In laymen's terms: It's a facial that essentially uses, "your own blood to help promote the healthy activity of your skin cells," says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Our blood is comprised of red blood cells and serum, which contain our white blood cells and platelets.
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.
The basic PRP treatment has been used for almost 20 years to accelerate the healing of wounds and burnt skin, and help athletes - including, reportedly, tennis ace Rafael Nadal - recover from injury. But it was when Dr Charles Runels from Alabama trademarked the name "Vampire Facelift" in 2010, during the craze for the Vampire Diaries and Twilight Saga, that the procedure became attractive for A-listers.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers (like Juvederm and Restylane) lift the skin away from the bone to restore youthful volume and shape. But HA fillers can cause problems near the eye. Also, the injector of HA fillers can chase a wrinkle and create a shape that looks foreign to the person's face or even foreign to this planet. The HA fillers do little to improve skin tone and texture.
The deal is this: Blood is drawn, usually from the client’s arm, then placed in a centrifuge in order to separate the plasma and the platelets from red blood cells. The resulting liquid is called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. The plasma contains protein and other nutrients that are supposed to help stimulate skin cell growth and collagen. Then that material is either applied topically or injected into the face using microneedling techniques, which essentially involves puncturing the skin many times with super-tiny needles. The theory is that the holes help the growth factors and other nutrients get into deeper layers of the skin.
First, the injector (1) uses HA fillers to create a beautiful shape. (2) Then, the physician isolates growth factors from the patient’s blood. (3) When these growth factors enter the face (injected by the physician), then muti-potent stem cells become activated to grow new tissue. This new tissue includes new collagen, new fatty tissue (for smoothness), and new blood vessels (for a healthy glow).
Watch and wait: Growth factors contained in the plasma stimulate the release of the skin’s stem cells. The skin is being tricked into believing that it has been injured and must heal itself with new, fresh tissue. This somewhat sneaky process allows the skin to create new collagen, new blood vessels, and new cells. The results will not be immediate, so while you patiently wait a few weeks and even a few months, your skin will begin to transform itself.
As a result, skin spas and dermatologist offices like Skinfluence have seen more requests for PRP facials than ever before. Dr. Peredo explained that while the skin tightens after just one vampire facial, the more frequently you undergo the Dermapen (as in, once a month), the better your results will be. In other words, if you want a quick mini face-lift that leaves your skin looking refreshed and refined, drop $800 and give it a go. But, if you’re looking for more noticeable results in terms of fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, and pore size, get ready to dedicate a bit more time to your overall transformation—not to mention a pretty chunk of change.
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Those who want to treat fine lines and slight sagging on the lower part of the face (like the chin) and to treat laxity in the décolleté area, as well as cleavage crepiness. It can also be used to treat acne scars and divots, cellulite, and even hair loss. Crow’s feet around the eye area can also be treated. “Selphyl is unique and distinct – it’s the patient’s own regenerative potential in their blood re-injected back into the skin,” says Dr. Pearlman. “People who seek this [procedure] don’t want anything foreign injected [into their face] at all.” If you have any type of bleeding disorder or clotting problem, or if your platelets are low (thrombocytopenia), you may not be a candidate for this treatment.
Many people coming to our practice choose the Vampire Facelift® because it’s a non-surgical procedure. The term “facelift” when used in the context of the “Vampire Facelift®” describes how volume placed artistically and strategically under the skin can “lift” the skin away from the bony structure creating a more youthful appearance. As people get older, the fat under the skin decreases making the person look more hollow.
"While it has become incredibly popular and can yield wonderful results, it is not necessarily the miracle treatment some advertise it as," Hah said. "That being said, PRP has been used for last two decades to help treat musculoskeletal pain and regenerate cells; it is not a new “fad” treatment. In fact, studies have shown that PRP effectively promotes tissue remodeling in aging skin."
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 procedure would be done by Beverly Hills surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken and not an actual vampire, so I knew I would be in good hands. Dr. Moelleken says that the treatment has become more popular in recent years especially with patients who are looking into more natural ways of rejuvenating their face or body, without using Botox or fillers. It is also used for hair loss.