You might have heard about the “Vampire Facial”, which gets a little more publicity this time of year. There are misconceptions about it, and there is a major difference between a vampire treatment given by a healthcare professional and the ones that appear on social media.
Here’s the difference.
A real Vampire facial treatment is also called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or, more recently, platelet-rich fibrin (PRF). This requires drawing blood from a vein, similar to a lab draw. The blood, usually several tubes’ worth, is spun down in a centrifuge. This separates the components of blood so that the portion with concentrated growth factors can be drawn off. This is then injected into the skin in areas needing rejuvenation. It stimulates the body to produce more collagen and plumps skin damaged by aging and years of sun exposure.
It takes a few weeks to begin seeing results, but the results last for many years. I have seen phenomenal results in patients who have had this done, although some will have several treatments done, a month or more apart. This method is also used in orthopedics for degenerative joints, especially among top athletes.
The sham vampire facials posted on social media, the ones that use actual blood, are just rubbing whole blood on someone’s face, or a red substance purportedly containing “stem cells”. Some will use a needle roller with the belief that it forces the blood into the dermis.
It doesn’t work that way! The components of blood that produce regeneration have to be concentrated and injected; they are too large to pass through the epidermis. This kind of treatment doesn’t do anything, but it makes dramatic photos seeing someone’s face covered in blood like Carrie.
A PRP facial treatment costs $1,400 per treatment or $3,400 for a package of three. Vampire facials posted for $500-850 online are the microneedling version. Real PRP injections are expensive because of the supplies, time, and training involved. And they actually work.