Have you heard of the vampire facial? This often misunderstood facial rejuvenation treatment started drawing attention a few years ago, thanks to an ominous snap posted by the infamous Kim Kardashian on her Instagram.
Public response ranged from curiosity to confusion, with a little disgust thrown into the mix. Out of context, the so-called vampire facial can seem pretty off-the-wall or a beauty fad meant to shock.
But the truth is, this technique can be a legitimate option for treating a variety of visible signs of aging and improving the overall health and beauty of the skin—and studies have shown it works. Here are a few things you should know about this rejuvenating option.
PRP can be used to enhance the skin-renewing properties of micro-needling by supporting skin cell health and and repairing age-related damage.
1. The “vampire facial” doesn’t really describe a specific treatment
The phrase “vampire facial” (or facelift) was coined by a provider in Southern California, and the name took hold. Initially, farfetched claims were made about what the treatment could provide, including lifting or facelift-like results. By the time Miss Kardashian published her treatment photo, the world was intrigued but confused.
The treatment most often performed by reputable physicians—and still typically described as a vampire facial—is actually micro-needling with platelet rich plasma (PRP). The micro-needling technique involves using a device that houses many tiny needles (thinner than a strand of hair!) that create micro-injuries in the skin. This process prompts your body’s natural healing response, increasing the production of collagen and elastin in the treated area to improve a number of skin concerns and give you an overall more healthy and radiant look.
When used to administer PRP, this technique can enhance the skin-renewing properties of micro-needling by supporting skin cell health and and repairing age-related damage.
2. The platelets in your blood are regenerative
To understand the growing popularity of this treatment, it’s important to understand why it is an effective solution. Here’s a quick course on blood, platelets, and plasma:
- Your blood is a liquid that contains a number of very small solid components: stem cells, white cells, red cells, and platelets, suspended in plasma.
- Plasma is made up largely of water, dissolved proteins, hormones, carbon dioxide, and oxygen.
- Platelets have an important job: helping clot blood. But that’s not all they do! They also contain growth factors (a group of proteins that stimulate tissue growth), which play a large role in the healing process.
As we age, the functions of our body change or slow down. Over time, the production of helpful elastin and collagen in your skin slows and reserves are depleted, contributing to skin sagging, fine lines, crepiness, and more.
“Platelet rich plasma” is the what is left when blood cells are separated out from the blood—and after the centrifugation process, this plasma is packed with a high concentration of rejuvenating platelets.
Because one of the main roles of platelets is to support the healing process, a high concentration of them (the platelet rich plasma) can help heal tissues and grow new cells. When injected into specific areas, they act as a matrix that promotes the natural production of collagen and tissue regeneration, leading to a more youthful appearance. It’s also a great option for scars!
3. We aren’t re-injecting your blood into your face
Despite Miss Kardsashian’s gratuitously bloody Instagram image, micro-needling with PRP isn’t an extremely gruesome experience—and contrary to belief, blood is not simply injected back into your skin.
The PRP used in your treatment is “harvested” from your own blood. After it is drawn, the vial of your blood will be placed in a special machine called a centrifuge. “Platelet rich plasma” is the what is left when blood cells are separated out from the blood—and after the centrifugation process, this plasma is packed with a high concentration of rejuvenating platelets. When the vial of blood is removed, it will contain a portion of what looks like regular blood, plus the new addition of a rich yellow liquid, sometimes tinged with red. That’s your platelet rich plasma!
The PRP is applied topically after the micro-needling device is used rather than “injected” into the skin. Because micro-needling is a largely gentle treatment using such small needles, the micro-injuries created do not typically bleed freely or for extended periods of time. After treatment, you will notice dried blood and small red specks dotting the skin where the micro-needles have punctured the skin, in addition to the applied PRP. To ensure you get the best results, you’ll leave our offices with the PRP still on your skin, allowing it to penetrate for a few hours following the procedure.
4. PRP has been used for many years, both medically and cosmetically
Did you know that PRP has been used for musculoskeletal pain management and cell regeneration for at least 20 years? While cosmetic use has become more popular in recent years, this technique is not a short-lived or over-hyped new fad.
While the positive benefits of platelet rich plasma used in facial rejuvenation are still being explored, studies have shown that PRP does effectively promote tissue remodeling in aging skin. Particularly when it is used in conjunction with other anti-aging technologies, PRP treatments can provide dramatic improvements in some of the most common signs of aging.
We’d love to chat with you about your options
Whether you’re intrigued by micro-needling with PRP for a natural anti-aging solution or hope to learn more about our other facial rejuvenation treatments, we would be happy to help you explore your option during a free cosmetic consultation. Simply contact us today to get started!