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.
A. Using blood plasma to heal and regenerate the body originated from Orthopedics (FDA approved) and has numerous studies substantiating the regeneration and healing of injuries and tissue repair. PRP evolved from there for the purpose of skin rejuvenation. PRP means PLATELET RICH PLASMA, where the platelet concentration is generally considered to be double the normal concentration in whole blood. Red blood cells (RBC) and white blood cells (WBC) should be removed as much as possible from a PRP preparation. Some kits that tout high platelet concentrations often do so at the expense of having contaminating RBCs or WBCs – these cells are known to have inflammatory and catabolic effects – just the opposite of the desired effect. If the PRP in the syringe has any tinge of pink or red, it is mostly likely that you are injecting a preparation that has RBC contamination. The ideal PRP solution will be a golden, straw-like color.
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."