I have never really feared needles. And I cope just fine with the sight of blood. But the thought of drawing my own blood and reinjecting it into my skin did seem a little crazy. And this, very simply described, is exactly what is done when you get the famous “Vampire Facial” or PRP treatment.
WHAT IS A VAMPIRE FACIAL?
Kim Kardashian made the treatment infamous when gory images of her blood smeared face flooded social media a few years ago.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a technology that uses ingredients of your own blood which can help rejuvenate and regenerate your skin. Done correctly you likely won’t have the blood smeared face, since plasma is an almost clear liquid and if the microneedling isn’t too deep you won’t bleed excessively.
PRP is rich in growth factors that can mimic the body’s natural wound healing process. In fact, a few years ago when Jill tore a calf muscle, she received a similar treatment to help repair her injury. During the Vampire Facial process, the skin is “wounded” with needling. The PRP is forced into the skin and helps to increase collagen, elastin and new blood vessels, and damaged skin is repaired and regenerated.
The procedure can be used for skin rejuvenation on the face, neck and décolletage to smooth lines and restore glowing skin. It can also help minimise sun damage, stretch marks and acne marks, and is known to be effective as a hair loss treatment.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?
A small amount of blood is drawn from your arm. The blood is placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood to separate the platelet rich plasma (PRP) from the other components in the blood. The PRP is then injected or needled into the skin. The procedure from arrival to finish takes about an hour.
See the whole procedure, performed by Dr Elfrieda Fourie from Anti-aging Art in Johannesburg in our video. Dr Fourie explains how the PRP treatment works and gives great advice on skincare in general.
IS A VAMPIRE FACIAL PAINFUL?
Anti-aging Art applied numbing cream to the treatment areas beforehand. The microneedling itself is not painful but not entirely comfortable. Your skin feels quite hot during the treatment. This is as a result of the controlled inflammation caused by the “wounds”. The injections around my eyes at the end of the treatment were quite painful. If you are worried about pain, you may ask to skip this part.
Your skin feels tight and hot for most of the day of the treatment. It was red immediately after the treatment but actually got worse after about 2 hours as a result of the inflammatory response. This subsides completely by the next day as does most of the redness.
You have to keep the PRP on your face for a full day so you can’t wear makeup. The effective “down time” is 24 hours.
WAS IT WORTH IT?
I saw results within 24 hours of my treatment. The texture of my skin was much smoother and the colour much brighter. Within 10 days, there was even more improvement. Don’t expect “plumping” like with Botox or Filler. The results are more focussed on texture and colour of the skin. I also saw improvement in pigmentation.
There are some obvious risks involved with the treatment. Needling too deep with inferior tools will damage your skin severely. Make sure you go to a reputable aesthetic doctor for the treatment. There are also different kinds of Vampire Facials. The one I underwent, Diamond PRP, is very scientific, and includes activator kits to ensure that the PRP is in an absorbable form and produces the best possible results.
The treatment is unsurprisingly, given the technology used, quite expensive. My treatment cost R4700 and included my face, neck and décolletage. Recommended repeat treatments are every 4 months.
After the success of Michelle’s Diamond PRP treatment at Anti-aging Art, I decided to go for a consultation. I was looking for an anti-aging treatment to improve fine lines and the texture of the skin on my face, neck and décolletage, and to generally regain some “glow”. I especially wanted to reduce the signs of damage caused by the sun, and a kettle of boiling water, to my décolletage. The PRP treatment was recommended and the date was set.
Unlike Michelle, I HATE needles so I was rather dreading the treatment. But, no pain no gain right? When I got to the clinic I instructed them to be extremely generous with the numbing cream, which they were. This was probably the weirdest sensation for me during the entire procedure. It’s like the dentist injection spreading to the rest of your face. Don’t try drinking anything.
Once my face was numb, it was time for the procedure. I’m pleased, and relieved, to report It wasn’t bad at all. I felt almost zero discomfort and before I could squeeze my stress ball, it was over and done! I must note that I didn’t have the painful eye injections that Michelle had. The doc advised me to “put my oversized sunnies on, head down and go straight home”. Good advice when I finally caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
As expected, I was extremely inflamed immediately post treatment. This subsided pretty quickly and within an hour, I would actually have been able to go out in public not looking like a monster.
The great thing is that as Michelle also experienced, you see visible results the next day. My skin definitely had a more “youthful glow” to it despite not having slept a wink the night before. (The dreaded night before our weekly newsletter).
The texture of my décolletage has probably improved most significantly to me. I have also noticed an, albeit subtler, reduction in the signs of sun damage. It was recommended that I go a tad sooner for a follow-up session in order to optimize my results.
Would I recommend this? Well, I’ve already booked my suggested follow-up session because I’m dead keen to see the additional benefits I get after a 2nd session.
Want to find out if this treatment is for you?
Contact Anti-aging Art to book a consultation:
Tel: +2711 483 0881
Email: [email protected]
52 Central Street,
This article was originally published on 9 May 2019 and updated on 21 November 2019 to include Jill’s experience.
THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. THE TREATMENTS WERE PAID FOR BY MYSELF AND JILL.
(RELATED POST: The treatment that took 10-years off my neck)