The idea is that this will cause skin to appear younger — and for skin care nerds, this makes the few-hundred-dollar price tag and non-minuscule amount of pain worth it. The prevailing attitude toward skin care these days seem to be, “Even if there haven’t been loads of studies about whether or not this one product will erase all my wrinkles, it still might, and also it’s probably not going to harm me.”
"While it has become incredibly popular and can yield wonderful results, it is not necessarily the miracle treatment some advertise it as," Hah said. "That being said, PRP has been used for last two decades to help treat musculoskeletal pain and regenerate cells; it is not a new “fad” treatment. In fact, studies have shown that PRP effectively promotes tissue remodeling in aging skin."
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.
Executing the technical aspects of the PRP process so that you get all of the added benefits: PRP is a new technology, but to the extent that it has been studied thus far, we know that the processes used to isolate and concentrate the serum is very important in terms of its effectiveness. We use a system that creates a serum that has 8x the concentration of growth and healing factors found in normal blood. Typical systems used by other practices often get concentrations in the 2-3x range.
After an initial consultation appointment, a second visit is required for the actual procedure: Blood is drawn (just like a regular blood test) and then spun in a centrifugation system to separate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from the other blood elements. This is then injected with tiny needles into the superficial layers of the skin (called mesotherapy).
The procedure would be done by Beverly Hills surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken and not an actual vampire, so I knew I would be in good hands. Dr. Moelleken says that the treatment has become more popular in recent years especially with patients who are looking into more natural ways of rejuvenating their face or body, without using Botox or fillers. It is also used for hair loss.
The procedure has been around for several years, but became more widely available after Kim Kardashian posted a blood-slathered selfie on Instagram in 2013, after filming the procedure for an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians spin-off Kourtney & Kim Take Miami. Earlier this year, Kardashian reflected on the experience in a post on her blog; the text is only available to paid subscribers, but honestly, the bloody photo, headline (“The Skincare Treatment I’ll Never Do Again”) and caption (“So Not Worth It!”) – not to mention the mysterious infection in Albuquerque – just about sums it up.
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Isolating PRP: The drawn blood is placed in a centrifuge for 5 to 10 minutes. This equipment spins the blood at high speed to separate the lighter plasma from the rest of contents of the blood. This isolated platelet rich plasma is “activated” with calcium chloride to begin releasing growth factors that, once injected into the body, will increase collagen production and have other healing effects.
As a result, skin spas and dermatologist offices like Skinfluence have seen more requests for PRP facials than ever before. Dr. Peredo explained that while the skin tightens after just one vampire facial, the more frequently you undergo the Dermapen (as in, once a month), the better your results will be. In other words, if you want a quick mini face-lift that leaves your skin looking refreshed and refined, drop $800 and give it a go. But, if you’re looking for more noticeable results in terms of fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, and pore size, get ready to dedicate a bit more time to your overall transformation—not to mention a pretty chunk of change.
Tell your doctor if you have received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic by injection; take muscle relaxants; take an allergy or cold medicine; take a sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
Do not take BOTOX® Cosmetic if you: are allergic to any of the ingredients in BOTOX® Cosmetic (see Medication Guide for ingredients); had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product such as Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA), or Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA); have a skin infection at the planned injection site.
A "blood facial" or "vampire facial" is a cosmetic procedure during which a doctor draws a couple vials of blood from your arm, centrifuges the blood to separate out the plasma and platelets from the red blood cells, and then adds the platelet-rich plasma back into your face. For extra absorption, the doctor pokes your face all over with a bunch of micro-needles before applying the plasma. Reminds me a little bit of making a Jell-O poke cake.
The facialist can reintroduce this PRP serum into the client's skin in two ways: by direct injection or microneedling. (Many treatments include both methods.) A vibrating microneedling pen opens tiny holes in the skin so that once the plasma is smeared on the face, it penetrates deeply. To minimize discomfort, Dr. Arviv's team preps the client's skin for microneedling with a numbing cream.
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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.
Most likely, says Shamban. Those with "premature wrinkles, high levels of solar damage, or anyone who wants an even tone and fresher appearance to their skin," is an ideal candidate for the procedure, she says. However, Zeichner warns that if you have a history of blood diseases, including clotting or bleeding disorders, you should not seek PRP treatment.