Written by Dr Marisa Heyns – MBChB (UCT), MSc Aesthetic Medicine and Therapeutics
The Vampire Facial has become synonymous with the Kardashians’ and other uber-conscious fashionistas’ beauty treatments. For most of the clients who know me, I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to trending treatments that create such hype, and rather refer to what science tells us. Fortunately, when it comes to platelet-rich plasma treatments, the science does not lie. And as an aesthetic practitioner with a passion for regenerative aesthetic treatments, I cannot promote the truly rejuvenating PRP facial treatments to my clients enough!
A background on PRP facial rejuvenation treatments
PRP treatments have become a popular choice among clients seeking to rejuvenate their skin in the most natural and chemically free manner possible. One of the reasons for this is because PRP injections involve the use of one’s own platelets found in our blood plasma, to initiate a truly innate regenerative process that will rejuvenate one’s skin tissues. Since the process involves the use of the individual’s own blood, there are no contraindications or adverse reactions that can take place, and is therefore one of the safest and most natural rejuvenation approaches available in aesthetics today.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) refers to the component of plasma which become concentrated with platelets when the blood is spun down in a centrifuge. With centrifugation red blood cells are separated from the plasma, platelets and white blood cells. Following a second centrifuge process, platelets are then further concentrated within the plasma.
How are PRP treatments performed (process)?
In preparation for this treatment, a small amount of blood (20ml) is drawn from the forearm and once collected, is spun in a special PRP centrifuge in order to separate the platelet-containing plasma from the red blood cells.
In the meantime, the area to be treated will be numbed with a topical anaesthetic ointment to ensure the treatment is as comfortable as possible.
Once the PRP is extracted, an aesthetic doctor injects the plasma into the skin via tiny skin pricks.
With our signature 3D MD PRP facial treatment, we include a the addition of hyaluronic acid into the injection process, as well as superficial microneedling with PRP at the end of the treatment, to ensure that all three areas of the skin is targeted in one intensive treatment.
How does PRP rejuvenate my skin?
Platelets are involved in various processes in our body. One of them is a vital process of wound healing. When platelets are activated at wound sites within the body, they release growth factors (chemical signalling molecules) that activate surrounding fibroblasts or ‘factory cells’ to produce new structural cells such as collagen and hyaluronic acid.
At the same time, chemical signalling mechanisms that are activated by the release of platelets and its constituents also cause the formation of new blood vessels in the area. This formation – called neovascularization – improves oxygen-enriched blood flow and nutrients to the area, thus optimizing the tissue environment allowing it to function optimally and look its best.
5 Benefits of PRP treatments
The benefits of Vampire facials are no secret, especially if you understand that platelet-rich plasma is the all-natural fountain of youth due to its ability to trigger the body’s healing and regenerative properties, boost the production of collagen and elastin, and rejuvenate the skin for a firmer, more youthful look.
But how does this work exactly?
1. Stimulates collagen and elastin production to strengthen & tighten thinning skin
Studies have shown that there are over 800 different types of proteins present in PRP. These proteins and growth factors can stimulate stem cells and improve cellular proliferation, differentiation, and regeneration. Platelet-rich plasma injections have therefore become an attractive option for skin rejuvenation and scar attenuation due to their ability to activate fibroblasts and trigger collagen production and other elements of the extracellular matrix.
2. Suitable for treating a range of skin concerns/conditions
The use of PRP for the treatment of hyperpigmentation (for example) is fast becoming increasingly popular, especially because this treatment can be done all year round (unlike skin lasers which we can only focus on in the cooler months).
PRP treatments are effective against more skin concerns than pigmentation though. PRP injections for acne, skin ageing, and sun damage have been very successful, especially with the addition of micro-needling with PRP. Why do we choose to include micro-needling with our Vampire facials?
Microneedling causes small channels of epidermal and dermal injury by puncturing the skin. The damaged collagen gets removed and new growth and remodelling occur. Because of the damage, fibroblasts and elastic fibers are activated and contribute to neovascularization and neocollagenesis. Microneedling the PRP into the superficial layers of the skin also ensures optimal penetration of the platelet-rich plasma
3. Suitable for treating a range of skin concerns/conditions
Unlike dermal fillers and botulinum toxin injections (for example), platelet-rich plasma injections involve the use of your own blood, a substance that already lives in harmony with your own body.
Due to injectable PRP being the star of the show, there are no contraindications or adverse reactions that can take place, and is therefore one of the safest and most natural rejuvenation approaches available in modern aesthetics today.
4. Long-lasting results that improve over time
Even though there will be more “immediate” results after a PRP facial treatment, such as improvement in the skin’s colour and texture, about 1 – 2 weeks post-treatment, the real results take a little longer to appear and continue to improve over time. This is because the stimulation and maturation of the new collagen in the skin will take up to 90 days; therefore, the best results can be expected about 3 months after the treatments.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment areas and concerns
As we now know, PRP therapy is no longer limited to sports injury- or joint pain management. There have been huge advances in PRP therapy for hair loss, as well as platelet-rich plasma injections for improved sexual wellness in both men and women.
