The sight of blood has always made me queasy.
Once, when I was about 12, it also made me faint. I like to think that now that I’m all grown-up, I’m stronger and less impressionable, but the truth is that I’ll always be a wimp who recoils at the sight of blood.
Even fake blood! I have to watch most True Blood and Game Of Thrones episodes through my fingers! 😳
So, I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would be willing to take some of their blood out and reinject it back, after it’s been separated with a centrifuge, into their face in the name of beauty (although, if Eric Northman were to perform the procedure, I might actually consider it, ahem. 😉 )
This creepy treatment is called Selphyl, platelet-rich plasma injections. But we all know it as vampire facelift. According to the Vampire Facelift website, it’s supposed to promote “collagen growth and long-term skin rejuvenation.”
That’s scientific jargon for “treating wrinkles and making skin smoother.” But is that really true? How can blood do that?
What’s in my blood?
I have to get a bit scientific here. I’ll try to make it fun. So, here goes.
Human blood is made up of four parts: red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma.
- Plasma is the liquid portion of blood where blood cells float. It also contains lots of other important stuff, such as proteins, hormones, nutrients and waste materials.
- Red blood cells transport oxygen around your body.
- White blood cells are the guardians of the body and defend it from diseases.
- Cell platelets help the blood clot. They also contain growth factors and proteins that help repair and regenerate tissue.
How a vampire facelift is made
If you’re the adventurous type and think that getting pricked by a needle in the name of beauty is no big deal, here’s what to expect:
Step 1: blood will be drawn from your arm (still sure you want to give it a go? I’m outta here already!).
Step 2: your blood is put into a centrifuge (a machine that separates blood components by density).
Step 3: the red blood cells are the densest, so they sink to the bottom. They’re all removed from the solution.
Step 4: the platelet-rich plasma solution is ready. It has only two layers: a small layer of white blood cells and platelets and a bigger one of plasma.
Step 5: calcium chloride or thrombin are added to the platelet-rich plasma solution to activate the growth factor before injection.
Step 6: the blood is injected back into your face.
FUN FACT: Remember those creepy pix of Kim K all slathered in blood? That’s nonsense. It’s the red blood cells that give blood their colour and they remove all of those from the final solution. But hey, that makes for an intriguing story, doesn’t it?
Do vampire facelifts work?
So, why go through this ordeal (yes, being pricked by a needle is an ordeal if you’re a wimp) in the first place?
The reasoning behind it is this: the platelet-rich plasma contains plenty of growth factors, so it should promote the growth of cells and speed up the healing process.
But, does it? Well, it’s a new procedure, so they haven’t done many studies on it. I’ve found one done in 2010 that shows it can improve the appearance of deep nasolabial folds. So, that’s something.
Is the Vampire Facelift safe?
Another reason why celebs like it is because it’s gentler than other derma fillers that do the same thing. That’s cos there’s little chance of lumping or migration.
And, because it is your own blood you’re injecting into your skin, your body won’t reject it.
But, that doesn’t mean the vampire facelift is without side effects. Like all fillers, it can cause bruising and swelling.
The Bottom Line
The vampire facelift, unlike an encounter with a real vampire, is safe. But I’m still not convinced it’s effective. I need more than one study to be convinced to let anyone prick me with a needle. I’ll just stick to a retinoid serum for now, thank you very much. That’ll stimulate collagen production and improve the texture of my skin without the need to use needles. And that’s how I like my skincare: needle-free.
Have you tried the vampire facelift? Share your thoughts in the comments below.