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What is the Vampire Facial?

In beauty treatments, there is always the weird and wonderful including slugging which we have previously reported here.

But this new facial may be taking the notion that ‘beauty is pain’ a step too far. You’ve probably seen the photos on Instagram: A celebrity or influencer’s face covered with blood splatter.

But this is not costume makeup or prep for Halloween, it’s the latest skincare trend sweeping social media.

The vampire facial, otherwise known as a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) facial, is a “combination of a microdermabrasion, followed by the application of PRP (platelet-rich plasma),” says Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Ava Shamban.

“The PRP is derived from the serum portion of the blood, which contains platelets. The platelets contain high levels of growth factors, which, when applied to the skin, will stimulate cell turnover.”

How Does it Work?

Basically, it is a treatment that essentially uses, “your own blood to help promote the healthy activity of your skin cells,” says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Our skin is naturally comprised of red blood cells and serum, which contain our white blood cells and platelets.

Platelets, Zeichner explains, are rich in growth factors, which essentially act as energy boots for our skin. This helps our skin function optimally, increasing everything from collagen to elastin, while also bringing antioxidant and hydrating properties.

“Platelet-rich plasma is now commonly used topically as part of a regular facial, used along with micro-needling to enhance penetration into the skin, and is even being injected into the skin in the same manner as dermal fillers,” says Zeichner.

Is It Worth the Pain?

Typically, the process includes the initial blood draw, then running the blood through a centrifuge to isolate the platelets. You’ll then receive micro needling or microdermabrasion just before your PRPs are slathered across your face. This can be accompanied with or without radio frequency, too.

“It sounds gory and mysterious, but in fact, it is central to our evolving understanding of the physiology of the skin and advanced techniques with which to improve the quality of the skin,” says Shamban.

It certainly sounds scary and there are undeniably much simpler and far less painful ways to achieve clear skin.

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