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 deal is this: Blood is drawn, usually from the client’s arm, then placed in a centrifuge in order to separate the plasma and the platelets from red blood cells. The resulting liquid is called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. The plasma contains protein and other nutrients that are supposed to help stimulate skin cell growth and collagen. Then that material is either applied topically or injected into the face using microneedling techniques, which essentially involves puncturing the skin many times with super-tiny needles. The theory is that the holes help the growth factors and other nutrients get into deeper layers of the skin.
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."