The step-by-step guide to vampire facials
1. The collection of blood
The process begins much like a normal blood test would (and not like a victim in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – those with a fine line or two should be old enough to remember this TV series 😉).
A practitioner or medical assistant will use a needle and vile to withdraw approximately 2 teaspoons (or anything between 5 and 15ml) of blood, from a vein in the arm. The vial is then sealed, ready for the next step which takes place directly afterwards (there is no middle man handling your blood).
2. Centrifuge (PRP concentration)
The blood sample is then placed in a centrifuge (a machine that places an object in rotation around a fixed axis). The machine isolates the platelets, forming the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) concentration.
Platelets are activated to release the growth factors during this process, stimulating their normal function properties for the healing of tissues. Many practitioners may even refer to the created product as ‘liquid gold’. The centrifuge process typically takes place within approximately 15 minutes while both the practitioner and patient wait.
There are some practitioners who put a patient’s blood through a second centrifuge process in order to achieve a super concentrated PRP extract. The reason this is done is to gain even more growth factors in the concentration for the patient’s benefit which helps to achieve the best results in the shortest time possible.
In the meantime, a patient’s skin will be cleansed, ready for the treatment application process. A light numbing agent (cream or ointment) is applied to a patient’s face or other treatment area before the micro needling device is used.
The device (DermaPen, DermaRoller or similar treatment device) gently creates tiny needle wounds (holes) in the skin. A practitioner will gently glide the device over the area to be treated, in order to penetrate the outer layers of the skin (epidermis), approximately 2mm deep. It is this needling and the depth of it that results in the redness and swelling of the skin, which will require a handful of days to normalise (although any inflammation and swelling experienced is generally mild).
The process of needling before applying the serum activates the build-up of collagen beneath the skin being treated. The stimulation of collagen quickly improves fine lines, skin texture and scars, priming the treatment area for the next step.
4. Now the ‘bloody’ bit
The areas being treated (face, neck, décolletage etc. which can all be safely done in one session if desired) will be coated with the now developed PRP concentration, through a re-needling back into the skin. Ah, so not all that horrific then… and it’s not a painful experience either.
The growth factors get to work quickly, stimulating multi-potent stem cells which already exist in the skin. This ‘tricks’ the cells into ‘thinking’ the skin surface is injured (triggering an acceleration of the healing cascade) and the generation of new tissue. The skin responds to this acceleration action by plumping up and thickening, getting to work on those wrinkles, lines or scars.
Skin will begin to feel tighter shortly after the session as its texture, colour and tone start to adjust. Skin will feel softer too and will progressively improve in the weeks to come.
Post treatment care
The treatment does come with a little immediate discolouration (redness) and skin sensitivity, but the session isn’t a casting for the next scream film and you will not look like you’ve been attacked or be blood-soaked and gory. The colloquial name of this facial is somewhat more ‘brutal’ than the process and immediate aftermath actually is.
If any PRP remains, the concentrated extract will be used to ‘sterilise’ the areas of skin being treated (it all gets massaged into the treatment site). This helps to reduce skin redness and swelling. No further creams or ointments are generally necessary following the facial.
Pinkish/red discolouration typically resolves within 24-hours, and sometimes during the second day following the procedure. With the treatment being completely topical and a lack of other substances used, no down-time is required, and a normal skin care routine (including make-up application) can be resumed after 48 hours. Usually , healing is relatively quick, and the skin should start returning to normal within 1 to 4 days (depending on one’s skin sensitivity level).
For those with particularly sensitive skin, some bruising may occur (especially in more delicate areas like the skin around the eyes). This does tend to be mild and resolves within 7 to 10 days following treatment. Any scabs which develop should not be picked at or scrubbed off – skin is sensitive during the healing period so removing scabs can cause scarring or pigmentation problems. Some may experience mild peeling of the skin. This should also not be picked at for the same reasons.
Any side-effects experienced that are unusual or unexpected, such as burning sensations, pain, bleeding or even numbness, should be evaluated by a medical doctor as soon as possible. It is highly unusual for an individual to develop an allergic reaction or experience an infection due to improperly cleaned tools and equipment. The treating practitioner should also be notified should any adverse reactions be experienced, (if assessment and medical treatment is not sought from the practitioner who administered the facial).