With my face completely numb and my platelet-rich plasma ready to go, I hopped onto the table. From there Rhiannon and I discussed the microneedling I had been bracing for. She explained that she would adjust the pen to penetrate my skin anywhere from .5 mm to 2 mm deep depending on the area of my face. On parts with less fat, like my forehead and around my nose, the pen would go just .5 mm deep. On the rest of my face she would bump it up to 1 mm. Once all of those details were squared away I felt confident to start the treatment. Bring it on!
A vampire facial is a combination of microneedling and PRP. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a concentrate of platelet-rich plasma protein derived from the whole blood after it has been processed by spinning in a centrifuge to remove the red cells. The PRP has a greater concentration of growth factors than the whole blood. And growth factors are what our cells make that can help tissue heal and repair, which means it can help with all sorts of skin issues.
The Vampire Facial requires little recovery time. There may be redness and some tenderness on the first day that appears much like sunburn. Occasionally some bruising may occur. The initial redness will subside on the second day, and some patients then notice some swelling and a sandpaper texture to the skin the day after treatment. By the third day, the swelling should diminish. The sandpaper texture to the skin may persist for up to a week.
The efficacy of PRFM is contested. As of March 2011, according to a New York Times report, it is attested by several plastic surgeons who use it but remains unproven by research. Phil Haeck, the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, dismissed the procedure as "creepy", "a gimmick" and as "antiquated as bloodletting". It is marketed as Selphyl, TruPRP, Emcyte, Regen, and Pure Spin.
Chang begins the 90-minute procedure with a deep cleansing of the face and the application of numbing cream. During the numbing process, Chang draws blood from the patient’s arm and then places two vials of blood in a centrifuge for 10 minutes to isolate the PRP. Chang then removes the numbing cream from the patient’s face, applies some PRP to the face and then injects the plasma into the skin with a microneedling machine.
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).
Also known as the Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial (which is not nearly as goth), the procedure can only be performed by a licensed medical professional – a regulation that VIP Spa in Albuquerque was allegedly violating. A “vampire facial” involves drawing blood from the patient, and then using a centrifuge to extract the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). After a round of microdermabrasion or microneedling – procedures which cause tiny injuries to the skin – the plasma is injected or slathered on the patient’s face like a mask.
On the day of my facial I was feeling nervous and a little glamorous as I hopped a train to the Upper East Side and made my way to the med spa for my A-list treatment. After being greeted by Dr.Lorenc’s friendly staff I was taken into a treatment room where a strong numbing cream was applied to my face. Then I was taken to have my skin photographed by a Visia Complexion Analysis machine. The high-tech machine printed out a detailed analysis of my skin’s spots, wrinkles, pores, UV spots, brown spots, red areas, texture, and acne-causing bacteria.
Platelets, Zeichner explains, are rich in growth factors, which essentially act as energy boots for our skin. This helps our skin function optimally, increasing everything from collagen to elastin, while also bringing antioxidant and hydrating properties. "Platelet-rich plasma is now commonly used topically as part of a regular facial, used along with microneedling to enhance penetration into the skin, and is even being injected into the skin in the same manner as dermal fillers," says Zeichner.