The untold truth of vampire facials



BY AMANDA LAUREN


While
Vampire Facials sound scary, they are really anything but. They do, however,
involve blood. First made popular by none other than Kim Kardashian, the
Vampire Facial has gone mainstream. But what exactly is a Vampire Facial and
what does it have to do with vampires anyway? Is it really the fountain of
youth or just another skincare trend du jour? I asked several medical experts
to reveal the untold truth of Vampire Facials.
Vampire facials have nothing to do with
vampires




According
to Dr. Sal Nadkarni, who is known as Dr. Sal, the Vampire Facial describes an
aesthetic procedure using the patient’s own blood. Originally coined and
trademarked by Dr. Charles Runels, a plastic surgeon from outside of Mobile,
Alabama, the medical term for this procedure is a Platelet-Rich Plasma or PRP
facial. However, the terms are often used interchangeably.
“Platelets
contain a large amount of growth factor, which can lead to tissue
regeneration,” said Dr. Sal. “If platelets are removed from the
plasma, which is the cellular component of blood, and re-injected back into the
skin, the growth factors in the platelets can cause tissue regeneration leading
to increased collagen production in facial skin.”
He
explained the PRP procedure itself “involves drawing up a couple vials of
the patient’s own blood, spinning the blood in a centrifuge to separate each
cellular component, removing the platelet component from the plasma, and then
re-injecting the platelets back into the face.”
Vampire Facials aren’t the “Fountain of
Youth” but they do make you look younger




Every
next big skincare product or procedure is marketed like a “Fountain of
Youth,” and this label has certainly been applied to the Vampire Facial.
But according to Dr. Kristina Goldenberg, of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York
City, PRP facials might not be a magic bullet, but they are a great treatment
for a variety of skin issues including “acne, acne scarring, melasma,
wrinkles, and lines. Additionally, she noted, “[It is also great for]
overall skin maintenance.”
Dr.
Goldenberg explained to me how this procedure helps these conditions.
“Microneedling stimulates collagen production and breaks up acne scarring.
It also helps the epidermis to refresh and recycle itself, promoting shedding
and stimulation of new, healthier keratinocytes to grow.”
PRP
makes you look younger because “the growth factors help collagen
production and improve health of the epidermis, helping with scarring and
pigmentation.” Another reason why PRP is so popular is that for Dr.
Goldenberg’s patients, “it has little down time and virtually no
pain.”
They require your doctor to have very
specific equipment




The
word “facial” for this procedure is slightly deceiving. A Vampire
Facial isn’t a really a facial at all. It’s a medical procedure, as opposed to
a cosmetic one. It is not performed by an esthetician and is only administered
by medical professionals. 
Vampire
Facials require very specific medical equipment, as Dr. Sal explained.
“The main equipment needed to perform the Vampire Facial (PRP) procedure
are phlebotomy kits in order to draw blood and a centrifuge to spin the blood
in order to separate out the cellular components of the blood plasma.”
After the blood is spun, the platelets are separated and then re-injected back
into the face. 
There
are two ways the platelets are re-injected. “The re-injection of platelets
can by performed either by direct injection into the face using a standard
needle, or by first performing microneedling on the face and then topically
applying the platelets on the skin to allow diffusion of the platelets into the
tiny holes created by the microneedling,” said Dr. Sal. The end result is
increased collagen production as well as a refreshed and rejuvenated face. Dr.
Sal also noted, “Patients tend to love the procedure since the technique
uses your own blood and does not involve anything artificial.”
They actually don’t need to be
performed in a medical office




While
the majority of medical procedures need to take place in a doctor’s office or a
sterile environment such as a hospital or surgical center, Vampire Facials are
the exception to that rule. In fact, as a concierge physician, outside of a
medical office is the only way Dr. Sal gives them to his patients. 
“While
the procedure does use sterile equipment including sterile disposable needles,
it does not necessarily have to be performed in a medical office. For example,
my practice is a house call based aesthetic medspa in Los Angeles, so I perform
all my cosmetic procedures including the Vampire Facial in the comforts of the
patient’s own home.” 
After
all, who wants to drive home with bloody face if it is not necessary? Or worse,
have your neighbors see you immediately after this procedure? Me either.
They cannot be a substitute for plastic
surgery




