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.
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After the fifth day, my skin tone and texture was pretty much back to normal, though I had a new giant zit (named Bertha). I did notice that my face looked brighter and that some sun spots were lighter. The results of the PRP facials are supposed to be really noticeable after multiple sessions, so I’d be curious if my acne scars could really be erased with regular procedures. Dr. Moelleken says a series of three treatments set up a month apart would yield significant results. After that, maintenance treatments every three to six months are recommended.
The same process is used in the Vampire Facial. The patient’s own blood is drawn, treated, and then the platelet-rich plasma is injected into the patient’s face. Injections are made into strategic areas to encourage skin healing and renewal through new collagen production and fresh skin cells full of human growth factors. This increase in collagen and growth factors creates a more youthful, plumper, and firmer appearing skin.
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?”
After an initial consultation appointment, a second visit is required for the actual procedure: Blood is drawn (just like a regular blood test) and then spun in a centrifugation system to separate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from the other blood elements. This is then injected with tiny needles into the superficial layers of the skin (called mesotherapy).
The idea is that this will cause skin to appear younger — and for skin care nerds, this makes the few-hundred-dollar price tag and non-minuscule amount of pain worth it. The prevailing attitude toward skin care these days seem to be, “Even if there haven’t been loads of studies about whether or not this one product will erase all my wrinkles, it still might, and also it’s probably not going to harm me.”
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PRFM has been available on the U.S. market since 2009. It was developed and is marketed by the Aesthetic Factors corporation. While a platelet extraction centrifuge was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 As of March 2011 platelets extracted in this centrifuge have not been cleared or approved by the FDA for facial rejuvenation. Nonetheless, Selphyl has been described as a "FDA approved dermal filler" in YouTube videos and trade publications.
The Vampire Facelift® is actually not a surgical facelift at all, but rather a type of skin treatment using the body’s own natural healing and growth factors that are derived from your own blood (hence the name The Vampire Facelift®), combined with a hyaluronic acid dermal filler. The procedure is a near painless series of injections into strategic areas of the face to reduce wrinkles, add youthful volume, and improve the quality of your skin.
Sclafani's injections are an off-label use of Selphyl, the Aesthetic Factors technology that separates plasma from the blood. Bruce Katz, another New York dermatologist who offers individual injections, uses a similar technology made by the Swiss company Regen Lab. Katz advertises "twilight plasma renewal treatment" on his website. His patients get about 20 injections at once in the face, neck and décolleté, he says.
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.
The procedure is relatively simple and performed in the office in under an hour. First, while your skin is numbing topically, we draw your blood and separate your platelets. Then we spread them over the treatment area and use a micro needling device to deliver the platelets deep into your tissues. The micro needling will stimulate the cells that you already have in your skin to make new collagen and elastin while causing tightening and lightening. Meanwhile, the platelets will signal to your natural stem cells to migrate to the treated areas and they will become brand new skin cells.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including: plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; have trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby); are breast-feeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk).
So, what is it and how does it work, exactly? Don't let the name fool you. In fact, "It's usually done in full light of day," says Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Ava Shamban. In all seriousness, the treatment is a "combination of a microdermabrasion, followed by the application of PRP (platelet-rich plasma)," says Shamban. "The PRP is derived from the serum portion of the blood, which contains platelets. The platelets contain high levels of growth factors, which, when applied to the skin, will stimulate cell turnover."