Monica Vinader

Truth About PRP – Can A Vampire Facial Make Us Eternally Young?

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Truth About PRP - Can Vampire Facial Make Us Eternally Young?
Truth About PRP – Can A Vampire Facial Make Us Eternally Young?

PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Treatment is increasingly in demand having gained popularity on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the reality TV show. You probably know it as a Vampire or Dracula facial due to the bloody after-treatment facial images. But as ‘attractive’ as it sounds  – does this celebrity treatment actually work? So, I headed to the Bodyvie Medi-Clinic in Richmond to find out for myself. But before I get to my treatment experience, let me explain what PRP is and how it might be effective when combating aging?

What Is PRP And How Does It Work?

Our blood has three types of cells: white cells, red cells, and platelets. Each performs a different role. PRP is a concentration of platelets. This type of blood cell is mainly responsible for blood clotting and healing. Once these cells send a signal to our body to heal, it starts the process by producing new collagen and elastin, both essential for young looking skin.

How Is PRP Produced?

After obtaining a blood sample from a patient, it is put into a tool (centrifuge) that spins it around and separates the blood into the aforementioned three cell types. Once the blood cells are separated, a practitioner normally uses only the platelets for the treatment.

The advantages of PRP are that it is a completely natural product that is accepted by your body without complications and with little risk of any allergic reaction or rejection.

How Is PRP Treatment Performed?

There are three way to deliver PRP into our skin:

  1. Injections – a practitioner delivers PRP through hundreds of superficial injections into the deep dermis. The micro-injuries from the injections together with PRP stimulate the body’s natural wound healing process, resulting in cell turnover and increased collagen and elastin production;
  2. Microneedling  – a practitioner uses a device covered with fine needles to essentially poke holes in the skin surface and then applies PRP on top. Same principle as the above but some practitioners claim that this method of delivering PRP topically is less effective because PRP doesn’t reach deep layers of dermis;
  3. Injections with cannula – if you would like PRP treatment only on a particular area of your face, it can be injected with a cannula to reduce the chance of bruising. However, it is not as effective as the aforementioned methods since the micro-injuries from micro needling or injections dramatically enhance the results;
My PRP Experience In Bodyvie Clinic

As I arrived at the clinic, a very friendly receptionist asked me to fill out a questionnaire and sign a disclaimer.

Shortly after, I met Dr Weber with whom I had a chance to discuss the treatment prior to the procedure. Then his assistant applied Lidocaine (numbing cream) on my face. Dr Weber drew my blood and placed it into the centrifuge. Whilst the centrifuge spun my blood, we had a chance to chat some more about the procedure. Dr Weber warned me that it was going to be an uncomfortable treatment and there was a chance of slight bruising.

Once the centrifuge finished spinning my blood, Dr Weber extracted PRP from the filter. But unfortunately for me, the filter broke and some red blood cells were mixed into the platelets. I asked about the complications from it, but Dr Weber assured me that this was nothing serious though there was a slightly higher chance of bruising. So we proceeded with the treatment.

Dr Weber delivered PRP via injections (the most effective method) which was EXTREMELY PAINFUL! So painful, I literally cried and begged Dr Weber to stop.

When we finally finished the treatment, which seemed to last for ages, Dr Weber’s assistant asked me to come to another room for an Opera LED Mask. Once she managed to apply the mask (first she dropped it on my already painful face), it provided a slight relief to my ‘bloody’, burning and swollen face.

When I came home, I looked like from “Rocky Balboa Yelling AAAADRIIIAAANNN!!!”. The next day the bruising kicked in. It was so bad that I couldn’t even cover it up with professional make-up and strangers were stopping me and asking what had happened. Guess what? A week later, the bruising got even worse!

My Beauty Insider, PRP, Vampire Facial, Dracula Facial

My face was covered in massive black bruises and I had a swollen blue/yellow eye for about 10 days. Just for a record – I’ve tried many different types of facial injections before and I know for a fact that I do not bruise easily! Having had previous experience with facial injections, I didn’t take any aspirin before or after the treatment. More than that I’ve been on a pineapple diet for two weeks following the treatment.

After two weeks of resigning myself to home-arrest, I dared to go outside. So much for a treatment that is meant to have ‘little or no downtime’.

MY BEAUTY INSIDER says

Would I do a vampire facial again? Surprisingly, once my bruising subsided, I received many compliments on how good my skin looked. But is it worth the pain and two weeks of hiding at home? Probably not!

However, I wouldn’t dismiss PRP altogether. As I’ve learnt from other practitioners later, when it comes to facial injections, it’s common practice to change the needle often in order to minimise the adverse events from the injections.¹ This helps as the needle goes blunt, causes discomfort and increases the chances of bruising. The practitioner’s injection technique also plays a vital role here. Dr Weber didn’t bother changing the needle even once. He used only one needle throughout the whole procedure.

Overall my skin definitely looked healthier, younger and more radiant after the treatment for about two weeks so perhaps next time I’ll try the micro needling method… but in a different clinic.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2544360/#b16
⇒ Disclosure: PRP Treatment and Opera Led Mask Treatment was provided to me 
free of charge by Bodyvie Clinic, Richmond.

 

Written by

I'm a London based beauty researcher who is continuously on the hunt for the preventative and corrective skincare products and treatments and award-winning spas around the globe.

8 Comments
  • Anita says:

    Omg! Your face! Looks scary! 🙂

    • Anita

      please read my response to the blog which I feel does not provide an accurate picture and contains inaccuracies. I have felt compelled to post this as a more subtle approach stating the facts failed.

  • Dear Maria,

    Firstly we were very sad to read your blog of your experience with myself at Bodyvie, and please accept our sincerest apologies for your perceptions of pain and subsequent bruising.

