If you haven't heard of the PRP facial, that's probably because it's more commonly called a vampire facial. What is a vampire facial? The name doesn't mean it's administered by vampires. (Sadly, it's not even administered by werewolves.) Below, we attempt to answer the most frequently asked vampire facial questions, with some help from two PRP-facial providers: Dr. Soroosh Mashayekh of Irvine Wellness and Cosmetic Clinic and Dr. Tali Arviv of Arviv Medical Aesthetics.
"[It's] a broad term that was originally coined by a provider in Southern California—it doesn’t really describe a specific treatment," Wilbur Hah from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery told Newsweek. "Generally speaking, the term “vampire facial” is used to describe platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, with most physicians performing a microneedling treatment with PRP to both trigger the body’s natural healing response and provide the skin with regenerative growth factors."
Sclafani is enthusiastic about the injections for certain patients. "It's been terrific," he says. "It's not for everybody," he continues, saying that some patients don't see any difference from the treatment. For those for whom it works, it appears to last a long time. Sometimes patients come back in six to eight months to get further treatments done, Sclafani says.
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Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, writing about biology and neuroscience, among other science topics. Yasemin has a biomedical engineering bachelors from the University of Connecticut and a science communication graduate certificate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. When she's not writing, she's probably taking photos or sitting upside-down on her couch thinking about thinking and wondering if anyone else is thinking about thinking at the exact same time.
After an initial consultation appointment, a second visit is required for the actual procedure: Blood is drawn (just like a regular blood test) and then spun in a centrifugation system to separate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from the other blood elements. This is then injected with tiny needles into the superficial layers of the skin (called mesotherapy).
These platelets, when injected into certain areas of the face, can encourage blood flow, assist with the production of collagen, and activate multipotent stem cells already present in the skin. In time, this procedure will even stimulate the body to produce new skin cells, generating younger tissue and reducing the signs of aging throughout the treated area. This will promote healthy collagen production and restore vitality to the blood vessels and fatty tissues in the neck and face.
Typically, the process includes the initial blood draw, then running the blood through a centrifuge to isolate the platelets. You'll then receive microneedling or microdermabrasion just before your PRPs are slathered across your face. This can be accompanied with or without radio frequency, too. "It sounds gory and mysterious, but in fact, it is central to our evolving understanding of the physiology of the skin and advanced techniques with which to improve the quality of the skin," says Shamban.
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