Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy: “The Vampire Facial”
The skin rejuvenation treatment Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is often called a “Vampire Facial,” not because it turns a patient pale and sparkly à la Twilight, but because it uses the patient’s own blood. Platelets found in plasma are removed from a sample of the patient’s blood, then injected into areas of the face to augment healing.
Platelets are cells found in the bloodstream that allow blood to clot. When a clot is formed, platelets emit enzymes that boost healing and aid in tissue regeneration by drawing stem cells to the area to help repair damage.
A Vampire Facial begins when the clinician withdraws a sample of the patient’s blood. The PRP is removed from it. Then this plasma is injected into key areas of the patient’s face using micro-needling technology.
These injections spur the production of collagen and the creation of new skin cells rich with human growth elements, which allow skin to heal and renew itself, creating younger, firmer, and more supple skin.
The Vampire Facial gives new life to the patient’s skin with little downtime.
How Does the Vampire Facial Work?
Using the microneedling device known as Rejuvapen, the Vampire Facial allows our clinicians to rejuvenate skin without any invasive techniques. The Rejuvapen generates microchannels into key areas of the face, into which the clinician injects the platelet-rich plasma.
You will have a detailed consultation with our clinician here at Glow Aesthetic Center, at which you can discuss your medical history and your objectives and expectations for the Vampire Facial. Your treatment can occur on the same day as your consultation, but regardless, the treatment will involve these steps:
- Preparation: The treatment area of your face is carefully cleaned and prepared
- Drawing Blood: The clinician draws about 2 teaspoons of blood from a vein in your arm
- Separating Plasma from Blood: The blood is set in a centrifuge for about 10 minutes, which rotates the blood at a high speed. This causes the platelet-rich plasma, which is lighter than the rest of the blood, to rise to the top, allowing it to be easily removed
- Anesthetic: If needed or requested, the clinician may apply a topical anesthetic to your treatment area to allow for greater comfort during the procedure
- Treatment: The clinician will use the Rejuvapen for a microneedling treatment, then apply the platelet-rich plasma to the treatment area. The Rejuvapen generates micro-channels that produce direct passages to the deepest skin layers to spur healing
- Best Results: Most patients will see the best results after 3 treatments, a month apart, although one treatment can be adequate for some patients.
- Patience Is Required: Platelet-rich plasma contains growth factors that prompt the skin to release stem cells. These cells heal the area as they would a wound, by creating new cells, including new collagen and blood vessels. It takes 30 days for the new collagen to regenerate itself. This process takes time for your skin will revitalize itself.
How Long Does the Vampire Facial Take?
The PRP treatment usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour, though this can vary according to how many treatment areas you need addressed.
Who Should Get a Vampire Facial?
Because PRP therapy uses cells from your own body, most people are excellent candidates for the procedure to treat:
- Dark under-eye circles
- Crow’s feet
- Fine lines around the mouth
- Crepey skin in neck, chest, and eye areas
- Coarse skin texture
- Dull or gray skin tone
- Sun damage
- Acne scars
- Large pores
The Vampire Facial is not recommended for patients who have blood-related disorders, anemia or cancers of the blood or bone. Those taking blood thinners or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) should stop these medications for a few weeks before treatment and several days following it, based on their own physician’s directions.
How Long Will Recovery after PRP Therapy Take?
One of the advantages of the Vampire Facial is that not much recovery time is necessary. Some redness and soreness, similar to a sunburn, may occur immediately following the treatment. Some patients may also experience bruising. The redness disappears on the day after treatment, but some patients will experience slight swelling and rough texture of the skin. By day 3, the swelling usually passes, but the rough texture may remain for up to a week.
The downtime required after this treatment is minimal, if any.
What Will the Results of PRP Therapy Be?
You should start to see results within a week. After 1 or 2 months, you should see rejuvenated skin that appears younger and feels softer and more supple. Results may remain from 1 to 2 years following your treatment.
How Should I Care for My Skin After PRP Therapy?
