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.
"Maybe there's still some blood in it," suggests Sclafani, who's done extensive research on the competing $1,500 Selphyl system. He also injects platelet-rich plasma for facial rejuvenation, but without mixing in the added fillers. It's a simple injection, much like getting Botox or Restalyne. "No needle is fun, but most people are able to do this without any anesthesia," he says. "They shouldn't scream in pain like that."
This is so funny, because my friends used to tease me my entire life that I looked like a vampire because of my under eye circles. They were bad. I am pale, and they were so dark, I was beginning to think I was related to Dracula. My friend said that I should go do a Vampire face-lift, and I thought it was some kind of a joke, obviously. But she was really serious. Then I read about it, and it’s actually like a mini face lift, that is supposed to rejuvenate your face and improve the areas you are not happy with, by using your own blood. That didn’t sound bad to me, and after all the years of teasing I decide to try out the platelet rich plasma therapy, that was so raved about. I have to say that the results weren’t immediate. But after a few months my dark circles became lighter and lighter…I still kept my nickname, but now it’s funny to me, since I know it’s the Vampire therapy that actually helps me.
The main differentiator of the Vampire Facial is that instead of injecting the patient’s PRP in to the face, you use microneedling device, such as the Dermapen, to create microscopic pinpoint injuries to the face and then apply the PRP directly onto the surface of the skin. This process was famously used on reality TV star Kim Kardashian and went viral in 2014.
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!
I was intrigued after delving into some research on the PRP (platelet-rich plasma) Growth Factor Facial. I actually started to come around to the idea of having tiny needles continuously plunged into my plasma-covered face. You see, the bloody facial featured on Keeping Up with the Kardashians is actually called the “Vampire Facelift™”. It is a trademarked procedure that is different from the one I would be receiving. The Kardashian-endorsed version involves filler injections. I was relieved to learn that Dr.Lorenc’s did not. A little Botox here and there is one thing, but a face full of fillers is another.
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.
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.