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What Exactly Is A 'Vampire' Facial?

vampire facial

Just when you think you've heart it all in the realm of beauty and skincare, another trend pops up to shock and surprise us all. This time it's the Vampire Facial, also known as a a platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) treatment. Photos of this procedure have made the rounds on social media, with celebrities showing their bizarre selfies, piquing the interest of many of us sitting at home. So what exactly is a vampire facial?

How it Works

The idea behind this treatment is that the plasma from the blood, once reintroduced into the body, will promote restoration. Blood is taken from the individual and spun to separate the plasma. The plasma is then injected back into the face of the person with a microneedle. The plasma is theorized to stimulate the body into producing more collagen, leading to an improved and refreshed dermatological appearance.

Before having the procedure, like many other cosmetic procedures, clients are asked to stay away from anything that might increase bruising like coffee, certain medications, and alcohol. Because of this, any good place of business won't let you walk in and get the procedure. You should go in for a consult (often offered free-of-charge) where you can ask questions and then book your procedure. Before you have a vampire facial, be sure to ask these pre-procedure questions.

The vampire facial has made a splash in recent times, with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian promoting having had the procedure done.

Benefits

Although this sounds and looks like something a little on the wild side, there have been numerous studies on PRP treatments and it's role in healing and and repairing the skin. A 2018 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found these treatments to be effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars. They have also been used in the treatment of sports injuries.

What makes this method of treatment particularly appealing is that it uses something derived from the body rather than some external compound, which makes it seem like a far more natural option than many other cosmetic beauty treatments. For those who may not be on board with injectables and other invasive treatments, the vampire facial may be viewed as a reasonable alternative. One that uses the body's own resources to stimulate it to repair itself.

Risks

Although some of the PRP treatments are considered safe and even cleared by the FDA, the vampire facial itself is not included in that designation. The vampire facial is a purely cosmetic procedure, and is not really regulated. There are many medical and health professionals that are doubtful regarding it's safety and effectiveness, and encourage more research and strict rules to go into practitioners.

Probably the biggest risk involved with this procedure is the potential for blood-borne illness. In 2018, a New Mexico spa that provided this treatment was the center of an HIV infection scare. Two clients who received the procedure at the VIP Spa ended up contracting the HIV virus, and the New Mexico Department of Health issued an alert for those who had gone to the spa to get tested themselves. The alert stressed the importance of finding a licensed practitioner, and asserted the risks of getting a procedure that could result in blood-borne infection. Consumers of the spa during the time period identified as a risk were urged to get testing for HIV, and Hepatitis B and C.

However this is an example of errors in sterilization and sanitation techniques causing a problem. Whenever going to get any procedure done, you should always do your research. The hope is that if a spa is offering these treatments, they know what they are doing when it comes to proper sterilization procedures to protect the health of all clients and practitioners.

Cost

The cost of this procedure varies by location. A recent article posted by Groupon claims that these procedures may be in the range of $900 to $2500, with an average price point of $1500. However if you are in the market for a more natural rejuvenation method, this may not seem like a huge cost.

Recovery Time

Clients are generally asked to rince off the PRP 12-24 hours after the procedure. Using a gentle cleanser and the follow up with a good broad-specturm SPF moisturizer to protect the skin while it's healing. The healing time generally takes about 5-7 days, but differs so always ask your technician.

Ultimately, the vampire facial is like most medical procedures. It's important to do your research and to weight the pros and cons, and doubly important to find a recommended credible professional.

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