A "blood facial" or "vampire facial" is a cosmetic procedure during which a doctor draws a couple vials of blood from your arm, centrifuges the blood to separate out the plasma and platelets from the red blood cells, and then adds the platelet-rich plasma back into your face. For extra absorption, the doctor pokes your face all over with a bunch of micro-needles before applying the plasma. Reminds me a little bit of making a Jell-O poke cake.
"The PRP is now highly concentrated with your body’s own natural growth factor proteins, with its regenerative and healing properties," Hah said. "Typically, it is applied to the face after a microneedling treatment has been performed, which creates small channels in the skin so the PRP can penetrate. The mirconeedling creates a stimulus that of turns on your body's natural healing systems. The concentrated growth factors then go to work to regenerate tissue and enhance natural healing processes."
When I arrived at Skinfluence, I was met by Dr. Peredo and her nurse, Joanne Shellock, LPN. As I settled into the dentist-like chair (something I wasn’t totally fond of, given my hatred of the dentist office, though not dentists as a whole), they began giving me the rundown of what was about to happen. As they rolled up my sleeves to check my veins for blood draw, they told me, once again, just how beneficial this treatment can be for women of all ages. They pointed out, though, that at the ripe age of 25, with few wrinkles in sight, I may not see the same jaw-dropping results as my more mature counterparts. Regardless, I was ready to see what this vampire facial was all about.
The process starts with a careful assessment of your medical history and skin concerns. After determining you are a candidate for this treatment, blood is taken similar to a normal laboratory blood draw. This blood is then processed in our COLA certified moderately complex laboratory in a centrifuge that spins down your blood. We separate the blood components, filtering the portion of the blood which is called platelet-rich plasma or PRP. The PRP has a large amount of platelets (cells that help clot your blood when bleeding) and are very rich in growth factors and stem cells. After being activated the PRP is re-injected into the face in conjunction with a hyaluronic acid filler to simulate an injury that will help the body create new blood vessels and blood flow. It will also stimulate collagen production to help improve the texture of the skin.
With incidents like the one at the Albuquerque spa making headlines, it is increasingly clear that there’s a need for more oversight and more standardization in the industry. Each state currently has different rules about how med spas can be run. Often, they don’t require a medical doctor to be on the premises, as long as one is available on call. These spas market themselves like salons but are actually offering potentially life-threatening procedures requiring knowledge of proper infection control practices.
This injection of PRP into the face activates multipotent stem cells and tricks the body into generating new tissue, as it would after an injury. The patient’s system will naturally grow collagen for moisture and a more youthful face, new fatty tissue for smoothness and new blood vessels for a glowing complexion. The procedure was inspired by how your body heals after an injury.
The vampire facial was only supposed to sound scary. Sure, it involves extracting the patient's own blood, isolating the platelet-rich plasma by spinning it in a centrifuge and then re-injecting it into the face. But the results are touted to be rejuvenated, smooth and supple skin, not an HIV or hepatitis scare, as clients of the VIP Spa in Albuquerque, N.M., are now facing.
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.