Why Everyone's Talking About Platelet-Rich Plasma
As far as skin treatments go, there are dozens of eye-opening ingredients used to help promote better-looking skin. We’ve seen facials with snail slime, bee venom, bird poop, placenta and even your own blood. The latter, also known as the vampire facial, involves platelet-rich plasma therapy. But what began with the vampire facial has now expanded into “face lifts”, and more. Read on to learn more about platelet-rich plasma therapy and why everyone’s talking about it!
Have you ever thought of injecting plasma from your blood into your skin in the name of facial rejuvenation? We’ll take a wild guess and say no. But if you keep your finger on the pulse of all things beauty, you may want to reconsider. The vampire facial, also referred to as the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial, has swept the beauty sphere with celebrities, editors, and influencers alike taking the plunge over the past months. But recently, PRP has expanded beyond just facials. To help dissect the growing trend, we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dendy Engelman. Keep reading to learn more about “vampire facials”, “vampire face lifts”, and whether or not you’re a good candidate for the bloody procedures!
WHAT IS A VAMPIRE FACIAL?
How far are you willing to go for better-looking skin? If you’re not the squeamish kind, and pretty much up for anything, it’s time to get better acquainted with the vampire facial. The treatment sounds bloody, and it sure is, but it’s also not as intense as you may immediately assume. During a vampire facial, blood is drawn from the skin (typically from the arm), platelets are separated, and that plasma is then re-applied back into the patient’s face in conjunction with microneedling or microdermabrasion.
THE EVOLUTION OF PRP
Vampire facials drew a ton of attention to PRP, which has since expanded into the realm of injectables. That’s right, beyond just slathering your skin with platelets during a facial, some have opted for injecting it back into their skin, in a procedure dubbed as the “vampire face lift.” According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), platelet-rich plasma contains growth factors that claim to stimulate the growth of collagen and healthy skin cells, and in turn rejuvenate the look of skin. What’s more, a study published in 2011 found that PRP may have the potential to promote the remodeling of aged and photoaged skin as well. However, studies are still fairly new and limited.
WHO SHOULD TRY PRP?
If you’re interested in giving a vampire facial a try, talk to your dermatologist to determine whether or not you’re a good candidate. If you are considering a “vampire face lift,” the AAD warns that while it is a safe procedure, pain and bruising may occur. If you have a low pain tolerance, talk to your dermatologist about whether or not you’d be a good fit.
It’s also important to manage your expectations when it comes to PRP. According to the AAD, results from a “vampire face lift” can take weeks to months, and often multiple sessions are needed before improvement is seen. If you’re looking for additional volume, PRP injections are probably not the right pick. “I wouldn’t say it’s the new filler of choice because we don’t see much volumizing with it,” Dr. Engelman says. However, Dr. Engelman adds that PRP may be able to help with anti-aging and overall skin improvement.
A DERMATOLOGIST’S TAKE ON PRP
Now that we know more about PRP, we asked Dr. Engelman if she recommends the treatment to her patients. “I like PRP and offer it in my office,” she says. “People like it because it’s more natural, using only self-proteins to help correct the skin. In addition to injecting it into the skin, I have been coupling it with microneedling.” As a refresher, microneedling involves the act of using tiny needles on the skin to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself and grow new collagen. To learn more about the benefits of microneedling, read this!
Interested in taking the PRP plunge? Keep in mind that it’s going to take some time before you start seeing results. As mentioned, it often requires weeks to months of sessions to see improvement. Following the PRP sessions, it’s important to shield your delicate skin with a wide-brimmed hat and broad-spectrum sunscreen to ensure you’re protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. In addition, resist from wearing makeup or applying skin care products formulated with acids to avoid irritation.