Your doctor draws blood from your arm and spins it to separate out the plasma, which contains platelets. These are the proteins and growth factors that stimulate collagen production and thereby promote skin regeneration and rejuvenation. There are many kits available to isolate these growth factors, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Once collected, the platelet-rich plasma is injected back into your face.
PRPs are one of the latest trends in beauty and skincare because of its ability to stimulate new cellular growth, purportedly improving skin tone and texture, smoothing fine lines and even promoting hair growth. Patients are advised to pop a pain pill or to apply numbing cream to diminish any pain from the initial blood draw, as well as the microneedling method.
The basic PRP treatment has been used for almost 20 years to accelerate the healing of wounds and burnt skin, and help athletes - including, reportedly, tennis ace Rafael Nadal - recover from injury. But it was when Dr Charles Runels from Alabama trademarked the name "Vampire Facelift" in 2010, during the craze for the Vampire Diaries and Twilight Saga, that the procedure became attractive for A-listers.
Sclafani's injections are an off-label use of Selphyl, the Aesthetic Factors technology that separates plasma from the blood. Bruce Katz, another New York dermatologist who offers individual injections, uses a similar technology made by the Swiss company Regen Lab. Katz advertises "twilight plasma renewal treatment" on his website. His patients get about 20 injections at once in the face, neck and décolleté, he says.
Because the procedure utilizes the body’s own rich blood, it revitalizes and enhances the skin in a way that synthetic products can’t without side effects or surgery. The platelet growth factors, platelet rich fibrin matrix [PRFM], stimulate new growth and energy to correct lines, wrinkles and enhance color. It uses your own body to help beautify your body.
The patient is numbed with a topical anesthetic gel. The PRFM is then injected with a short, small gauge needle into the desired areas of the face. The PRFM induces growth of new blood vessels, skin cells and collagen resulting in a healthy glow, better color, better tone, reduced wrinkles and sagging. The new blood flow helps create volume and shape, lifting the skin and sculpting the face. In 30 minutes, you are on your way to a new you with a more youthful appearance!
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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!
As far as risks go, there aren't as many as you might think. In fact, Shamban explained that the only risk you really run is bruising at the time of the venipuncture. Aside from the discomfort of a blood draw and bruising from injection or microneedling, Zeichner says the vampire facial is "extremely safe, as it is your body's own blood being recycled."