"[It's] a broad term that was originally coined by a provider in Southern California—it doesn’t really describe a specific treatment," Wilbur Hah from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery told Newsweek. "Generally speaking, the term “vampire facial” is used to describe platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, with most physicians performing a microneedling treatment with PRP to both trigger the body’s natural healing response and provide the skin with regenerative growth factors."
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The Vampire Facial, on the other hand, is a type of skin resurfacing treatment (such as microneedling or microdermabrasion) which is followed by microneedling of PRP into the skin. The benefit of this method of treatment is that the tiny needles used with microneedling “trick” your body into thinking there is an injury, so new collagen is produced. Though the tiny needles may make the skin look red or irritated for a short while after treatment, it is well known to look much worse than it feels! The results are extremely beneficial for those with fine lines or those who have acne scars or other imperfections they would like to improve.
Earlier this week, the New Mexico Department of Health announced the closure of a spa in Albuquerque after one of their clients reportedly developed an “unspecified infection” sometime after getting a “vampire facial.” During an inspection of the facility on Friday morning, health department officials became concerned about the way the spa was managing the storage, handling and disposal of needles.
PRP used for vampire facials contain about 19 growth factors that tone and smooth the skin while reversing the signs of aging. The procedure has been approved for use and requires a medical professional to draw the blood for the treatment. There have been no reported side-effects from the treatment, and most people report the pain from the micro-needling and blood draw to be minimal.
Christine is a contributing lifestyle and beauty writer for Zwivel. Her work has been featured in several major Canadian publications (The Huffington Post, La Presse, Clin d'Oeil, etc). Health advocate. Free thinker. HarvardEdx "Leaders of learning" student. The favorite part of my career is the privilege of learning from people who are the best at what they do.
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.
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."