Platelet Rich Plasma – PRP Therapy – Vampire Facial
This article is intended to provide comprehensive facts and answer commonly asked questions about platelet rich plasma therapy. In this article the terms platelet rich plasma, PRP and the Vampire Facial are used interchangeably:
An introduction to Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy:
PRP therapy was first developed, used and validated for orthopedic surgery with a body of clinical literature accumulated over more than thirty years. In this treatment, the healing platelets from blood plasma separated from a patient’s own blood are re-injected into the body to enhance healing.
Platelets are tiny blood cells that are important in the clotting process. As the clot is formed, the platelets release enzymes that promote healing and play a role in tissue regeneration by attracting stem cells to aid in the repair of a damaged area.
The same process is used in the Vampire Facial. The patient’s own blood is drawn, treated, and then the platelet-rich plasma is injected into the patient’s face. Injections are made into strategic areas to encourage skin healing and renewal through new collagen production and fresh skin cells full of human growth factors. This increase in collagen and growth factors creates a more youthful, plumper, and firmer appearing skin.
As a result of the Vampire Facial treatment, the patient’s skin is naturally refreshed with little downtime.
How the Vampire Facial works:
The Vampire Facial is a non-invasive treatment made up of small injections into targeted areas of the face. The injections are very small and similar to those used in Anti-wrinkle injections and dermal filler treatment.
Before any treatment, you will have a thorough consultation with your physician. This is your opportunity to discuss your goals and expectations for the treatment and he or she will ask about your medical history. Whether it is on the same day or at a future date, the treatment will follow the same steps:
1) Preparation: The treatment area is thoroughly cleansed and prepared.
2) Targeting injections: Your physician marks the areas on your face that need to be freshened or lifted with a special pencil that wipes away easily.
3) Blood draw: Your physician takes about 2 teaspoons of blood from your arm, in the same way you would have a regular blood test.
4) Isolating PRP: The drawn blood is placed in a centrifuge for 5 to 10 minutes. This equipment spins the blood at high speed to separate the lighter plasma from the rest of contents of the blood. This isolated platelet rich plasma is “activated” with calcium chloride to begin releasing growth factors that, once injected into the body, will increase collagen production and have other healing effects.
5) Topical anesthesia: If required or requested, your physician will apply a topical numbing cream to your face to keep you comfortable during your treatment.
6) Injection of PRP: The physician injects the separated and activated platelet rich plasma back into your face.
7) Repeat: Best results are obtained after about three treatments spaced about a month apart, though a single treatment can be effective for some individuals.
8) Watch and wait: Growth factors contained in the plasma stimulate the release of the skin’s stem cells. The skin is being tricked into believing that it has been injured and must heal itself with new, fresh tissue. This somewhat sneaky process allows the skin to create new collagen, new blood vessels, and new cells. The results will not be immediate, so while you patiently wait a few weeks and even a few months, your skin will begin to transform itself.
How long does a PRP treatment take?
An appointment for a PRP treatment will take about 30 minutes to one hour, though treatment time varies depending on the number of areas you are targeting.
Who is the ideal candidate for the Vampire Facial?
PRP therapy is autologous, which means it comes from one’s own body. Therefore, in theory, we should all be good candidates for this treatment if we want to improve the quality and appearance of our skin. Specifically, the Vampire Facial can be used to treat:
- Crow’s feet
- Dark circles around the eyes
- Fine lines around the mouth
- Dull, rough, or grey skin tone and texture
- Sun damaged skin
- Acne scarring
- Crepey skin in the eye, neck and décolletage areas
This procedure is not recommended for those with blood-related conditions, anemia, or blood or bone cancers. Patients who take blood thinning medication or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) should discontinue their medication for a few weeks prior to their treatment and for a few days afterwards according to physician instructions.
Recovery after PRP therapy
The Vampire Facial requires little recovery time. There may be redness and some tenderness on the first day that appears much like sunburn. Occasionally some bruising may occur. The initial redness will subside on the second day, and some patients then notice some swelling and a sandpaper texture to the skin the day after treatment. By the third day, the swelling should diminish. The sandpaper texture to the skin may persist for up to a week.
Though you may notice these changes, you will not likely have any significant downtime as a result of these symptoms. You can go back to your regular daily activities after your appointment and, with a light make-up application, no one will be the wiser about your procedure.
Results of PRP Therapy: What can I expect?
Within a few days patients begin to see noticeable results. Within 2 to 3 months, when the greatest benefit is seen, individuals report fully refreshed skin that looks and feels more youthful. These results can last between 1 to 2 years afterwards depending on the individual.
Caring for your rejuvenated skin
After your PRP therapy, skin hydration and sun protection are paramount. A daily skin care regime that includes a good quality moisturiser and multiple applications of sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher throughout the day is critical – especially in sunny Australia.
How is the Vampire Facial different from dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers are made from a substance that mimics what is naturally found under the skin and are like a gel that fills in lines and folds on the face. The body absorbs the product within 6 to 12 months, and a repeat treatment is then required.
PRP stimulates the body to create its own new collagen and tissue to create youthful volume and improve tone and texture. It can often be used in areas where dermal fillers are not safe. PRP treatment does not target individual lines and wrinkles but rather improves the overall quality of an area.
Cost of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
The average cost of a platelet rich plasma therapy treatment for cosmetic purposes is roughly $400- $1,000 depending on the area being treated.
Is the Vampire Facial right for you?
While the Vampire Facial has been a media darling, its popularity is not just hype. Early clinical data and positive patient reports indicate a strong future for PRP therapy. As with any cosmetic dermatologic treatment, a thorough consultation with our experienced physician Dr Melissa McCann who can answer all of your questions and give you information about this treatment and your other medical options is a must.