Once the treatment was complete my face was covered in Aquaphor to protect it from the dirt and grime that is NYC and I made my way back onto the subway where I received many sideways glances. It’s a rare thing on a packed train during rush hour to have some personal space, for some reason people didn’t want to sit next to the girl whose blood-speckled face was covered in goo.
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.
But, you know what wasn’t disappointing? The day-three results. While the hours immediately following the hour-long appointment were characterized by an unsightly red, ultra-puffy complexion (which was really just exacerbated by the fact that I have sensitive skin), with the help of an even layer of Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar (the post-treatment product Dr. Peredo told me to use for the next week), by day two it looked like I had a low-key sunburn and day three my skin looked radiant and refreshed.
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?
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Using numbing cream and a very small needle (for almost no pain), the patient’s own growth factors are injected back into her face in a particular way. These growth factors then activate multipotent stem cells already in the skin which is tricking them into “thinking” there’s been an injury and new younger tissue is generated. The multipotent stem cells then develop into new collagen, new blood vessels, and new fatty tissue trying to “repair” the skin that was never injured!
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.