Thanks to the likes of Kim Kardashian and Bar Rafaeli, skin-savvy men and women have been queueing up to get their own blood injected into their faces for a few years now.
Yes, the Vampire Facial might have seemed like a flash in the pan when it first gained momentum in aesthetic practices, but the proof is real: it works.
Combining microneedling with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), Vampire Facials are fast becoming a huge hit with our beauty members who are signing up for regular treatments quicker than we can say ‘smooth, ageless skin.’
What’s it all about? In short, the treatment consists of having a certain amount of blood drawn from your arm, which is then spun in a centrifuge to separate out the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) from the white and red blood cells. This healing plasma is then used to help glide microneedles over the face, in turn stimulating collagen and elastin production.
PRP has actually been administered for over 20 years as a way of accelerating the healing of wounds, injuries and burnt skin. But it was only in 2010 when Dr. Charles Runels from Alabama trademarked the name ‘Vampire Facelift,’ that the treatment became big news as an anti-aging facial treatment.
So, what’s it like as a patient being subjected to blood extraction and a bunch of tiny needles pressed into your skin? And similarly what do the pros think about this slightly unusual facial procedure? We sent Carrie McHone into Morpheus Medical Aesthetics in Albany, CA to try out the treatment while grilling her nurse practitioner, Michella Frijas at the same time. Now, that’s what we call multi-purposing at its finest…
What The Pro Thinks: Michella Frijas, Nurse Practitioner, Morpheus Medical Aesthetics, Albany, CA
1. What’s involved in a Vampire Facial?
“After numbing the skin with a topical cream, we draw your blood and place it in centrifuge. We then apply a layer of serum to the face and start microneedling. Microneedling creates tiny pinholes, which damage the top layer of skin so when it heals you have fresh, new, healthy skin. PRP is then placed over face and the microneedling pen is used again to drive this healing PRP into skin.”
2. What considerations should be taken into account before having the treatment?
“You should drink plenty of water for a few days beforehand because being hydrated promotes a greater amount of PRP. I also recommend making no plans for 24-hours after your treatment as there’ll be some redness immediately afterwards. Oh, and you need to be ok with staying out of the sun for a week.
All this should be covered by your aesthetician, however, so make sure when you call to book your appointment, they give you a full lowdown of before-treatment instructions.”
3. Who is the Vampire Facial most suitable for?
“Almost everyone is a good candidate. The treatment is great for preventative maintenance and even better for keeping skin healthy and happy. It’s not recommended for patients with diabetes, keloid scars, eczema, psoriasis and other chronic conditions or wound-healing deficiencies.”
4. How many treatments do you recommend, and how often?
“I would say three treatments to begin with, scheduled two-to-four weeks apart, then one every four-to-six months.”
5. What’s the benefit of including PRP with microneedling, rather than having microneedling on its own?
“PRP helps with healing and delivers a better result because plasma contains growth factors that promote healing. It is a 100 percent natural treatment that rejuvenates your skin using your own cells, what could be better than that?”
6. Are there any myths about PRP you’d like to dispel?
“Yes. You don’t actually have red blood on your face. At all. In fact, PRP is more of a yellow color and feels like egg white on your skin!”
It’s also worth mentioning something called PRF (platelet-rich fibrin) which is basically the same as PRP, but is believed to give better results – although results are yet to prove so. PRF is prepared at a different spin speed and over a different length of time and while PRP has a golden color, PRF has more of a pink tone.”
7. How would you describe the treatment in three words?
“Natural growth factors.”
The Patient’s Perspective: Carrie McHone, 30, Pleasanton, CA
1. Did you have any preconceptions about microneedling with PRP before you tried it?
“I’d heard about the Vampire Facial on social media and I don’t mind admitting, I was a little intimidated because I thought I’d have blood all over my face when it was done! It also looked pretty painful, but I’d read online that results were fantastic so really wanted to give it a try.”
2. Were you hoping the treatment would target any specific skin concerns?
3. So, was the treatment painful?
“My skin was numbed so I didn’t feel any pain! It felt a bit like microdermabrasion – nothing like needles – and my skin felt tight and a little warm, almost as if I had a mask on. The PRP was applied to my skin before and immediately after the microneedling and this felt soothing because it was cool. Having my blood drawn was super easy as well.”
4. How long did the treatment last?
“The numbing was around 30 minutes, then the treatment lasted about 45 minutes. Pretty quick.”
5. What did your skin look/feel like…
Immediately afterwards? “Red (but not bloody!), tight and warm.”
The next day? “My face was a little red, but the redness was easily hidden under tinted moisturizer. You honestly couldn’t tell I’d had anything done.”
6. How would you compare your results to other treatments?
“I’ve only had HydraFacials in the past, and I would say microneedling with PRP is a deeper more involved treatment with more noticeable results. My results will keep improving as my collagen is rebuilding over the next few months as well, which I love!”
7. Would you do it again?
“Absolutely. It’s a little pricey, but worth it if you get on a treatment plan and split up your costs into monthly instalments! After three or four treatments, I should only need one or two maintenance treatments each year which is really easy to do with Morpheus’ beauty membership program;)”
8. How would you describe your treatment in three words?
“Collagen stimulating secret!”