- $225 for a platelet-rich plasma treatment ($900 value)
Platelet-rich plasma therapy's colloquial name "vampire facial" is spooky yet wholly appropriate: it's all about the blood. Read on to learn more about this unique procedure.
Vampire Facials: Bloody Beauty
Vampires are supposed to be eternally youthful, or at least trapped in time. But the name of the vampire facial goes deeper than that—in fact, it’s all about the blood. To begin the treatment, a doctor draws your blood, filling about three phials or six bat-size coffee mugs. Then, the phials go into a centrifuge, which spins to separate the blood's components and concentrate its platelets. These platelets give the treatment its other name, platelet-rich plasma (or PRP) therapy. The doctor thickens the platelets with a coagulant, loads the mixture into syringes, and, after applying a topical anesthetic, injects it into your face.
In some variants of the treatment—including the Vampire FaceLift—the platelets are combined with hyaluronic acid and injected in the same manner as other facial fillers, providing an immediate sculpting effect. In others, microneedles are used to create tiny pores all over the face before the platelet solution is applied topically to soak in, much as rain soaks into an umbrella poked full of holes. In either case, the face will at first be marked by redness and swelling. However, as time passes, the inflammation subsides and, if it’s been effective, a more youthful texture and complexion should emerge. Though the procedure typically takes less than an hour, the results last several months or, according to some doctors, up to two years.
Why platelets? They’re packed with various growth factors, and the theory is that injecting a concentrated dose of them into areas that could use some plumping will cause the body to begin building more blood vessels, collagen, and dermal tissue. The same theory accounts for its use in sports medicine, where it’s injected to speed the repair of injured nerves and tendons. Though neither application has yet been tested to the point of medical certainty, a vampire facial is at the very least unlikely to cause adverse reactions, since the active ingredient comes from the patient’s own veins.