PRPs are one of the latest trends in beauty and skincare because of its ability to stimulate new cellular growth, purportedly improving skin tone and texture, smoothing fine lines and even promoting hair growth. Patients are advised to pop a pain pill or to apply numbing cream to diminish any pain from the initial blood draw, as well as the microneedling method.
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.
With incidents like the one at the Albuquerque spa making headlines, it is increasingly clear that there’s a need for more oversight and more standardization in the industry. Each state currently has different rules about how med spas can be run. Often, they don’t require a medical doctor to be on the premises, as long as one is available on call. These spas market themselves like salons but are actually offering potentially life-threatening procedures requiring knowledge of proper infection control practices.
Your surgeon draws blood from your arm (not your neck, as many a movie vampire has been known to do) and spins it to separate out the plasma, which contains platelets. These are the proteins and growth factors that may stimulate collagen production and thereby promote skin regeneration and rejuvenation. There are several kits available to isolate these growth factors, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Once collected, the PRP is injected back into your face.
The incredible healing power of the blood was discovered in the 1960s when scientists found the hematopoietic stem cells hiding there. Research into the power of these and many other stem cells has made ground-breaking strides in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases ever since. As we learn more about what stem cells can do and how we can use them to treat a wider array of conditions the procedures have most often been up to the task making headway in degenerative and chronic conditions that previously had no other treatment but management and coping. As they grow in popularity, procedures focused on using stem cells and growth factors already present in our bodies have expanded to including cosmetic procedures like hair loss and beauty treatments. The Vampire Facial, also known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial Treatment, surged in popularity when Kim Kardashian braved the procedure on her reality show. The pictures circulating of her sporting a bloody face sparked conversation among beauty influencers everywhere asking is this treatment effective and how does it work?
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.
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.
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