In general, you’ll want to increase your water consumption for a day or two prior to the appointment. This helps increase the volume of blood in your body, making the PRP process much easier. You’ll also want to avoid blood thinners, if at all possible, for up to two weeks prior to appointment. These include over-the-counter pain medications and vitamins. Do not stop prescription medication blood thinners without first consulting with the doctor who prescribed them to you.
When I expressed my concern for the blood-free end result, Dr. Peredo and Nurse Shellock explained that part of why Kim K looked so bloody is because, back in 2013 when that particular episode of Kim and Kourtney Take Miami aired, the normal vampire facial procedure was to apply whole blood to the skin while microneedling, where nowadays technology has advanced to using the most regenerating part of blood, the PRP. While both methods use blood drawn on site, the PRP method extracts the platelets from the red blood cells after being put through the centrifuge. And so, I finally understood why my Kim K-inspired expectations weren’t fully met.
The day leading up to my appointment, my best friend continually cringed at the idea of my soon-to-be bloody face while my mom made sure to text me every five minutes asking if this is really something I wanted to go through with, having sensitive skin and all. While their concerns pushed me to the point of advising my editor that I may need to work from home the next day if I look busted AF (since bruising and redness are possible short-term results), I stuck to my appointment and headed to the Upper East Side to arrive early for a treatment that, at the very best, could change the way I view my complexion, and, at the very worst, put me out of commission for a couple of days.
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).
Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, writing about biology and neuroscience, among other science topics. Yasemin has a biomedical engineering bachelors from the University of Connecticut and a science communication graduate certificate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. When she's not writing, she's probably taking photos or sitting upside-down on her couch thinking about thinking and wondering if anyone else is thinking about thinking at the exact same time.
Once the microneedling was in full swing I was surprised at how little it actually hurt. I’m not going to say it was painless, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. It helped that throughout the 30-minute procedure Rhiannon made sure to check with me to see if I was in too much pain or needed a break. She also told me exactly what she was doing so there were no surprises and kindly warned me when it was time to needle my non-fatty areas because those are the spots that made me flinch.
The same process is used in the Vampire Facial. The patient’s own blood is drawn, treated, and then the platelet-rich plasma is injected into the patient’s face. Injections are made into strategic areas to encourage skin healing and renewal through new collagen production and fresh skin cells full of human growth factors. This increase in collagen and growth factors creates a more youthful, plumper, and firmer appearing skin.
Platelets, Zeichner explains, are rich in growth factors, which essentially act as energy boots for our skin. This helps our skin function optimally, increasing everything from collagen to elastin, while also bringing antioxidant and hydrating properties. "Platelet-rich plasma is now commonly used topically as part of a regular facial, used along with microneedling to enhance penetration into the skin, and is even being injected into the skin in the same manner as dermal fillers," says Zeichner.