While your face will look red, swollen and bloody immediately after the treatment (it can last a few hours to up to three days after), the results (you’ll see glowing skin immediately but it can take a month or so for the full results, which last about three months, to surface) it provides for cellular rejuvenation are unparalleled because it shortens healing time and stimulates collagen. “Athletes have used it to heal sprains, and now dermatologists are using the technique for hair restoration,” says Dr. Cheung.
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“In medispas, you can have untrained people doing procedures without proper supervision in unsafe settings,” explained Dr. Michael McGuire, communications chair of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, to Prevention. There was the Pennsylvania woman in 2001 who went to a medical spa for laser hair removal and ended up with second-degree burns, and in 2004, a college student died from brain damage caused by a numbing gel applied at a medical spa in North Carolina. Other horror stories involve infections from tattoo removal services, counterfeit Botox, and dangerous allergic reactions from microdermabrasion.
At this point, you’ve probably seen photos and videos circulating on Instagram and Snapchat showcasing blood-splattered selfies, all taken in the name of beauty. What sounds (and looks) like an absolute nightmare is actually one of the industry’s most-requested treatments: the vampire facial. And, as with many seemingly crazy beauty habits and trends, we have the Kardashians to thank for it.
An Albuquerque, New Mexico, spa was served with a cease-and-desist letter and was forced to close this month because it may have exposed a client to an infection. The culprit? “Vampire facials,” a trendy skin care treatment that involves drawing blood from a client’s body, placing it in a centrifuge, then reapplying it to the face, supposedly to promote cell renewal.
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The incisions are generally made in front of your ears, along the temple and continues around and behind the ear. This is to minimize noticeable scaring. After the operation is completed, small tubes will be inserted beneath the skin to drain away fluid that might otherwise accumulate. There is generally very little discomfort after the facelift surgery.
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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 first step of the Vampire Facelift Treatment is defining the treatment area. This typically consists of the cheeks, under the eyes, or another area of the face that the patient wants to augment. Similar PRP therapy procedures such as the Vampire Breast Lift, Vampire Facial, and Vampire Hair Growth are used for treating other areas of the face, hairline, and breasts.
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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."