While
Vampire Facials are a very effective treatment, unfortunately they cannot do
exactly what plastic surgery can. Dr. Gary Goldenberg, also of Goldenberg
Dermatology, explained, “Plastic surgery such as a facelift pulls the skin
up and laterally (to the sides). The extra skin is cut out. A Vampire Facial
helps with skin complexion, etched in wrinkles and lines, melasma, acne, and
acne scarring. These are different problems than what a facelift or plastic
surgery can help with.” 
Comparing
plastic surgery to a Vampire Facial is kind of like comparing apples and
oranges. They’re both fruits, but definitely not the same thing. “Plastic
surgery cannot help with the problems Vampire Facial can address,” he
said. “Surgical treatments cannot solve the problems that the Vampire
Facial can address.”
…But vampire facials can be a great
alternative to other treatments




Despite
the differences between surgical procedures and Vampire Facials, they can both
help you achieve a more youthful look. The Vampire Facial can be a great
alternative if you don’t want the expense or downtime of surgery.
Dr.
Kristina Goldenberg explained to me how this is possible. “Vampire Facials
allow for facial rejuvenation to happen in a natural way, by stimulating
collagen production and improving elasticity of the skin. Although this
treatment is very effective, the results can take weeks to months. A surgical
facelift, however, will give immediate results because the correction is
achieved by the surgeon rather than by the skin itself. Also, results from
Vampire Facial will never be as dramatic as from a surgical facelift because it’s
a natural, more subtle approach.”
To
make a Vampire Facial even more effective, she suggests combining it with
ultherapy to tighten the skin.
These procedures can help all of your
skincare products work more effectively




Many
people who get PRP Facials might be under the impression that their skincare
products are suddenly working better, but that is incorrect. The products
themselves aren’t changing, but rather, the skin is healing itself.
Beverly
Hills plastic surgeon, Dr. Sheila Nazarian explained why. “[Because] the
procedure is used in conjunction with microneedling, it tricks the face into
thinking it is massively injured. PRP contains the signals that are triggered
when your body is trying to heal an injury. By creating micro-injuries with
microneedling and also placing PRP into those injuries, you get heightened
collagen growth.”
You need to take proper precautions after
your procedure




As
with any medical procedure, you need listen to your doctor and follow his or
her aftercare instructions. But luckily because the Vampire Facial uses your
own blood as opposed to artificial substances, there aren’t too many
precautions you need to take.
However,
Dr. Sal says you still need to watch for swelling. “The injection of
platelets back into your face (either by direct injection with a standard
needle or by diffusion after microneedling) will cause your face to become a
bit swollen and flushed. So to reduce the swelling post-procedure, I recommend
avoiding any strenuous activity for at least one to two days, as well as using
a couple pillows under your head, to keep your head slightly propped while
sleeping during the first night.”
You should have them done regularly​​​​​​​​​




Unlike
a surgical procedure, Vampire Facials aren’t one and done. While the results
are long lasting, they aren’t permanent and the procedure may need to be
repeated again.
Dr.
Sal told me, “The effects of the Vampire Facial are fairly long lasting
due to the growth factor in the platelets causing increased collagen
production. However, due to the body’s normal aging process, collagen in your
face constantly depletes each year. So to counteract the constant collagen
depletion, I recommend repeating the vampire facial once a year to ensure
renewed collagen production.” 
Is this just a fleeting trend?

While
we can’t seem to get enough vampire movies, television shows, and books, are
Vampire Facials here to stay or are they just a fleeting trend? The answer,
given everything we’ve discovered here, is probably that they are here to
stay. 
Unlike
many popular skincare procedures, the Vampire Facial is the only one that does
not require injecting a foreign substance into your body. It is also unique
because it can help with a variety of skincare problems. So you can think of
PRP as a procedure for the people and the Kardashians.

SOURCE: THE LIST

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.