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"Maybe there's still some blood in it," suggests Sclafani, who's done extensive research on the competing $1,500 Selphyl system. He also injects platelet-rich plasma for facial rejuvenation, but without mixing in the added fillers. It's a simple injection, much like getting Botox or Restalyne. "No needle is fun, but most people are able to do this without any anesthesia," he says. "They shouldn't scream in pain like that."
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.
I was nervous to look in the mirror during and after the procedure because I was expecting my face to be covered in blood à la Kimmy K. Each time I snuck a peek I saw that the bleeding was minimal and it seemed to stop whenever fresh plasma was applied. Rhiannon explained that she tries to use all of the patient’s nutrient-rich plasma during the procedure to ensure the best results. By the end of the treatment, she had made many sweeps across the different sections of my face with the pen and my skin was happy to soak up all the plasma it could get.
Ever heard of the Platelet-Rich Plasma Facial? If not, maybe you’ve heard of its more Instagrammable moniker “The Vampire Facial.” And we know, we’re STDcheck, so you might be thinking this has to do with Twilight and erotic fan fiction, but it doesn’t. This treatment first came to public light in 2013 when Kim K famously posted a bloody selfie after undergoing the procedure. Since then, celebrities, bloggers, and civilians alike have praised the good name of the Vampire Facial, citing it as the source of their dewy skin and radiant complexion. But recently, the publicity surrounding this mythologically-named derma treatment has turned negative after a spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico urged its Vampire Facial patrons to get tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
While the first line of action to fight fine lines and other signs of aging is likely some new skin care products or potent serums and boosters, some aging processes can’t be improved to the level we’d like with topical products alone. Now, women (including, reportedly, Kim Kardashian) are taking a page from True Blood and using their own blood to turn back the clock on aging skin.
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.