"[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."
When it comes to weird and outrageous skin care, I’m the first to sign up. Not only is testing new products and treatments part of my job as a beauty editor, I truly enjoy it. Skin care is my jam! So, when vampire facials became popular (thanks to Kim Kardashian West), I was immediately intrigued. First of all, I love a spa treatment, but a kind of facial that sounds like something Elvira would get? I would come running as fast as I could. I am a goth at heart, after all. So, when the cosmetic procedure website RealSelf invited me to try a vampire facial, I was more than down to do it. But, it wasn’t until later I realized what a vampire facial would actually entail. My actual blood being procured from my body and going back into my face?! What in the name of Sarah Michelle Gellar did I get myself into?
The good thing about vampire facelift is that it avoids one of the major side effect of facial filler, which is allergic reactions to animal or synthetic components. As mentioned above, due to the fact that the mixture of the selphyl compound is mostly from the patients blood samples, it reduces the probability of such allergy related side effects. In fact, this benefit is one of the reason for vampire face-lift is so popular right now.
The day leading up to my appointment, my best friend continually cringed at the idea of my soon-to-be bloody face while my mom made sure to text me every five minutes asking if this is really something I wanted to go through with, having sensitive skin and all. While their concerns pushed me to the point of advising my editor that I may need to work from home the next day if I look busted AF (since bruising and redness are possible short-term results), I stuck to my appointment and headed to the Upper East Side to arrive early for a treatment that, at the very best, could change the way I view my complexion, and, at the very worst, put me out of commission for a couple of days.
The procedure is relatively simple and performed in the office in under an hour. First, while your skin is numbing topically, we draw your blood and separate your platelets. Then we spread them over the treatment area and use a micro needling device to deliver the platelets deep into your tissues. The micro needling will stimulate the cells that you already have in your skin to make new collagen and elastin while causing tightening and lightening. Meanwhile, the platelets will signal to your natural stem cells to migrate to the treated areas and they will become brand new skin cells.
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.
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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.
A. Think of Selphyl® PRFM as the next generation PRP. The Selphyl® System is designed for the safe and rapid preparation of Platelet-rich Fibrin Matrix (PRFM) from a small sample of blood (only 10cc). Many PRP systems require operator skill, have varying results and have extensive contamination with red blood cells and white blood cells. Selphyl® removes virtually all contaminating cells and is independent of operator technique. PRP is converted to PRFM through a controlled process (mixed w/ calcium chloride in a vial) to form a fibrin matrix scaffold that serves to protect and preserve platelets, thus creating more therapeutic rejuvenation.
Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Amiya Prasad has appeared on Fox News New York performing The Vampire Facelift®, and has made a commentary about the procedure in The New York Post, The Daily News, and Access Hollywood. The procedure has been featured nationally on The Doctors, Dr. Oz, CBS News, the New York Times, ABC’s Nightline and The Huffington Post. Dr. Prasad is recognized as one of the leading doctors of The Vampire Facelift® by his clients, the viewing public, and by The Vampire Facelift® Inventor, Dr. Charles Runels.
If the procedure is carried out properly, the risks are low, except for people with blood-related medical issues, especially those which require blood-thinning medication. The microneedling causes temporary bleeding—hence the name "Vampire facial". Meanwhile, bruising, swelling, redness and pain may persist over the injection site, but these side effects usually disappear within a few days.
Another thing you should be prepared for? The way to care for your skin post-treatment. Dr. Peredo advised that since vampire facials drive tiny needles into your skin, creating pathways for PRP to dive deep into your pores for truly transformative results, you want to stay away from anything else that could seep into that sacred space and irritate it. Think: makeup and skin-care acids. Don’t worry though, living in the no-makeup world that we live in, no one will bat an eye, and you’ll be able to return to your favorite cosmetics in two short days. With acids, on the other hand, it’s best to wait a full week. Simple enough.
Ever since Kim was seen walking into a spa with her BFF Jonathan Cheban to get the snap-worthy procedure, the world of influencers and everyday beauty lovers converged, making way for this crazy facial to be the topic of conversation and consideration IRL. And so I made an appointment to sit down with Dr. Marina Peredo at Skinfluence in New York City to get the 4-1-1 on all things bloody and beautiful.
Vampire facelift is an aesthetic medical treatment that offers a younger looking skin. When providing a patient with the treatment, the certified dermatologist draws the blood of the patient, to create a unique substance, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which is again injected into the aged or wrinkled skin, which has to be treated. The procedure ensures that no harmful side effects and allergies occur, as the filler substance is sourced from the skin of the patient. With this therapy, according to physicians and medical science, the wrinkles and other signs of aging can be cured effectively.
The fun part was scaring my friends with my photos. The not-so-fun part was that I couldn’t wear makeup, which was tough, especially because my skin was still beet red for two days after the procedure. I just wanted to dip my entire head in concealer. I had to stay out of the sun, so when I went on a picnic with my BFF, I made sure to keep my face covered with two parasols. So goth!