The “Vampire Facial”

In January, I got the following press release:

“The source to the fountain of youth may have been with us all along!  The Vampire Facial, a state-of-the-art cosmetic procedure that utilizes cutting-edge technology, may have a ghastly name but this treatment will be sure to do no harm and leaves skin with a healthy glow.  

Tom O’Brien, CEO of Eclipse Aesthetics LLC (the company that distributes the technology to perform the Vampire Facial®), explains that this new cosmetic procedure is all the rage among Hollywood starlets because it is completely organic and only uses components derived from the patient’s internal biology. 

“The Vampire Facial is a designer procedure in which the body’s own platelet rich plasma (PRP) is used to re-energize cells and boost collagen production,” says O’Brien.  “The PRP possesses increased concentrations of one’s own growth factors.  These self-derived growth factors are powerful elements that aid in a more youthful appearance.”

O’Brien adds that the Vampire Facial® is similar to other spa facials in that no chemicals are injected into the skin.  “The new trend is to improve oneself with natural approaches and avoid those processes which are synthetic and possibly not healthy,” says O’Brien.  “PRP is applied topically to the skin following a micro-needling process in which the skin is perforated with near microscopic holes. The growth factors in the PRP re-energize cells to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving the skin’s tone and texture.”

I thought I deleted it but apparently not. Because honestly, it grosses me out. I’m on the downside of my 30s, and I’m all about a sensitive-skin facial now and then, but the idea of having my skin needled and my own blood mopped on just doesn’t appeal to me.

So, I was going about my life, until then I couldn’t open the Internet today without seeing Kim Kardashian with blood all over her face and it raised the issue – what is this? Is it safe? Does it work?

When I got this email from a source, I decided I wanted to post about this. Here’s the press release I got from Hevia MD Skin Science:

“What Exactly is a “Vampire” Facial Procedure?

Dr. Oscar Hevia, renowned Miami-based cosmetic dermatologist and an expert in anti-aging, weighs in on the recent photos that have surfaced of Kim Kardashian’s skincare treatment that was said to help with anti-aging.  Dr. Hevia is the creator of a superior line of skincare products that helps prevent against skin damage and encourages skin rejuvenation, HEVIA MD SKIN SCIENCE™.  Patients of his include Real Housewives of Miami star, Karent Sierra.

What is this anti-aging treatment that Kim Kardashian received?  Is it safe?  Does it work?  Here are some insights as to what exactly those photos are all about.

“Platelet-rich plasma, or ‘PRP’, has been used for years to stimulate wound healing,” says Dr.  Hevia.   “It is a method whereby you obtain a sample of your blood, separate the red blood cells from it (this is what makes our blood look red), and concentrate the platelets from the non-red part of the blood that remains.  PRP has been used to help heal chronic wounds, ulcers and stimulate bone tissue regeneration.  They have also been used more recently to improve survival of fat when injected for cosmetic procedures.”

According to Dr. Hevia, there is little to no convincing data that the injection or application of PRP into skin corrects wrinkles or sagging skin.  While there may be experiments on cells that suggest improved collagen production, there is not much evidence on patients.  Not all research on cells in a lab translates to meaningful results on patients. 

Dr. Hevia also urges caution when using the term “facial” many think it is a simple spa  procedure, but anytime blood is handled it is then considered re-injecting it or applying to skin, there is the risk of bacterial or viral contamination and, of course, infection.  According to Dr. Hevia, “these procedures should only be performed by qualified medical personnel and should never be performed in a spa setting.”

I’ll stick to slathering oatmeal on my face, thanks.

What are your thoughts?! Would you ever do the Vampire Facial?