While the first line of action to fight fine lines and other signs of aging is likely some new skin care products or potent serums and boosters, some aging processes can’t be improved to the level we’d like with topical products alone. Now, women (including, reportedly, Kim Kardashian) are taking a page from True Blood and using their own blood to turn back the clock on aging skin.
While your face will look red, swollen and bloody immediately after the treatment (it can last a few hours to up to three days after), the results (you’ll see glowing skin immediately but it can take a month or so for the full results, which last about three months, to surface) it provides for cellular rejuvenation are unparalleled because it shortens healing time and stimulates collagen. “Athletes have used it to heal sprains, and now dermatologists are using the technique for hair restoration,” says Dr. Cheung.
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.
A vampire facial is a combination of microneedling and PRP. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a concentrate of platelet-rich plasma protein derived from the whole blood after it has been processed by spinning in a centrifuge to remove the red cells. The PRP has a greater concentration of growth factors than the whole blood. And growth factors are what our cells make that can help tissue heal and repair, which means it can help with all sorts of skin issues.
With my face completely numb and my platelet-rich plasma ready to go, I hopped onto the table. From there Rhiannon and I discussed the microneedling I had been bracing for. She explained that she would adjust the pen to penetrate my skin anywhere from .5 mm to 2 mm deep depending on the area of my face. On parts with less fat, like my forehead and around my nose, the pen would go just .5 mm deep. On the rest of my face she would bump it up to 1 mm. Once all of those details were squared away I felt confident to start the treatment. Bring it on!
Once the microneedling was in full swing I was surprised at how little it actually hurt. I’m not going to say it was painless, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. It helped that throughout the 30-minute procedure Rhiannon made sure to check with me to see if I was in too much pain or needed a break. She also told me exactly what she was doing so there were no surprises and kindly warned me when it was time to needle my non-fatty areas because those are the spots that made me flinch.
The procedure has been around for several years, but became more widely available after Kim Kardashian posted a blood-slathered selfie on Instagram in 2013, after filming the procedure for an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians spin-off Kourtney & Kim Take Miami. Earlier this year, Kardashian reflected on the experience in a post on her blog; the text is only available to paid subscribers, but honestly, the bloody photo, headline (“The Skincare Treatment I’ll Never Do Again”) and caption (“So Not Worth It!”) – not to mention the mysterious infection in Albuquerque – just about sums it up.
A. Growth Factors from PRP have many benefits to rejuvenation of the skin including anti-aging, fine lines and wrinkles, blending our skin tone, improving dark circles, overall increase in thickness of the skin, hand rejuvenation, hair restoration, and rebuilding scars. The Facelift refers to injecting platelets versus topical application with lasers or micro-needling.
Key complications are reoperation, implant removal with or without replacement, implant rupture with silicone-filled implants, implant deflation with saline-filled implants, and severe capsular contracture (severe scar tissue around the implant). Other complications include asymmetry, nipple/breast/skin sensation changes, scarring, or wrinkling/rippling. Talk to your doctor about other complications.
Christine is a contributing lifestyle and beauty writer for Zwivel. Her work has been featured in several major Canadian publications (The Huffington Post, La Presse, Clin d'Oeil, etc). Health advocate. Free thinker. HarvardEdx "Leaders of learning" student. The favorite part of my career is the privilege of learning from people who are the best at what they do.
"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."
Going in for a vampire facial, only to see a few drops of blood on the apples of my cheeks, the area surrounding my nostrils, and where the Dermapen abruptly burst a particularly stubborn period pimple on my chin, was disappointing. Not that I’m a super-gory human, but I love me some My Favorite Murder and the idea of going under the pen to come out equally as bloody (and beautiful) as her royal Kim-ness.
As far as risks go, there aren't as many as you might think. In fact, Shamban explained that the only risk you really run is bruising at the time of the venipuncture. Aside from the discomfort of a blood draw and bruising from injection or microneedling, Zeichner says the vampire facial is "extremely safe, as it is your body's own blood being recycled."