Many women (and a few men) are seeking treatment for younger looking skin.
And, you may have heard of micro-needling as one facial treatment option. It’s a good one…but:
What you may be less familiar with is the PRP facial, commonly known as a vampire facial.
But, as many celebrities sing the praises of the vampire facial, you’re probably wondering what it is, how it works and how much it costs. You might also be curious about what facial skin conditions the vampire facial is commonly used for, as well as other questions such as recovery times.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting younger-looking skin that’s tighter and carries a more balanced tone and investigating a vampire facial is a good choice.
Other skin treatment options include topical treatments and/or injecting foreign substances into your body and/or even steroids use, which has been found to actually damage skin over time.
So, considering a facial treatment option that uses your body’s own healing power makes good sense.
You probably have lots of questions about PRP & micro-needling. We’re pretty sure you want to know what the vampire facial is, how it is different than a vampire facelift and how the treatment works. You’re probably also curious about Plasma Rich Platelet (PRP) and how it’s used for facial rejuvenation.
We’re here to help!
Who Should Consider a PRP & Micro-Needling Facial?
If you’re noticing common signs of aging, you’re probably a candidate for PRP & micro-needling.
Here are the most common problems that men and women want to address:
- Stretch marks. Although most of us think of stretch marks around the back and abdomen, the face is another area where stretch marks may be visible. This can be from pregnancy, significant weight loss.
- Fine lines and wrinkles. Facial wrinkles and fine lines are most commonly a natural part of the aging process, but can also be caused by too much sun, rapid weight loss or gain, pollution, lack of sleep, stress, too much sugar, squinting and even consistently drinking through a straw.
- Whether from a medical procedure or wrecking your bike, facial scar elimination is a common request for PRP & micro-needling.
- Uneven skin tone. This is often caused by too much sun exposure, but can also be caused by environment and stress.
- Uneven skin texture. This is usually caused by an excessive buildup of dead skin in specific areas of the face.
- Acne scarring. This is the most common reason that patients request micro-needling & PRP.
Although each of these is somewhat unique, what they share is the ability to be healed with PRP and micro-needling.
You can read more about the combination of micro-needling and PRP in this Medline article.
What is micro-needling?
One component of the vampire facial is micro-needling. During this process, a micro-needling device is used to make tiny punctures in the area of your face that’s being treated.
These punctures, like tiny injuries, stimulate collagen and elastin production at the injection sites.
Prior to the treatment, we apply a topical numbing crème, so you might feel the pressure of the tiny needles puncturing your face, but nothing worse.
Why Does Micro-Needling Work?
Micro-needling works because it stimulates your body to produce more collagen and elastin.
Collagen (from the Greek word “kola” which means glue) is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is found in the skin, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, eyes and teeth. It is quite simply the glue that keeps our parts and pieces together.
You can think of collagen like fibers in a rope.
There are 4 types of collagen:
- Type 4 is the collagen that helps with body filtration. This type is found in your skin layers.
- Type 3 collagen supports muscle, organ and blood vessel structures.
- Type 2 is the most loosely packed of the collagen fibers and is found in cartilage.
- Type 1 is the tightly packed collagen and makes up over 90% of the collagen found in your body, including in skin, bones, teeth, etc.
Elastin, on the other hand, is found in much smaller quantities in your body. Elastin, like elastic, helps your body to return to its shape after stretching. A woman’s ability to mostly return the shape of her belly following pregnancy is the result of elastin.
Elastin also helps the stomach return to its natural size following the digestion of a heavy meal.
How Does the Micro-Needling Process Work?
Prior to the treatment, we apply a topical numbing cream, so you might feel the pressure of the tiny needles puncturing your face, but nothing worse.
After about 30 minutes, your face is comfortably numb.
Using the micro-needling device, we make lots of tiny punctures in your skin.
During the procedure and for a couple days afterward, we ask that you not wear any makeup and also avoid anything but gentle facial cleaning and very light moisturizers. Although your face may be sensitive, much like if you had a sunburn, the air helps the collagen and elastin do their job.
Many women see profound results in less than a handful of sessions, then return quarterly for maintenance sessions thereafter.
How Is PRP Different Than Micro-Needling?
Unlike micro-needling where the process includes many tiny needle punctures with nothing added to your face, PRP actually uses your own blood and more specifically your platelets, to speed up your body’s own healing and rejuvenation processes.
What is PRP?
PRP stands for Plasma Rich Platelets.
In your blood are 3 ingredients for PRP purposes. These platelets are divided into 3 groups- plasma rich, plasma poor and red blood cells. The red blood cells and plasma poor platelets are discarded after your blood is placed in a centrifuge and spun at high speed for a couple minutes.
We draw a vial of blood from your arm to use for only your treatment and this is the blood that is spun in the centrifuge.
Once the plasma rich platelets are ready, they are injected into the areas of your face where you desire treatment.
