The Vampire Facial: Everything You Need to Know About Micro-Needling with PRP
The Vampire Facial...it only sounds scaryBy Becca Newell
It seems vampires have been right all along. The secret to eternal youth? Blood. Well, more specifically, plasma—platelet-rich plasma, to be exact. PRP is the latest buzzword—or should we say, acronym?—in anti-aging, tackling a host of skin concerns from acne scarring to wrinkles. And it’s not as horrifying as you might imagine, even for the squeamish!
Platelet-Rich PlasmaDerived from the patient’s own blood, Platelet-Rich Plasma, or PRP, is a concentration of platelets within plasma that promote healing. In terms of anti-aging, PRP is used in conjunction with micro-needling to stimulate skin recovery, boost collagen production, and tighten skin. “PRP can treat anything from fine lines and sun damage to deep wrinkles and acne scarring,” says Kelly Sullivan, MD, FACS, at Sullivan Surgery & Spa in Annapolis.
A clear liquid within blood that contains proteins, antibodies, and other dissolved substances, like nutrients and minerals
Small blood cells that stick together to help form a clot
A pen-like device that creates micro-injuries to produce firmer, younger-looking skin
Micro-Needling with PRPThe micro-punctures caused by micro-needling initiates the skin’s natural ability to heal itself, which encourages the production of collagen and elastin, according to Sullivan. These minuscule injuries create temporary channels through the epidermis, allowing for optimal absorption of PRP as it’s delivered to the skin, which further enhances the healing of skin cells. “The two therapies work in synergy to create a treatment that brings better results than each part could alone,” she says. At Sullivan Surgery & Spa, the dynamic duo is effectively used to improve texture and tone, minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce surface scarring.
Treatment areas include:
Face, Neck, Décolleté, Arms, Hands, Stretch Marks
The Before and AfterA small amount of blood is drawn from patients and processed via centrifuge to separate the plasma from red and white blood cells. The patient’s skin is numbed with a topical agent before the procedure to make the process more comfortable, however, “some activity” will be felt, Sullivan says. Micro-needling enthusiasts have described the sensation as similar to microdermabrasion. Afterwards, skin will tighten slightly—it will feel similar to a sunburn—and redden following treatment, but should diminish within a day or so. Sullivan notes that patients receive post-care products to use over the subsequent three-to-five day period to further aid in the healing process. Minimal swelling may also occur, but it shouldn’t last more than a few days. “Everyone’s skin is different so results will vary,” Sullivan says. However, patients should see noticeable improvements within one to two weeks of the procedure. For optimal results, a series of three to six treatments should occur—one treatment every month or two.
A no-makeup rule should be adhered to for at least 24 hours following treatment
Looking to the FutureGerman physician, Dr. Barbara Sturm, recently developed “a moisturizer infused with anti-inflammatory proteins” that enables patients to take home a platelet-rich anti-aging ointment, according to Happi Magazine. Named MC1, the topical cream is individually formulated per client: first, the blood is drawn; then the plasma is separated and added to the moisturizer; and, finally, it’s delivered within two days, ready for application. Sturm reports that immediately following treatment skin appears “fresher and younger” and, after repeated use, “collagen production is stimulated and inflammation reduced.” Currently, there aren’t any independent trials to support these claims, however, there are studies that demonstrate PRP’s effectiveness in tissue healing. Similarly, though testimonials praise MC1, there are some medical professionals that doubt the cream’s ability to penetrate the epidermis into the dermis—hence why micro-needling is used in tandem with PRP—but Sturm says her products work at the cellular level. Another consideration? MC1’s price tag. One jar costs $1,400, according to Happi—and, due to the diminishing potency of its ingredients, lasts about 12 weeks.
The estimated total cost for micro-needling with PRP is between $1,600 to $3,200.