PRP Scalp treatments for hair loss
Hair loss does not only affect men, but it is also a concern among women and can have a major negative psychological impact on one’s self-esteem. I have found that PRP treatments have shown amazing results in their ability to regenerate and optimize the function of existing hair follicles in the scalp to produce an increase in hair quantity and quality as well as reduce the rate of hair loss.
PRP Treatment for face, neck, décolletage, and hands
Performing this treatment on a daily basis, I am wowed, each time by the amazing transformation I see in my clients’ skin within a couple of weeks. PRP treatments aka ‘Vampire Facials‘ are excellent choices to use to improve the quality of the skin resulting in an improved complexion with even tone, hydration, and luminescence, as well as the improvement of superficial acne scars and pigmentation.
Intimate area PRP treatment
As women, we rarely discuss issues outside the bedroom, especially when it comes to our sexual health. But many women silently struggle with issues such as low libido, lack of moisture, and inability to achieve an orgasm. This could have a negative impact on how we feel about ourselves, especially in our most intimate moments. Treatments with PRP aka “The O shot” have been found to not only restore the normal vaginal tissues leaving them plump with improved lubrication but also improve sensitivity within the tissues.
PRP treatments for scars and stretch marks
As mentioned, platelets are vital in the process of wound healing. PRP can also play a role in the improvement if existing scars and stretchmarks – through increased collagen production, improved blood flow, and nourishment of the area.
Before and after Vampire Facial treatments: expectations, preparation, results & recovery
It is of utmost importance to discuss treatment expectations, desired results, prp treatment preparation, and the treatment recovery process with your specialist before you get started.
Expectations leading up to Dr Vampire Facial treatment (PRP facial):
Even though PRP facial treatments are suitable for most people, the best course of action before starting with any new skin care treatment plan is to undergo a professional consultation to ensure that the treatment recommendation is not just suitable, but ideal.
Risks and complications associated with Dr Vampire Facial treatments
If one is prone to fever blisters it is possible to experience a fever blister break out after any kind of skin needling due to inflammation present within the skin at the time.
Rare adverse effects such as severe post-treatment erythema, sterile pustules, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, severe skin peeling, and crusting can also be evident after a PRP facial.
Prolonged photosensitisation of the skin and severe erythema have been reported up to 14 days after PRP facial injections.
While the majority of people do not experience these complications after Vampire facials, it is important to be aware of these risks and discuss them with your treating specialist during your pre-treatment consultation.
Results to expect after PRP facial treatment
Even though there will be more “immediate” results after a PRP vampire facial, the real results take a little longer to appear and continues to improve over time. This is because the stimulation and maturation of the new collagen in the skin will take up to 90 days; therefore, the best results can be expected about 3 months after the treatments.
1 Week after a Vampire facial, the skin will start to look more radiant, healthy, and plump.
Over the next 3 months, the visible results of a vampire facial can include a reduction in wrinkles and fine lines, a more even skin tone and texture, improved skin radiance, and more youthful, rejuvenated skin.
Recovery and aftercare for PRP facial treatment
After a vampire facial treatment (PRP Facial) it is important to avoid the sun for 48 hours while continuing to apply a good sunscreen (SPF 50) daily. We also highly recommend avoiding the intake of any inflammatory medicines for at least 2 weeks post-prp to allow for optimal collagen formation.
Over the first few days post-treatment, the skin might look and feel a little swollen, and there might be bruising around the injection sites. This is a normal reaction thought, and PRP facial recovery usually happens fairly quickly, especially if all the PRP facial aftercare advice from your treating specialist is adhered to.
Follow-up treatments to maintain and improve skin
The results of a vampire facial generally last around 6 – 12 months and therefore additional treatments are required to maintain results.
The ideal treatment cycle includes 3 – 4 PRP facial treatments separated by 3 – 4 weeks. After commencing with treatments, continued improvement of the results will be visible for about 6 months after the last treatment. Following this, we recommend maintenance treatments every 3 – 4 months should you be serious about skin rejuvenation instead of just maintenance.
Final thoughts on Dr Vampire Facial treatments
PRP treatments will always be one of our most recommended and loved non-surgical skin, hair, and tissue rejuvenation procedures, but it is important to ensure that it is always done by a trained and experienced medical professional who has the correct equipment and has been certified to perform the procedure.
To see if vampire facials and PRP injections are the ideal rejuvenation solution for your concerns, book a consultation with one of our Aesthetic Doctors, and start your own aesthetic couture journey to uplifted confidence today.
Written by Dr. Marisa Heyns