What Is the Vampire Facial and Is It Safe?

Under normal circumstances, the last thing you want to happen during a facial is to have your face covered in blood. But this is exactly what happens when you get a vampire facial.

Vampire facials are not new, but many beauticians first discovered the existence of vampire facials in 2013. Celebrity Kim Kardashian posted a photo of her face covered in blood, labeled with the vampire facial hashtag. The photo went viral, leading to viewers discovering the existence of vampire facials.

When you undergo a vampire facial, professionally known as a platelet-rich plasma facial, your beautician takes a sample of your blood to extract the plasma inside. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood. Plasma contains platelets, growth factors and healthy nutrients. Adding plasma to the face stimulates collagen growth and rejuvenates skin cells. Vampire facials help improve skin tone and texture, a fact supported by many doctors and dermatologists.

What happens during a vampire facial?

If you are considering a vampire facial, it is important to understand the exact process, since it is much more involved than a traditional facial.

Before you can undergo a vampire facial, your blood must be screened to determine you do not have any infections. Once your blood is tested, a doctor takes a small amount of blood from your arm. The blood sample is placed inside a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood at high speed, causing the plasma to separate from the rest of the blood.

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Doctors turn this plasma into a concentrated injection. Once the injection is prepared, the blood is either applied to the face, or injected into the face with a series of small injections. Some practitioners use dermal fillers to further enhance your skin, with the area right under your eye being one of the most common touched up areas.

Once the blood concentration is prepared, a vampire facial takes an average of between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. Most dermatologists recommend three separate sessions to complete a vampire facial, with each session spaced roughly one month apart. Because of how many sessions you need and the complicated nature, vampire facials are expensive.

Are vampire facials safe?

One of the most common questions asked about vampire facials is whether vampire facials are safe.

Administering a vampire facial is a delicate process. Since it involves blood, sterile techniques must be practiced to prevent infections. Beauticians must use clean needles and clean all equipment between vampire facials. While there are some spas providing vampire facials, the majority of vampire facials are performed by certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons, who are trained to work with blood. As long as your blood is clean and everything is sterilized, you do not have to worry about health risks from a vampire facial.

What are the origins of vampire facials?

As of writing, vampire facials are over 20 years old. The techniques used in vampire facials were originally medicinal. At the time, the process was only known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and was used to heal wounds or treat burnt skin. The treatment first became famous for helping athletes, with tennis star Rafael Nadal recovering from a tennis-related injury using PRP.

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Several years later, a doctor in Alabama, Dr. Charles Runels, came up with the name “vampire facelift,” in reference to the number of vampire-related media produced during the time. Dr. Runels introduced vampire facelifts to celebrities, and it became a hit craze.

While Kim Kardashian is credited as bringing vampire facials into the mainstream, both Anna Friel and Bar Refaeli helped promote vampire facials in 2013.

Is microneedling the same as a vampire facial?

Microneedling is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a vampire facial. Many dermatologists view microneedling as the grandfather of modern-day vampire facials.

Through microneedling, a plastic surgeon uses a small device, the Dermapen, filled with tiny needles, smaller than the needles used in Botox or dermal fillers. These tiny needles are used to create microscopic channels along your skin, utilizing a practice commonly compared to acupuncture.

The needles are injected into your skin, but only with enough force to pierce through the superficial layer of skin, known as the epidermis, stopping before it pierces through the deeper layer of skin, your dermis. Microneedling stimulates your dermis to release biomolecules and increase the production of collagen. Microneedling is primarily used to help treat the following facial appearances:

  • Thin skin.
  • Wrinkled skin.
  • Loose skin.
  • Rough or weathered skin.

The benefits of microneedling are visible after a short period of time. Typically, microneedling is done through a series of four to six treatments. After the first few weeks of microneedling your skin tone improves. Lines and wrinkles decrease within a few weeks of your first microneedling treatment. These appearance changes continue over the next few months, with your face producing more biochemicals and collagen for the next six months to a year.

One of the main benefits of microneedling versus other plastic surgery is the lack of dangerous materials used. At first, tiny needles may sound dangerous, but needles are much safer than lasers and strong chemicals normally used in invasive surgery.

Microneedling is a quicker process as well, with minimal recovery time. At most, you may need one or two days of rest to recover from any bruising or redness caused by the injections. Another benefit of microneedling is it can be done in other parts of the body, such as the back of the hands, abdominal section, inner thigh or along your upper arm skin. Microneedling is an effective treatment regardless of the color of your skin.

The main difference between microneedling and vampire facials is the use of your plasma. Both procedures have similar end results, but vampire facials may be more efficient because of the health benefits of plasma. Vampire facials require fewer treatments than microneedling, and many dermatologists believe vampire facials produce stronger, longer-lasting results.

If you are hesitant about injecting plasma into your body, or you have a blood condition, microneedling is an acceptable alternative.

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