If you haven't heard of the PRP facial, that's probably because it's more commonly called a vampire facial. What is a vampire facial? The name doesn't mean it's administered by vampires. (Sadly, it's not even administered by werewolves.) Below, we attempt to answer the most frequently asked vampire facial questions, with some help from two PRP-facial providers: Dr. Soroosh Mashayekh of Irvine Wellness and Cosmetic Clinic and Dr. Tali Arviv of Arviv Medical Aesthetics.
"The PRP is now highly concentrated with your body’s own natural growth factor proteins, with its regenerative and healing properties," Hah said. "Typically, it is applied to the face after a microneedling treatment has been performed, which creates small channels in the skin so the PRP can penetrate. The mirconeedling creates a stimulus that of turns on your body's natural healing systems. The concentrated growth factors then go to work to regenerate tissue and enhance natural healing processes."
A. Growth Factors from PRP have many benefits to rejuvenation of the skin including anti-aging, fine lines and wrinkles, blending our skin tone, improving dark circles, overall increase in thickness of the skin, hand rejuvenation, hair restoration, and rebuilding scars. The Facelift refers to injecting platelets versus topical application with lasers or micro-needling.
After using injectable fillers to achieve a more youthful appearance, your injector will draw your blood. Typically, we’ll only need to draw around 2 teaspoons. Your blood will be run through a centrifuge to separate and isolate platelet rich plasma, which is also known as growth factors. These specific “growth factors” have been identified to help heal damaged tissue. These growth factors have been known to work like magic to cause increased collagen and improved blood flow to the tissue.
Vampire facials could be an alternative for people concerned about the potentially harmful ingredients in most cosmetic products that promise the same results. The average price for a complete vampire facial treatment, which is usually comprised of 3 treatments over the course of a year, is anywhere from $1,500-1,700. The procedure may be pricey for some, but when you consider the risks and cost points of other procedures like face-lift surgery and chemical facial treatments, vampire facials may be the treatment that’s worth your while.
The Vampire Facelift® is actually not a surgical facelift at all, but rather a type of skin treatment using the body’s own natural healing and growth factors that are derived from your own blood (hence the name The Vampire Facelift®), combined with a hyaluronic acid dermal filler. The procedure is a near painless series of injections into strategic areas of the face to reduce wrinkles, add youthful volume, and improve the quality of your skin.
Step 3 is taking the isolated PRP created from the previous step and injecting it into strategic areas. Using a very small needle, you will be injected with your own growth factors in a particular way. These growth factors then activate multi-potent stem cells already in the skin, tricking them into “thinking” there’s been an injury and then generate newer, and younger tissue.
"[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."
The vampire facial was only supposed to sound scary. Sure, it involves extracting the patient's own blood, isolating the platelet-rich plasma by spinning it in a centrifuge and then re-injecting it into the face. But the results are touted to be rejuvenated, smooth and supple skin, not an HIV or hepatitis scare, as clients of the VIP Spa in Albuquerque, N.M., are now facing.
The New Mexico Department of Health announced this week that that a client of VIP Spa developed an undisclosed infection that may have come from having a vampire facial treatment done at the spa. The organization is urging people who got any "injection related service, including a vampire facial," to get tested for hepatitis B and C along with HIV. (The clinic has been shut down, BTW.)
The efficacy of PRFM is contested. As of March 2011, according to a New York Times report, it is attested by several plastic surgeons who use it but remains unproven by research. Phil Haeck, the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, dismissed the procedure as "creepy", "a gimmick" and as "antiquated as bloodletting". It is marketed as Selphyl, TruPRP, Emcyte, Regen, and Pure Spin.
If women knew how much a face lift costs, a real surgical face lift that is, they would never even think twice about getting the vampire facial. Apart from being less expensive, it is really comfortable to go through. It’s a bit weird in the beginning, you feel sort of awkward getting your own blood injected into your face, or the areas which you treat. But once you accept it and get used to it, it’s amazing. It’s so modern and it really gives it all that it can. My cheeks now don’t sag that much. They don’t look like old bags of tea anymore, but are more plump now. The rest of my face has changed a bit as well, it’s not that dry anymore, and the skin just looks and feels different. I would describe it as a non surgical facelift, with great benefits, less expenses, less pain, less recovery.
As far as risks go, there aren't as many as you might think. In fact, Shamban explained that the only risk you really run is bruising at the time of the venipuncture. Aside from the discomfort of a blood draw and bruising from injection or microneedling, Zeichner says the vampire facial is "extremely safe, as it is your body's own blood being recycled."