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Looking for a fresh way to rejuvenate your skin? Microneedling with PRP also known as a “Vampire Facial” may sound like a scary way to dress up on Halloween, but it is actually a cosmetic treatment that can give your face the youthful glow you may be looking for. 

A “vampire facial” is a minimally invasive cosmetic enhancement that combines two existing techniques, microneedling and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy. Microneedling involves pricking the skin with tiny needles to treat various skin concerns while PRP uses the patient’s own blood to promote healing and turn the clock back on aging skin. 

“The best thing about a ‘vampire facial’ is the healthy, vibrant glow that it creates on your skin,” describes Daniel Demesh, MD, a plastic surgeon at Summit Health with offices in Manhattan. “The benefits include more youthful appearing skin and a reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, sun spots, acne scars, or uneven skin tones.”

Microneedling started in the late 1990s as a way to treat acne scars. Combining the technique with PRP first came into the spotlight in 2013 when Kim Kardashian shared a post about her “vampire facial” experience on social media. Microneedling with PRP is one of the many tools Dr. Demesh uses to refresh and restore the skin. At Summit Health, our board-certified plastic surgeons can tailor a treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. Dr. Demesh discusses what to expect at a “vampire facial,” why the process shouldn’t be painful, and how long the effects last. 

What happens at a “vampire facial”?

First, the skin on the face is cleansed and numbing cream is applied. The microneedling device is then placed on the face and inserts very small needles on the skin anywhere from .25 to 2.5mm deep. By creating small puncture holes in the skin, microneedling stimulates the body's own repair pathway leading to increased collagen and elastin formation — proteins found in the skin that give it texture and shape. 

The microneedling process is then followed by PRP therapy to supercharge the skin's repair process. The PRP treatment is derived from the patient's own blood, which is drawn using an IV and then placed in a centrifuge to isolate platelets and special growth factors. This concentrated liquid is then applied onto the face. The tiny holes from the microneedling treatment allow the liquid to absorb deep into the skin’s surface where collagen is made.

How long does it take?

The entire procedure takes about an hour. This includes time to properly cleanse the skin and apply numbing cream. 

Who should consider getting a “vampire facial”? 

Anyone looking to improve the appearance of their skin can benefit from this treatment combination. Unlike many laser treatments, “vampire facials” or microneedling with PRP application is safe for all skin types. 

Is it painful?

If numbing cream is applied properly, it will minimize any discomfort. Patients can return to their normal routine immediately after the procedure if they follow the proper skin care routine and avoid sun exposure.

Are there any side effects? What does the skin look like right after the procedure? 

Most patients will experience redness, swelling, and dryness of the skin for about three to five days that is like a mild sunburn.

How long do the benefits of a “vampire facial” last?

We recommend a minimum of three sessions spaced four to six weeks apart for your initial series to achieve the best results. The effects can last anywhere from three to six months depending on your age, sun exposure, and skincare routine. For the best results, we recommend a maintenance regimen of one to two sessions per year. If you are planning to undergo the treatment in preparation for an event, schedule your facial two to three weeks before for optimal timing.

Should anyone not get the procedure? 

Patients with blood clotting disorders, history of abnormal wound healing, eczema, and other skin conditions should avoid this treatment. 

Anything else patients should know?

Patients should consult a board-certified plastic surgeon who they trust. Together, you can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will help you best meet your goals.