Because platelets stimulate healing and new cell growth, the treatment area is stimulated into a rapid growth and healing phase.
The One Two Combination
We frequently recommend both procedures to patients.
One reason for this is that we like that healing, new cell creation and increased collagen and elastin production is happening in multiple skin layers at the same time.
A second reason is that we see greater overall results when these two procedures are done at the same time for facial rejuvenation.
Patients often report that their facial skin feels and looks tighter when using both therapies versus only their micro-needling treatments in the past.
The combination of speed to results and depth of therapy makes PRP and micro-needling a great one-two combination.
How is a PRP Facial Different than a PRP Facelift?
We also offer the PRP Facelift.
The big difference between the PRP facial and PRP facelift is that micro-needling is not used for a PRP facelift.
Instead, we inject fillers to add body and smooth out uneven areas on your face. We only use the best, longest lasting fillers.
Typically, it will take less than a handful of appointments to get your desired results.
What Do I Need to Do After My PRP & Micro-Needling Treatment?
The aftercare following a PRP & micro-needling appointment is very simple.
First, your skin will be sensitive and unusually red, like with a sunburn.
You’ll want to stay out of the sun, skip the swimming pool and avoid makeup for a couple days.
It’s also best that you skip hard exercise, if only because wiping sweat off of your very sensitive skin will hurt.
We prefer that you use a very mild facial soap and a light moisturizer, if any.
After a couple days, your skin will become less and less sensitive, but it may stay a bit more red than usual with all of the healing and construction going on.
Most people return to normal activities in a couple days and start noticing the effects soon thereafter.
Depending on the treatment type and area of coverage, you may need more than one session to complete your skin rejuvenation plan.
How are These Treatments Different than Hyaluronic Acid Facials & Other Facial Treatments?
Unlike vampire facials and facelifts, most facial treatments, including hyaluronic acid facials, are mostly topical and don’t truly enter the deeper layers of the skin. Because of this, they tend to have very short-term lasting effects.
Our skin is already covered with hyaluronic acid. This compound is what allows our skin to retain moisture. During a hyaluronic acid facial, a hyaluronic acid cream is added to your face, then allowed to sit for a few minutes. A minor amount of the cream is absorbed into the top layer of your skin. So, there is a short-term noticeable benefit.
But, because only the top layer, the skin that is preparing to die and fall off, is involved, the impact is short term, despite the cost of the treatment.
This is our same opinion on all of the topical facial treatments. Unless you involve the deeper layers of the skin, you won’t see lasting benefits.
Can PRP & Micro-Needling Make Me Sick?
Unfortunately, there has been a case where people have been infected during a PRP procedure. In the case we are aware of, an unlicensed, untrained person was providing treatments in less than sterile conditions.
As medical professionals, we join the rest of the medical community on condemning this person. This is professionally and personally unacceptable.
In one case, a spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico infected at least two patients with HIV. According to news reports, the aesthetician who was running the business was not licensed and was using very poor and unsafe practices.
This would be virtually impossible at any reputable medical facility, including ours, since all of the equipment used, including the needles, is discarded or sterilized after each use.
Health Department officials were able to close the spa, but hundreds of patients now have to undergo HIV hepatitis testing as a result of one spa owner apparently trying to save a couple dollars on disposable equipment.
However, if you decide to schedule your vampire facial with a practitioner other than us, please take the time to confirm their licensure and check out their online reviews first.
What are Other Things I Can Do to Protect the Skin on My Face?
It’s not really true that we only get one skin, since it regenerates itself. But, what we do only get is one regeneration schedule. Early in life, our skin cells reproduce at a dizzying rate. As we age, this process naturally slows.
Where trouble starts is with how we care for or don’t care for the skin that we have.
Here are a few simple things that you can do to help your skin continue to look and feel great long after your PRP treatment:
- Minimize your sun exposure. Enjoying the sun is a passion for most people, especially in the summertime. But, without protection, the sun will damage your skin’s ability to regenerate itself. A little sunblock and a hat that shades your face are simple protections.
- Think about what and how you eat. It’s not obvious how diet affects our skin, other than maybe when we add a few pounds and our skin is stretched (thanks, elastin!). But, processed foods, high alcohol content, high sugar intake, low protein, vegetable and fruit intake are all ways to damage your skin’s healing and regeneration processes. Eat right and drink lots of water.
- Stress less, sleep more. High stress is a skin killer. So is not getting enough sleep. By working hard to reduce stress and getting enough rest, we allow our body to function at it’s optimized best.
- Go easy on the lotions and potions. Despite what the labels might say, most lotions and potions aren’t very good for our skin. In fact, most block our skin pores, reducing oxygen flow, blocking moisture absorption and trapping dead skin cells. If you must use creams, look for light and truly organic creams and understand that the benefits of any are minimal.
We’re ready to get started on your healthy new, young looking face as soon as you are. Give us a call and schedule your free consultation where we’ll review your medical history, treatment options, costs and any questions that you might have.
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