Do PRP Facial Injections AKA “Vampire Facials” Work?
Vampire Facials (using Platelet Rich Plasma) involves drawing blood from a patient's body, placing it in a centrifuge, then reapplying it to the face, supposedly to promote cell renewal.
Platelet-rich plasma has attracted attention in various medical fields including orthopaedics and dentistry for its wound healing ability. But does it really work for facial skin rejuvenation?
This is how it works! The doctor firstly spreads plasma on your face – they then use microneedling across your cheeks and forehead. Microneedling is when the doctor creates lots of tiny, superficial punctures in your skin to enable you to absorb the plasma. Arguably, vampire facials lead to increased collagen production in facial skin
PRP is a relatively new treatment modality – I would be interested to see if this treatment works well for scars, including acne scarring, given that the treatment is designed to heal wounds. Most academic literature covers scarring but does not cover increased collagen production.
They are a trend after all, the popularity can be traced to Kim Kardashian who later said "it was really rough and painful for me. It was honestly the most painful thing ever! It's the one treatment that I'll never do again."
Researching vampire facials was a reminder of how there is such a lack of information on Dr Google. is that when I look up cosmetic procedure articles and check the author credentials – the author is a beauty journalist. Beauty journalism is important us the harms that women have suffered to meet expectations of what is beautiful.
There has only been a few studies including objective data or explaining the mechanisms of PRP.
Consumers are ill-equipped to discern whether the doctor they choose for their cosmetic surgery is adequately trained to perform their procedure.
When weighing the pros and cons of a new beauty trend – keep in mind that most cosmetic professionals (doctors, nurses, surgeons) make A LOT of money out of beauty fads. The average cost of a vampire facial is about $1,500 – so that’s a lot of dough for doctors who are getting a lot of patients for this procedure. The cosmetic industry regulation is only skin deep – cosmetic doctors can sell almost anything without having to verify their claims – so it’s really important to do your research before getting a cosmetic treatment.
Because of the explosion in interest in cosmetic procedures – there has been an explosion in money hungry business people that don’t have patient interests at heart. Patients have been commodified. If you are a business-minded cosmetic doctor - you are going to sell that person everything you possibly can whether they need it or not, regardless of any other circumstance. I've heard cosmetic doctors and nurses claim that everyone over the age of 30 have at least one vampire facial per year and two a year for those over 40 - they say this even though there is no evidence that they actually do anything.
Vampire facials have the hallmarks of “quack medicine”. Patients think it’s safe and natural as you’re having nothing foreign come into your body. Following the logic that the more natural, the better, than you should have more red blood cells. However, Hemochromatosis is a disease in which too much iron builds up in the body and damages organs. Are people going to start injecting their poo into their face? This is extremely natural but dosen't make sense scientifically.
The good news from studies are from scientifically flawed studies. Reliable, randomized controlled trials are largely inconclusive. “The observed trend towards benefit with PRP use still remains questionable”. Moreover, the initial rigorous study testing the effectiveness of platelet injections finds they are no more effective than injecting saltwater.
Spending over $1500 every year or so on a vampire facial is a lot of money so you’re better off doing a procedure that has solid evidence where you can get the most bang for your buck.
Thanks for reading this blog post!
With more woman than ever opting to change their bodies - I have endeavoured to give my honest opinion on skincare and surgery as there are too many cowboy cosmetic salesmen trying to steal your hard-earned cash. After working in the plastic surgery industry, I got to see behind the hospital doors and see into the lives of the surgeons, the nurses and the patients!