After that, it was time for Dr.Lorenc to take a small amount of blood from my arm. When I talk with anyone about the procedure this is the step that makes them squirm the most. It was so quick and painless, I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. Once my blood was drawn it was spun in a centrifuge at a fast rate to separate the highly concentrated platelets from the red cells. While I waited for the centrifuge to work its magic I chatted with Rhiannon about the benefits of this procedure.
There are several prescription injections that are FDA-approved for temporarily improving wrinkles or padding the face to look younger. Some of the better-known names include Botox, Restylane and Juvederm, but there are lots of others. Sclafani and Katz say the reasons to use platelet-rich plasma instead of other injections is that the plasma is "natural" and doesn't carry the risk of allergy or rejection—because it's your own blood.
Not only do you feel it during the procedure and see it almost immediately after, but it has been five weeks since I received the facial and my skin has gotten more compliments in that short time than it has during my entire 27 years on earth. I used to suffer from cystic acne and I still get pretty bad breakouts now and again, but ever since the PRP Facial my skin been glowing. It looks smoother, feels firmer, and my acne scars have almost completely faded.
“Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is widely used in regenerative medicine because of its high concentrations of various growth factors and platelets,” says this research study from Japan. Platelets contain more than 30 different growth factors, and according to VampireFacial.com, the official site of Vampire Facials, “These growth factors activate multipotent stem cells already in the skin (tricking them into thinking there’s been an injury and new, younger tissue should [be] generated).”
I have heard so much talk about vampire facials that I decided to look into getting one for myself. While I have yet to do this procedure, I can tell you that it sounds like it will yield good results. I have looked at others have had the procedure done, and am excited with what I have seen. The before and after results of the vampire facial appear to be pretty impressive to me. I guess it sort of intrigues me that my own blood will be used to make my face look better.
I was intrigued after delving into some research on the PRP (platelet-rich plasma) Growth Factor Facial. I actually started to come around to the idea of having tiny needles continuously plunged into my plasma-covered face. You see, the bloody facial featured on Keeping Up with the Kardashians is actually called the “Vampire Facelift™”. It is a trademarked procedure that is different from the one I would be receiving. The Kardashian-endorsed version involves filler injections. I was relieved to learn that Dr.Lorenc’s did not. A little Botox here and there is one thing, but a face full of fillers is another.
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.
The Vampire Facial requires little recovery time. There may be redness and some tenderness on the first day that appears much like sunburn. Occasionally some bruising may occur. The initial redness will subside on the second day, and some patients then notice some swelling and a sandpaper texture to the skin the day after treatment. By the third day, the swelling should diminish. The sandpaper texture to the skin may persist for up to a week.
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I wasn’t able to do my usual skin care regimen for a few days after the facial. I had to use a gentle face wash (I used Sonya Dakar Sensi Face Wash) and a hydrating moisturizer — nothing too thick — so I used Tatcha The Water Cream. My skin was insanely red, even after washing the blood off. However, that didn’t stop me from going to Eataly that night and indulging in some carbs. I deserved it, quite frankly.
PRP is the “magic” behind both the Vampire Facelift and the Vampire Facial. PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma and is a component of your own blood. It contains platelets including both stem cells and growth factors. PRP is obtained by drawing blood and then processing it in a centrifuge to separate these vital growth factors. Because the PRP is “spun out” from the blood, the concentration of the growth factors and stem cells is much higher than what is found in regular blood. Then, the PRP can be utilized in either an injection (for the Vampire Facelift) or as part of a microneedling procedure (for the Vampire Facial).
Another thing you should be prepared for? The way to care for your skin post-treatment. Dr. Peredo advised that since vampire facials drive tiny needles into your skin, creating pathways for PRP to dive deep into your pores for truly transformative results, you want to stay away from anything else that could seep into that sacred space and irritate it. Think: makeup and skin-care acids. Don’t worry though, living in the no-makeup world that we live in, no one will bat an eye, and you’ll be able to return to your favorite cosmetics in two short days. With acids, on the other hand, it’s best to wait a full week. Simple enough.
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.
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.
Most of the people who have opted to try a vampire facial treatment rave about the results. The procedure usually starts by applying a mild numbing agent to the face, and a simple blood draw from your arm. Much like the PRP process for internal joint and muscle injuries, for the vampire facial, your blood is placed in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets in the blood for extraction. While your platelets are being concentrated, your specialist will perform a process called micro-needling on your face. The process involves using a tool to make tiny pricks on your skin to open access for the PRP treatment. When the platelets are ready, they are applied to the face, and the growth factors are called to the site of each skin prick to repair the location with new collagen. The result is a more youthful looking appearance, minimized pores, even tone and complexion and increased elasticity.
That’s why it’s imperative that when you receive treatment (whether medical or for physical changes), you ensure that the needles used are either new or were properly sanitized. Before beginning a procedure, be sure to ask about their sanitizing procedures. Ask if you can watch them open a new needle or sanitize a used one. If they don’t use disposable needles, ask to watch the needle undergo its sanitization, and check that their sanitizer has been recently inspected. This may feel awkward at the time, but a true professional will understand your concern and the risks that are involved.