Protein-rich plasma therapy or the vampire facial is a beauty treatment currently taking the world by storm. But, what exactly does the treatment entail? Taking a closer look at the process can provide some answers and help determine if this treatment may be appropriate for you.
It’s Not as Bad as it Sounds
The term “Vampire Facial” sounds much more dramatic than the process warrants. Facial procedures involving blood and raw meat are not exactly new. In the early part of the 20th century, using raw animal meat to freshen and tone the face was a famous beauty treatment.
During this same time frame, beauty formulations containing crocodile and bird dung along with cow urine were all in use at some point. While these ingredients may sound disgusting, they were at least relatively safe. During the Elizabethian era, the facials that were endured to obtain the snow-white complexion of the time contained highly poisonous lead.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma and What Does it Do?
Platelets are specialized cells made in the bone marrow and found in the blood that help repair damage to the body. They are also responsible for clotting mechanisms that stop the bleeding when the skin is compromised and promote healing. Platelet-rich plasma involves concentrating these cells and applying or injecting them at the site of a wound.
This therapy has been used in many applications in the medical setting. Its most common uses include speeding up the healing process for tears in the tendons of the foot or the elbow. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is also currently being used by some dermatologists to regrow hair.
What To Expect At the Appointment
When arriving for a vampire facial appointment, there are a few differences from traditional facials to keep in mind. First, a small amount of blood will be drawn from the arm. This part of the procedure should involve minimal discomfort as it’s just a standard blood draw, much like in a doctor’s office.
The vial of blood is then placed inside a centrifuge and rotated at thousands of rotations per minute to separate the blood components. This allows the platelets to be separated from the red blood cells.
The platelet-rich plasma is then reinjected into the body using micro-needling. Micro-needling is when the face is pricked using tiny needles. Those small wounds caused by the needles are subjected to the plasma to produce the desired result of firmer skin.
What To Expect After the Appointment
Once the facial is completed, the skin will feel tight and warm to the touch. Care should be taken to avoid touching the face for several hours after the appointment. Needle point bleeding or swelling may give the appearance of having a sunburn. This condition should improve considerably within one to two days. Makeup or exfoliating scrubs should not be used on the skin for at least three days.
A gentle, warm-water rinse in the morning should be all of the direct maintenance needed the day after the facial. Anything that touches the face should be clean to lessen the risk of contracting an infection.
Once completely healed, the effects of the vampire facial usually last anywhere between 12 and 18 months. Proper follow-up care with the healthcare provider is a crucial part of the procedure’s success.