Vampire Facials: What are they, what is the procedure and what is it really like to have one?

The vampire facial – in which plasma is injected into your face - was made famous by Kim Kardashian. Now that a bloodless version is available, we tried it out.

Beauty is pain: true or false?

In the case of many celebrities, the answer is most likely true.

For years Hollywood’s elite have nipped and tucked, poked and prodded much of their bodies in the pursuit of beauty and eternal youth.

The latest favourite among the likes of Angelina Jolie and Kourtney Kardashian – the vampire facial - is not for the faint-hearted which Kim Kardashian admitting having tried it, it's too painful for her.

I found out exactly what it is and tried out a version for myself.

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What is it?

Though known colloquially as the vampire facial, the procedure is technically called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy.

The treatment has been around for more than 20 years and was originally intended to accelerate healing times on burnt skin and wounds.

Athletes have also been known to use the therapy to recover from injuries, with tennis player Rafael Nadal reportedly a fan.

Though it’s been around for years, it got a new lease of life as a facial treatment after Dr Charles Runels from Alabama trademarked the name Vampire Facelift in 2010 after vampires got a pop culture makeover thanks to books, films and TV shows like Twilight and Vampire Diaries.

What is the procedure?

A small amount of blood is extracted from the patient’s arm and spun in a centrifuge which separates the plasma from the red and white blood cells.

The concentrated plasma is rich in platelets which encourage growth.

The plasma is then injected into the face, sometimes alongside dermal fillers for extra-plump skin.

This process speeds up collagen production and gets blood flowing, treating wrinkles, dull skin, dark circles and stretchmarks.

What is a Bloodless Vampire Facial?

Thankfully for the squeamish, a minimally invasive alternative is now available.

This advanced microdermabrasion method is great for treating acne scars, pigmented lesions, hyper and hypopigmentation, and enlarged pores.

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What happened when we tried it?

Always keen to find yet more things I have in common with Angelina Jolie, trying a variant of the vampire facial was just another thing to tick off my bucket list and the Bloodless Vampire Facial is the latest service on offer at Vitamin Injections London.

Prepared to try anything in the pursuit of radiant skin, I ventured to the swish Marylebone clinic for my appointment with founder Bianca Estelle.

The first step involves cleaning my face before lying with a layer of numbing cream on the skin for around 20 minutes as bloodless sadly doesn’t mean totally painless.

Once the local anaesthetic has done its thing, it’s wiped off and the procedure gets under way.

Suitable for all ages and skin types, the process involves the use of an advanced microdermabrasion tool to remove dead skin cells and a dermapen to stimulate collagen production.

Finally a syringe of the bloodless formula - infused with vitamins, minerals and an oxidants - is applied directly onto the skin.

Bianca tells me that the best way to proceed is to start with the forehead and get the most painful part out of the way first.

As there is less skin and fat in this area, it’s safe to say that despite the best efforts of the local anaesthetic, the feeling of the microdermabrasion needles running over my forehead is still pretty painful and I did experience localised spots of blood - and a solitary tear may have rolled down my cheek too.

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Once the forehead is out of the way though, the experience on the rest of the face is completely pain-free.

The formula is rubbed into my skin et voila, I’m celeb selfie-ready, without as many tears or screams as viewers of Keeping Up With The Kardashians will recall when Kim invited cameras in for her Vampire Facial.

 

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Bianca gives me a serum made up of the much-lauded beauty ingredients hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, told me to apply it twice daily alongside a sunscreen and sent me on my way.

What happens next and what are the results like?

In the immediate aftermath my skin felt a little like it had been sunburnt: red, blotchy and sore.

It’s advised that you don’t wear makeup for three to five days after, meaning my trip to a bar with a friend later that evening was a little ill-timed as Jenni was forced to endure this sad looking face.

Normally I have a regimented skin care routine comprising of far more than just two products, but dutifully stuck to those Bianca had recommended.

Sure enough as the days rolled on my skin did improve, although it did take about a week for the redness to finally calm down.

Once two weeks passed, my skin was better than ever, and even without using any products on my face at all it’s soft, smooth and plump.

Ready for me to go back to my not-quite-as-fabulous-as-Kim-Kardashian life.

The Bloodless Vampire Facial is available at Vitamin Injections London’s Kent and London clinics. See their website for more details.

Photo credit: Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock

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