When it comes to weird and outrageous skin care, I’m the first to sign up. Not only is testing new products and treatments part of my job as a beauty editor, I truly enjoy it. Skin care is my jam! So, when vampire facials became popular (thanks to Kim Kardashian West), I was immediately intrigued. First of all, I love a spa treatment, but a kind of facial that sounds like something Elvira would get? I would come running as fast as I could. I am a goth at heart, after all. So, when the cosmetic procedure website RealSelf invited me to try a vampire facial, I was more than down to do it. But, it wasn’t until later I realized what a vampire facial would actually entail. My actual blood being procured from my body and going back into my face?! What in the name of Sarah Michelle Gellar did I get myself into?
First of all, WTF is a vampire facial?
A vampire facial is a combination of microneedling and PRP. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a concentrate of platelet-rich plasma protein derived from the whole blood after it has been processed by spinning in a centrifuge to remove the red cells. The PRP has a greater concentration of growth factors than the whole blood. And growth factors are what our cells make that can help tissue heal and repair, which means it can help with all sorts of skin issues.
The procedure would be done by Beverly Hills surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken and not an actual vampire, so I knew I would be in good hands. Dr. Moelleken says that the treatment has become more popular in recent years especially with patients who are looking into more natural ways of rejuvenating their face or body, without using Botox or fillers. It is also used for hair loss.
Aside from the novelty of having a Dracula-inspired skin treatment done, the benefits of the PRP facial appealed to me. The PRP injections can help stimulate collagen. Combined with microneedling, the treatment can result in scar reduction, correction of sun damage, and minimizing fine lines and pores. And because the PRP is coming out of your own bod, there are no risk of side effects! However, patients who have blood disorders or take blood thinners should skip this type of procedure.
Before the treatment
To prepare, I was told to drink a lot of water the night before (no booze), not have coffee (how dare they) and eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. I also wasn’t allowed to take any kind of aspirin or blood thinners.
First, they applied numbing cream to my entire face. After 30 minutes or so, I couldn’t feel my face.
I’m not usually squeamish when it comes to needles, but it did feel weird to have my blood drawn at a place that wasn’t my regular doctor’s office, and for something other than blood work for a physical. The vial with my blood was then placed in a centrifuge where the plasma gets separated from the red cells.
Then came the injections! Dr. Moelleken began to inject the high concentration plasma into my face. This took several minutes. Even though my face was mostly numb, I did feel a bit of the needle go through my skin, but I remained chill.
Look at me with my hands folded trying to act cool. In my head, I was like bishh, what the hell are you doing with your life right now?
After the injections came the microneedling, which ended up being the more gory part of the facial. The whole treatment can take about 45 minutes to an hour, but at this point I had no concept of time. Who was I?
Immediately after the facial, my face looked straight out of The Walking Dead. And it felt hot, like I had a sunburn. NOT CUTE. I was instructed to wash the blood off my face with a gentle face wash when I got home.
After the Vampire Facial
I wasn’t able to do my usual skin care regimen for a few days after the facial. I had to use a gentle face wash (I used Sonya Dakar Sensi Face Wash) and a hydrating moisturizer — nothing too thick — so I used Tatcha The Water Cream. My skin was insanely red, even after washing the blood off. However, that didn’t stop me from going to Eataly that night and indulging in some carbs. I deserved it, quite frankly.
The next few days of recovery
The fun part was scaring my friends with my photos. The not-so-fun part was that I couldn’t wear makeup, which was tough, especially because my skin was still beet red for two days after the procedure. I just wanted to dip my entire head in concealer. I had to stay out of the sun, so when I went on a picnic with my BFF, I made sure to keep my face covered with two parasols. So goth!
My face was also super dry and tight. I used a hydrating sheet mask at night but it still felt like all of my blood was sucked out of my face by…a vampire!
Breaking out and getting bruised
By day three, my skin began to break out. She was ANGRY. I had whiteheads along the side of my face and a giant zit that I thought had gone away but came back with a vengeance. I still wasn’t able to wear makeup. I was also BRUISED! This was some intense shit.
The light at the end of the tunnel
After the fifth day, my skin tone and texture was pretty much back to normal, though I had a new giant zit (named Bertha). I did notice that my face looked brighter and that some sun spots were lighter. The results of the PRP facials are supposed to be really noticeable after multiple sessions, so I’d be curious if my acne scars could really be erased with regular procedures. Dr. Moelleken says a series of three treatments set up a month apart would yield significant results. After that, maintenance treatments every three to six months are recommended.
The cost for the treatment I had (which was done for me free) is usually $1000 to $1300 for both the PRP injections and microneedling. Just the microneedling with the PRP costs $800.
Watch me get the Vampire Facial here:
Would I do it again?
If I were someone with a ballin’ budget and had the type of lifestyle that allowed me that kind of recovery time, I would try it again. I’d be curious to see the results of having multiple treatments. However, us broke betches should probably stick to regular facials and our AHAs. Still, it was an interesting experience and I enjoyed scaring people with my photos.