The vampire facial involves injecting part of the patient’s own blood directly into the face. Key to the treatment is platelet-rich plasma (PRP), the yellow-colored portion of blood that remains after red and white blood cells and other components have been removed. PRP helps blood clot and contains proteins that support cell growth. By stimulating collagen production, PRP helps rejuvenate aging skin by giving it more elasticity.
This procedure has garnered a lot of media attention because of its popularity with movie stars and celebrities and its sensational nickname. Patients come to the Advanced Dermatology clinic having heard about this treatment in the media. They are intrigued by its touted ability to refresh skin and erase wrinkles. They also arrive with many questions, muddled facts and misinformation they heard ‘somewhere’ or from ‘someone’.
I had mine done 3 days ago. There is bruising around my mouth and under my left eye and it was far from painless. However, the improvement in my brow and skin above my eyelids was instantaneous. I no longer feel like my face is melting! My eyebrows were right above my eyes and I had a lot of looses skin that came down and covered my eyelids. My brows are now lifted and you can actually see my eyelids! I continue to see improvements every day.
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.
In case you don’t remember high school biology, “Platelets are the cells that circulate within our blood and bind together when they recognize damaged blood vessels,” says Dr. Marlene Williams of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. When the body is wounded, platelets come to the wound site and stick together to create a clot and stop bleeding. They also encourage the growth of new tissues. This new tissue growth is what scientists, doctors, and spas that use Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy are after.
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."