As the line between beauty treatments and medical care continues to blur, a health and beauty regimen once associated with celebrities and jet setters has appeared in Bakersfield.
In at least two locations.
On the list of services? Intravenous drips — yes, you heard right — IV's with a recipe for every need, including drips for skin care, one for weight loss known as the “Skinny Drip,” a mixture for when you’re feeling sick, and one designed for when you’re suffering from a gnarly hangover.
Jenné Barrow, the proprietor of Skin Gym at Rejuvenation, 1905 23rd St. in downtown Bakersfield — and a self-described "serial entrepreneur" — has been in the skin care business for 30 years.
"It's like a juice cleanse without the pain and suffering," Barrow said of the drips.
Because it goes directly to the circulatory system, IV drip therapy is faster and more effective than oral supplements, she said. Nutrients, vitamins, and medications are administered directly to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system.
"Your body gets 100 percent absorption," Barrow said. "The benefits are amazing."
Bakersfield resident Mary Wiswall said she knew similar services were available in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other large cities. But the San Joaquin Valley?
"Finding this in Bakersfield is a good thing," she said on a recent visit to the DripLab, where she chose the Beauty Drip, regularly priced at $249.
"You don't have to go out of town searching for this anymore," she said.
Wiswall's boyfriend, who came with her but remained in the lobby during the procedure, joked that he doesn't need the Beauty Drip.
"They take it out of me and give it to others," he said grinning.
Vegas was once the epicenter for IV therapy. The IV clinic known as "Hangover Heaven" trolled the strip in a bus picking up partiers who were hurting. And they did great business.
But now the trend is hitting middle America.
Licensed medical professionals are required in order to offer this service.
The IV's at DripLab are administered by Darci Lopez, a registered nurse with years of experience in cardiac surgery, intensive care units, burn care and emergency rooms. She's got serious chops, but while her career in medicine remains her priority, she said she loves her work at the DripLab because she considers it wellness care — it makes people happy, makes them feel better and makes them feel beautiful.
"This is fun," she said as she prepared another drip. "Seeing people smiling."
And Lopez is not the only level of medical care and oversight at the medspa.
All clients must consult — usually via long-distance video conference — with the facility's medical director, Dr. Abe Malkin of Brentwood.
"It's very professional," Wiswall said. "You have to fill out a medical questionnaire."
Then, after a conversation with Malkin, the medical director must clear clients for drips before they are administered.
Beautologie Southwest Medspa in southwest Bakersfield also offers IV drips for clients. And like the DripLab, Beautologie touts benefits such as increased energy, detox, hangover relief and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.
Of course, there are risks inherent in any IV therapy — from mild pain to more serious complications — whether it's done in a hospital or a medispa.
Cheryl Taylor has been getting monthly skin treatments at the location's Club Skin Gym for nearly a year. But last weekend she decided to try an IV drip.
She's not expecting a miracle, but it would be nice.
"I did the Skinny Drip," she said with a smile. "We'll see what happens."