Kim did it
By Jamil Asaria MD FRCSC
As if seeing Kim Kardashian without makeup isn’t scary enough, last week, we saw images of her on Kourtney and Kim Take Miami with a red, oozy face after undergoing a Vampire Facial…
Was Count Dracula on to something? Is blood the secret fountain of youth?
While platelet rich plasma (PRP) is not new (it has been used for various applications ranging from bone healing to muscle repair for over 10 years), its application in facial plastic surgery is a more recent phenomenon.
The most commonly recognized use of PRP is associated with the product Selphyl. This treatment, known as the Vampire Facelift, involves drawing a few teaspoons of blood from your arm, spinning it in a centrifuge, and then injecting the purified platelets and serum into the furrows and valleys of your face.
While PRP is a promising treatment in theory, there are very few studies supporting its efficacy or long-term benefit.
Kim Kardashian’s Vampire Facial takes the application of PRP one step more superficial. Instead of injecting it deeply into wrinkles such as the nasolabial fold or tear troughs, it is injected right underneath the skin’s surface with hundreds of little needle pokes. The promise: skin that has a healthier, rejuvenated glow.
What are the upsides of a Vampire facial?
- It uses your own body’s PRP—a completely natural substance that comes from you.
- PRP has been shown to promote wound healing in certain applications and it might have some rejuvenating properties
What are the downsides of a Vampire Facial?
- The treatment definitely has significant downtime. Expect some bruising and scabbing to last for at least three to four days, as well as a lot of post-treatment redness that can last for a full week.
- The results are pretty much unproven. While in theory PRP can have some rejuvenating properties, there is no data that injecting it under the skin does anything at all. Furthermore, the longevity of any improvement is completely unknown.
- For a facial treatment, it doesn’t come cheap. A vampire facial will set you back approximately $1500
As a patient you need to ask your doctor or surgeon about the science behind the treatment that you are signing up for. Today’s fad might end up becoming a proven treatment in the future; but on the other hand, it might also go the way of the 8-track player.
Unless you are an explorer, for facial rejuvenation, stick to proven therapies. Time tested procedures such as fat grafting, chemical peels, injectable fillers, and neuromodulators like Botox and Xeomin have proven track records. Thousands of patients have been treated and there are hundreds of studies demonstrating their safety and efficacy. Newer skin treatments such as Fractora (fractionated radio-frequency skin tightening) have also been studied in clinical trials and show proven benefits for tightening and collagen production. You are probably much better off sticking to one of these procedures. At the end of the day, that’s why it’s important to find a trusted facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist who can help to guide the way.
About the Author Jamil Asaria MD FRCSC is a Facial Plastic Surgeon and director at FACE Cosmetic Surgery. Asaria also lectures at the Division of Facial Plastic Surgery at the University of Toronto.