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.
Also known as the Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial (which is not nearly as goth), the procedure can only be performed by a licensed medical professional – a regulation that VIP Spa in Albuquerque was allegedly violating. A “vampire facial” involves drawing blood from the patient, and then using a centrifuge to extract the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). After a round of microdermabrasion or microneedling – procedures which cause tiny injuries to the skin – the plasma is injected or slathered on the patient’s face like a mask.
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.
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.
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?”
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After that, it was time for Dr.Lorenc to take a small amount of blood from my arm. When I talk with anyone about the procedure this is the step that makes them squirm the most. It was so quick and painless, I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. Once my blood was drawn it was spun in a centrifuge at a fast rate to separate the highly concentrated platelets from the red cells. While I waited for the centrifuge to work its magic I chatted with Rhiannon about the benefits of this procedure.
I wasn’t able to do my usual skin care regimen for a few days after the facial. I had to use a gentle face wash (I used Sonya Dakar Sensi Face Wash) and a hydrating moisturizer — nothing too thick — so I used Tatcha The Water Cream. My skin was insanely red, even after washing the blood off. However, that didn’t stop me from going to Eataly that night and indulging in some carbs. I deserved it, quite frankly.
Also known as the Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP Facial), a vampire facial combines microneedling with application of Platelet-Rich Plasma. The procedure begins with drawing blood from the patient and then using a centrifuge to extract the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The patient then undergoes a microneedling treatment. The PRP is then applied to the skin during the treatment for deeper penetration and optimal results.
First and foremost, Kim, as much as we love her (or hate to love her, or whatever), is dramatic AF. At no point during the treatment was I compelled to whimper and cry in pain. Sure, there were moments—most notably, when the Dermapen grazed over the area of my forehead just above my brows leading up to my hairline—where it felt like I was being scalped, but since it was so brief, my pain receptors didn’t even have the chance to trigger tears—or, more surprisingly, blood.
The effects of the procedure improve for 2 to 3 months after the procedure and last for at least 1 to 2 years! Unlike most procedures, the Vampire Facelift (R) offers a way of restoring shape, and improving tone and texture, as well as literally rejuvenating new and younger tissue! 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! The result…younger-appearing skin!
Unlike other facial treatments, the Vampire FaceLift addresses many different signs of aging. Surgical face-lifts often fix sagging skin but do little to help with the loss of structure or natural plumpness. Fillers, on the other hand, can help treat unsightly wrinkles, but because treatment is so targeted it can result in a more visible, less natural effect.
Not only do you feel it during the procedure and see it almost immediately after, but it has been five weeks since I received the facial and my skin has gotten more compliments in that short time than it has during my entire 27 years on earth. I used to suffer from cystic acne and I still get pretty bad breakouts now and again, but ever since the PRP Facial my skin been glowing. It looks smoother, feels firmer, and my acne scars have almost completely faded.
The Selphyl treatment is a gradual process, so don’t worry if you don’t see any immediate results – it can take four weeks for results to become apparent, with improvements seen around the six to 12 week mark. Most people report looking more refreshed and youthful, with a noticeable improvement in skin tone and texture. Overall, the results can last 12+ months.
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.
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.
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.