At this point, you’ve probably seen photos and videos circulating on Instagram and Snapchat showcasing blood-splattered selfies, all taken in the name of beauty. What sounds (and looks) like an absolute nightmare is actually one of the industry’s most-requested treatments: the vampire facial. And, as with many seemingly crazy beauty habits and trends, we have the Kardashians to thank for it.
Most of the people who have opted to try a vampire facial treatment rave about the results. The procedure usually starts by applying a mild numbing agent to the face, and a simple blood draw from your arm. Much like the PRP process for internal joint and muscle injuries, for the vampire facial, your blood is placed in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets in the blood for extraction. While your platelets are being concentrated, your specialist will perform a process called micro-needling on your face. The process involves using a tool to make tiny pricks on your skin to open access for the PRP treatment. When the platelets are ready, they are applied to the face, and the growth factors are called to the site of each skin prick to repair the location with new collagen. The result is a more youthful looking appearance, minimized pores, even tone and complexion and increased elasticity.
The deal is this: Blood is drawn, usually from the client’s arm, then placed in a centrifuge in order to separate the plasma and the platelets from red blood cells. The resulting liquid is called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. The plasma contains protein and other nutrients that are supposed to help stimulate skin cell growth and collagen. Then that material is either applied topically or injected into the face using microneedling techniques, which essentially involves puncturing the skin many times with super-tiny needles. The theory is that the holes help the growth factors and other nutrients get into deeper layers of the skin.
Typically, the process includes the initial blood draw, then running the blood through a centrifuge to isolate the platelets. You'll then receive microneedling or microdermabrasion just before your PRPs are slathered across your face. This can be accompanied with or without radio frequency, too. "It sounds gory and mysterious, but in fact, it is central to our evolving understanding of the physiology of the skin and advanced techniques with which to improve the quality of the skin," says Shamban.