Following your Vampire Facial, it is imperative to hydrate your skin and protect it from sun damage. Follow a daily skin care regimen that incorporates both a quality moisturizer and several applications of sunblock of 30 SPF or above over the course of the day.
What Is the Difference Between PRP Therapy and Dermal Fillers?
While dermal fillers contain an element that mimics your skin’s natural chemicals, PRP therapy is made from your actual cells. Dermal fillers are a gel-like substance that fills in fine lines, while PRP therapy prompts your body to make new collagen and skin cells, which generates younger-looking volume and develops a softer texture and brighter tone in your skin; rather than targeting specific lines and wrinkles, PRP therapy improves the look and feel of the whole treatment area. While dermal fillers are absorbed by the body within 6 months to a year, requiring another treatment, PRP therapy lasts for 1 to 2 years. In addition, PRP therapy can be performed on areas where dermal fillers are unsafe.
Microneedling and PRP Therapy Guidelines:
Before PRP Therapy Treatment
- For 12 hours before treatment:
- No applications of Retin-A products
- No auto-immune therapies(please consult with the physician first)
- For 24 hours before treatment:
- No sunburns or extended sun exposure
- Skin must be clean and free of makeup or other products
- If acne appears before your treatment appointment, your clinician will evaluate whether it is safe to proceed
Immediately After PRP Therapy Treatment
- Be careful to avoid sun exposure
- Wait at least 6 hours following treatment before applying sunscreen
- Wait at least 6 hours following treatment before applying makeup
- If you are prone to cold sores, you may experience a breakout; a prophylactic medication can be given to you
- A few hours following treatment, wash your face with lukewarm water, using a gentle massaging motion, to remove any remaining serum or dried blood
- For 1 to 3 days, your skin will feel tight and dry
- After 2 to 3 days, or when it feels comfortable, you can go back to your daily skin care regimen
- For 10 to 14 days, do not use toners containing alcohol
- For at least 10 days, take care to prevent direct sun exposure
PRP Therapy Recovery Timeline:
- Day 1: Skin appears red; the more aggressive the treatment, the more severe the reddening will appear
- Day 2: Red or pink skin remains, much like a sunburn. Swelling may increase on this day
- Days 3 to 5: Skin is pinkish or back to normal. Swelling recedes.
Aftercare Instructions for PRP Therapy and Other Microneedling Treatments:
After Your Treatment
- For at least 6 hours, do not touch the treated area
- For up to 2 weeks, the treated area may feel firm, but it will soften over time, and you should see supple, younger skin. Call Glow Aesthetic Center if you have any lumps or unevenness
- For 72 hours, do not scrub, exfoliate, or aggressively massage the treated area
- You may experience an itchy sensation and dryness of the treated area. You may use Vaseline® or another moisturizer to ease these symptoms
- For up to 72 hours, you may experience mild discomfort and swelling. Over-the-counter pain medications can treat this, but do not take aspirin because it thins the blood, which can cause complications
- You may use an ice pack to lessen discomfort, bruising, and swelling, but place a thin cloth like a dishtowel between the ice pack and your skin and apply only in 5-minute intervals
- For 24 to 48 hours, we advise that you sleep on your back only, with your head somewhat elevated. This helps to lessen swelling and bruising
- You may experience some bruising, which is normal. You may use makeup over these areas (but wait 6 hours after treatment before applying). Bruises disappear within a few days
Before Your Next Treatment
- For 24-48 hours before treatment, avoid alcohol
- Eat a healthy snack before your treatment to lessen the chance of lightheadedness during the procedure, and avoid caffeine
- Come to your appointment with your face washed and without makeup
- This treatment has not been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding patients. It is your responsibility to inform our staff of your health status and to cancel or reschedule your appointment as needed
- You are responsible for telling your clinician of any health problems and all medications you are taking
- If you have a social or work commitment immediately following your scheduled treatment that will interfere with your recovery time, please reschedule your appointment