The growing demand for youthful skin has contributed to an increase in the popularity of cosmetic procedures. But while there are many options available, such as Botox injections, fillers, peels, and fat transfers, one of the most popular procedures is the Vampire Facial — a procedure that involves having blood drawn from your arm and spun down into a platelet-rich plasma. The platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into your face to encourage collagen production which helps to reinvigorate the skin, making it tighter and smoother, and leave you with a youthful glow.
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Can this procedure really do all that? See for yourself in this article.
The Vampire “Platelet Rich Plasma” Facial
The Vampire Facial has earned itself a sensational reputation for being bloody and brutal yet people are equally fascinated by the facial that claims to make you look younger by drawing your blood and re-injecting it back into your skin. It may sound bizarre but the truth is a lot more clinical.
I emphasize the word clinical because the Vampire Facial should only be performed by a medical professional. The procedure involves drawing blood and injecting plasma into your skin so there is the risk of possible infection. You want a medically trained professional to perform the procedure instead of some backstreet beautician.
You should also research the procedure and discuss all your concerns during your consultation. Ask your doctor if they will be using disposable needles and the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, etc.
(FYI: There have been reports about people contracting the HIV/AIDS virus through the Vampire Facial but I’ve only found two confirmed cases and they may have contracted the virus through other activities.)
The internet is filled with misinformation so you do want to take responsibility for yourself if you’re considering the Vampire Facial. Ask the right questions and ask the right people.
I had no reservations about having the Vampire Facial at Skin Renewal. Skin Renewal had already performed three Dermapen Skin Needling treatments on my face and hands so I was extremely confident about having my first Vampire Facial performed by them. Their doctors have always anticipated my concerns and addressed them beforehand.
Skin Renewal also strikes a reassuring balance between the comfort of a salon and the hygiene of a clinic.
The “Platelet Rich Plasma” Facial Procedure
Is PRP the same as a Vampire Facial?
Firstly, let’s use the correct terminology. Calling it a Vampire Facial makes for catchy marketing but the correct term is “Platelet Rich Plasma” or PRP Facial. The terminology can get confusing because people use the words microneedling and PRP/Vampire Facial interchangeably. The differences in procedure, price, and results are like comparing a bakkie to a Ferrari.
Microneedling is a specific procedure that creates micro-traumas to the skin. It may include (optional) topical serums for added benefits. Platelet-Rich Plasma is extracted from your blood and may be administered via microneedling or injection- or both!
Microneedling is an action (verb) while Platelet-Rich Plasma or PRP facial is a product (noun). Microneedling involves blood but not specifically plasma. Platelet-Rich Plasma or a PRP Facial involves drawing your blood, separating the plasma, and re-injecting it into the skin.
Microneedling is a very effective procedure but it’s not the same as a PRP Facial even if it is used as part of a PRP facial. For a crash course in microneedling, I suggest you read my review about Skin Renewal’s Dermapen microneedling.
The PRP facial begins with a consultation. I consulted Dr Maureen Allem, the founder and Medical Director of the Renewal Institute, who was confident that I would still see impressive results after the PRP Facial in addition to my recent microneedling procedures. I was sceptical because I didn’t think that I could be more impressed with my skin following three Dermapen microneedling treatments. A week later I found myself at Skin Renewal’s clinic in Pineslopes.
The treatment begins with a doctor drawing blood from your arm. It’s a standard syringe and needle used for drawing < 20ml of blood. Nothing dramatic if you are expecting a great production. It’s about as undramatic as having your blood sugar or cholesterol checked. The blood is placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the plasma. Skin Renewal repeats this process to extract a higher concentration of the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) concentration.
The centrifuge process takes less than twenty minutes. During this time, a therapist prepares your face and applies a topical anaesthetic to your face. This part is quite pleasurable because it includes a facial massage. It also helps you to relax physically and mentally if you’re feeling anxious.
The centrifuge separates your blood into 3 parts, namely,
- PPP (Platelet Poor Plasma)– very effective as an anti-ageing treatment.
- PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)– richer in platelets and growth factors for targeted areas.
- Super Concentrated PRP (A.k.a. Buffy Coat)- injected into the areas of greatest concern and yields the best results.
For Skin Rejuvenation: Once injected into your skin, the platelets will accelerate the normal healing process and produce new collagen in the injected area. For this reason, Skin Renewal uses all 3 parts of the extracted plasma PPP for mild and general rejuvenation while the PRP and Liquid Gold will be used specifically on the face and areas of most concern.
Dr Allem breezes through the microneedling as she applies my PPP and PRP to my skin. My PPP is applied all over my face while the PRP is targeted to areas of concern. She keeps the atmosphere light as we make small talk. I always find the microneedling strangely relaxing because it is a painless procedure that feels like a soothing vibration.
Saving the best for last, Dr Allem produces a syringe containing my Super Concentrated PRP which she injects into specific areas around my eyes and mouth – and areas where she says she would inject Botox. I found the injections mildly uncomfortable because my skin was sensitive after the microneedling but it’s not painful, and as Dr Allem reminded me: this is my ‘Liquid Gold’, so I don’t want her to waste a precious drop.
I always say that if it is good enough for your face then it’s good enough for your hands because your hands will always give your age away. Dr Allem gladly microneedled my hands before injecting them with my leftover PPP & PRP.
Ladies, extending your PRP Facial to your hands, neck, and décolleté is a great investment to ensure that everything matches evenly. Currently, there isn’t anything that can reverse ageing hands besides prevention. Men don’t need to worry about their décolleté- unless they’re really worried about it!
There is very little to do after the PRP facial except coverup with sunblock and get on with your life- and obviously avoid the sun!
20ml of blood produces a generous amount of PPP and PRP. Dr Allem gave me my leftover PRP to apply to the following morning to speed up the healing process. It’s odourless, feels a bit like a serum (duh!), and absorbs into your skin effortlessly. Waste not, want not!
My skin was already accustomed to microneedling so I had minimal downtime. My skin was mildly sensitive when the anaesthetic wore off but by the next day, I was looking forward to seeing some results.
When can you see results after a PRP Facial?
Reality check: You’re not going to see instant results. Within a week your skin will look fresher, within a month it will look more refined, but within two months your skin will look noticeably firmer and younger. Your skin regenerates itself every 21-27 days so give the procedure time to work at a cellular level. A year later you will start to believe it’s just your naturally good genes.
Results following a “Platelet Rich Plasma” Facial
A Platelet Rich Plasma facial is like Michaelangelo’s spark of life in his Creation of Adam.
I think that microneedling delivers profound results. The addition of topical serums enhances those results, but the addition of your own PRP increases those results exponentially. Microneedling comes in at a cheaper price point but there is still no comparison to the results achieved by the Platelet Rich Plasma at Skin Renewal.
How many PRP sessions are required for your face?
I know what my skin looked like five years ago, and I know it never looked as good then as it does today. It is recommended that you have 2-8 PRP treatments to see the best results, but honestly, it only took one treatment to convince me. Having multiple treatments can only benefit your skin more profoundly.