form, but usually, in-salon microneedling is set up as a stamp. This allows for deeper penetration yet and a more controlled puncture.
The AquaGold facial involves a small, handheld microneedling stamper with 14k gold needles, hence the name. As mentioned above, it’s combined with ingredients that are selected according to each person’s specific skin concerns.
“We use everything from vitamins to hyaluronic acid to peptides and growth factors,” says Dr. David Shafer, a double board-certified plastic surgeon who helped develop the treatment himself. “The ingredients are mixed in the device and then the treatment is performed. The microneedles create a microchannel of the ingredients to penetrate the deeper skin layers. It’s a gentle treatment with a tapping motion and not aggressive or traumatizing to the skin.”
AquaGold: A Microneedling Treatment Gone Wild
So, what makes AquaGold so special compared to other microneedling treatments? There are a few key factors.
The Needles Are Hollow
In standard microneedling, ingredients rely on passive diffusion to get into the skin. AquaGold’s hollow needles provide more precision and improved delivery.
“During an AquaGold treatment, substances flow by the force of gravity down these hollow needles where the substance is allowed to leave the needle via a spiral around the whole circumference,” says Dr. Jessica Wright, a board-certified general surgeon and the CEO of Rejuvenate Austin. “Therefore, the targeted substance is deposited at the tip of the needle and down the whole length. You are able to treat most of the dermis with these substances.”
It’s Way More Customizable
“The device allows the practitioner to mix solutions for delivery into the skin. Almost any product that has a low viscosity – similar to the consistency of water or a serum – will work,” says Dr. Shafer. “One of the most exciting ingredients we are using are customized peptide solutions,” says Dr. Shafer. “Another great ingredient with Aquagold is Botox, which is administered in microBotox doses and has positive effects on the oil and sweat glands, giving the skin a nice glow.”
Other ingredient examples include antioxidants, stem cells, specific pharmaceuticals, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and beyond. Dr. Wright says that many of the “cocktails” they create have some overlap—for example, many include hyaluronic acid to help plump skin. Still, it’s a special concoction for each person who visits the office.
What it Feels Like to Get an AquaGold Facial
Good news: pain is minimal! Before your facial, a numbing cream is applied so you don’t feel a thing, and then the microneedling process takes about 35 minutes.
“The device is stamped with significant overlap onto the skin, and multiple passes are performed on problem areas,” says Dr. Wright. “There is very little bleeding if any and the skin is red at the end, but quickly looks normal within a few hours.”
Afterward, you’re given post-care serums and should steer clear of makeup for about 18 hours.
When You Can Expect to See Results+ Cost
Depending on the ingredients used, you can expect to see results as soon as you leave the office – usually a plumping effect. Your skin will probably be pretty red for the first few hours afterward, and this light redness can last up to a week. In the weeks that follow, your skin will continue looking and feeling better. Dr. Shafer says most patients like to spread their treatments out quarterly.
The cost also depends on the ingredients used. Typically, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1000, with ingredients like PRP and microBotox making your treatment fall on the more expensive side. Some places will reduce the cost if you buy as a set of three or four. Not exactly cheap, but with the success, this facial has found around the world it might just be worth the big bucks.