When I arrived at Skinfluence, I was met by Dr. Peredo and her nurse, Joanne Shellock, LPN. As I settled into the dentist-like chair (something I wasn’t totally fond of, given my hatred of the dentist office, though not dentists as a whole), they began giving me the rundown of what was about to happen. As they rolled up my sleeves to check my veins for blood draw, they told me, once again, just how beneficial this treatment can be for women of all ages. They pointed out, though, that at the ripe age of 25, with few wrinkles in sight, I may not see the same jaw-dropping results as my more mature counterparts. Regardless, I was ready to see what this vampire facial was all about.
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.
The incredible healing power of the blood was discovered in the 1960s when scientists found the hematopoietic stem cells hiding there. Research into the power of these and many other stem cells has made ground-breaking strides in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases ever since. As we learn more about what stem cells can do and how we can use them to treat a wider array of conditions the procedures have most often been up to the task making headway in degenerative and chronic conditions that previously had no other treatment but management and coping. As they grow in popularity, procedures focused on using stem cells and growth factors already present in our bodies have expanded to including cosmetic procedures like hair loss and beauty treatments. The Vampire Facial, also known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial Treatment, surged in popularity when Kim Kardashian braved the procedure on her reality show. The pictures circulating of her sporting a bloody face sparked conversation among beauty influencers everywhere asking is this treatment effective and how does it work?
Professional athletes from almost every sport have shown us the regenerative and healing power of PRP treatments by using them to return to the game sooner from damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. During PRP treatments, the platelets in the blood that contain growth factors that command the immune system are isolated from the blood and injected back into the effected area. Many people have used PRP treatments as an effective way to avoid risky medication side effects and surgery. The treatment offers a quicker recovery and supports the body’s natural healing process organically without an invasive procedure. The power of platelets are no longer restricted to internal treatments however, vampire facials take the science of platelet treatments and uses it to improve your skin.
With my face completely numb and my platelet-rich plasma ready to go, I hopped onto the table. From there Rhiannon and I discussed the microneedling I had been bracing for. She explained that she would adjust the pen to penetrate my skin anywhere from .5 mm to 2 mm deep depending on the area of my face. On parts with less fat, like my forehead and around my nose, the pen would go just .5 mm deep. On the rest of my face she would bump it up to 1 mm. Once all of those details were squared away I felt confident to start the treatment. Bring it on!
First, the injector (1) uses HA fillers to create a beautiful shape. (2) Then, the physician isolates growth factors from the patients blood. (3) When these growth factors enter the face (injected by the physician), then multi-potent stem cells become activated to grow new tissue. This new tissue includes new collagen, new fatty tissue (for smoothness), and new blood vessels (for a healthy glow).
Vampires are known for their red eyes, alabaster complexion and sharp fangs. Vampire injections don't promise any of these outcomes. Instead, they reduce fine lines and wrinkles, restore volume and get rid of that gaunt, anemic look. Facial plastic surgeons who perform this procedure often overfill the area by 20 percent, because much of the PRP will be reabsorbed by your body. In general, the procedure takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, the business, VIP Spa, was practicing the treatment in a way that “could potentially spread blood-borne infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C to clients.” It’s just one example of a trendy skin care service that spreads to salons around the world faster than health leaders can regulate them.
As for recovery, it might take a day or two of downtime before you're ready to hit the streets. Shamban says recipients may need one or two days, depending on how aggressive the microdermabrasion was on your skin. You'll emerge from treatment a bit red, almost like a sunburn, which means post-procedure sunscreen is highly recommended. Applying makeup, though, is discouraged.