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Vampire facials aren’t all that new, but you can pretty much narrow down their popularity in the past few years to one woman: Kim Kardashian. In 2013, she Instagrammed a rather shocking photo of her blood-soaked face as a way to promote that night’s episode of Kourtney & Kim Take Miami (RIP), leading to a barrage of news outlets to ask, “Uh, what’s the deal with this weird new skin care thing?”
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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 vampire facial involves injecting part of the patient’s own blood directly into the face. Key to the treatment is platelet-rich plasma (PRP), the yellow-colored portion of blood that remains after red and white blood cells and other components have been removed. PRP helps blood clot and contains proteins that support cell growth. By stimulating collagen production, PRP helps rejuvenate aging skin by giving it more elasticity.
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.