    Thank you also for correcting some of your blog inaccuracies that we have brought to your attention. You have confirmed it was my assistant who administered the anaesthetic ointment( a strong topical anaesthetic, namely 30% lidocaine not the typical 4 or 5% Emla and LMX) and not myself( but you failed to recognize that it was I who drew the blood).
    You have also removed that your consultants stated the needle should be changed every 3-5 injections.( we will return to this later).
    You originally referred to this as a lunchtime treatment . This, it is not and never has been, due to the risks of bruising, swelling and puffiness. All patients are made aware of this as were you. I am glad you removed that.

    Sadly a numberof factually incorrect entries still remain and may be confusing for your readers. Firstly, you appear confused in the treatment you received as you still remain incorrect in your blog title, namely
    “TRUTH ABOUT PRP – CAN VAMPIRE FACIAL MAKE US ETERNALLY YOUNG?”
    This is a “Vampire TM” Trade marked treatment, Vampire(TM) is marketed predominantly in the USA and not relevant to the photograph you have of the PRP vial as we actually used the Dracula kit which is also TM( trade marked), Dracula(TM). This may upset one or the other or both. Whilst PRP is the generic name for all such treatments Vampire (TM) and Dracula(TM) are the brand names for the kit that produces the separation of red cells from the plasma. Examples in everyday usage of the difference are, Kelloggs corn flakes and corn flakes, Heinz beans and baked beans, Hoover and vacuum cleaner.

    There are a different number of protocols for PRP treatment, all depend on separation of red blood cells from the plasma, which splits into PRP (platelet rich plasma) and PPP (platelet poor plasma). Different protocols call for using the fractions individually or combining them. The method of administraion is as follows.

    1/ Needle and syringe by multiple injections at different depths from supraperioteal ( on the bone) to superficial dermal. More painful but most of PRP deposited under the skin. The remainder is then gently rubbed in allowing some to be absorbed, the remainder dries on the skin. About 0.1 to 0.5ml injected with each injection. Total 250-500 injections total. The multiple injections also act as microneedling causing an inflammatory reaction which further stimulates collagenesis.
    2/ Mesotherapy. Multiple injections by hand or Mesogun predominantly into the superficial dermis. Much less painful, sometimes requiring no topical anaesthetic, but more residual PRP on the surface of the skin, so less deposited below the surface. The Mesogun can inject up to 450 times per minute, so over 20-30 minute treatment time, if you do the sums this is 9-10,000 injections or so, each one of approximately 0.015ml.
    3/Microneedling, either Dermapen or dermaroller, which make perforations in the skin and then the PRP if rubbed in on the skin or an infused mask is applied. This relies on absorption through the punctures, but most product remains on the surface.
    4/Cannula. This involves a round tip cannula being inserted though a puncture in the skin( previously anaesthetised) and can be administered into the subcutaneous fat or by tenting the tissue onto the periostum. None is deposited in the dermis though, but most or all is under the surface of the skin. The subcutaneous fat contains few pain receptors so is relatively pain free, but the dermis does not benefit as it does with 1/,2/ and 3/

    As a result of your experience we have reflected on our management and shall in future provide fuller and and more comprehensive options for patients regarding

    treatment options

    1/ Injections at multiple depths, needle and syringe, the majority of PRP deposited in or below the skin with minimal surface PRP remaining. Potentially painful and most side effects. Needling also produces collagenesis by trauma/inflammation, potentiating the effect.
    2/ Mesotherapy , manual or via gun. Good deposition but more surface PRP that needs to be absorbed via the perforations. Less or minimal downtime probably than 1/ Also potentiates collagenesis
    3/ Micronneedling where it is wholly by absorption. Potentially least deposition, but like mesotherapy less chance of side effects. Bruising possible, and needling potentiates collagenesis
    4/ Cannula, relatively pain free, good deposition but not in the dermis. No or very little potentiating effect on collagenesis.

    anaesthesia

    a/ no anesthesia not recommended for treatment 1/
    b/ topical for 1/,2/ and 3/ treatments
    c/ nerve block on its own or after topical
    d/ local anaesthetic injection at entry point for 4/

    In your case the areas of concern were the eyes and around the mouth areas. This is where the PRP fraction was used, as per Dracula (TM) protocol and the remainder over the remainder of the face.
    The treatment is never “sold” as a lunchtime treatment or described as such, possible bruising is always mentioned as well as swelling. The result of repeated skin puncture and injection is inflammation, that we know further stimulates collagenesis( the production of collagen) and potentiates the results. Interestingly there was an article in The Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology that reviewed studies on bruising with medical aesthetics injectables, which showed bruising rates of 19-68%. I often refer to these statistics in my consultations, but always discuss bruising. (ref https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5367875/ ). It does highlight the realistic expectation patients should have, and that statistically they will bruise at some time, probably sooner than later.
    At no point were you informed that there was only a slight risk of bruising. You were informed that there was a good chance of bruising but usually the individual bruises were small and resolved quickly but larger, longer lasting were possible.

    You attach a reference to your blog that concerns Hyaluronic acid. (Hyaluronic acid gel fillers in the management of facial ageing). Just to clarify to prevent confusion, PRP is not hyaluronic acid. The article does however state regarding the eye area —

    “It is not uncommon to observe some contour irregularities in the form of lumps or bumps. In addition, due to the rich subdermal vascular plexus, this area is very prone to significant bruising”. I would like to stress two words, “prone” and “significant” and due warning was given. Assuming you had this article on record already, you were aware of the likelihood, which I further discussed and confirmed with you.

    Confusingly for you the article does talk of “changing the needles”. To understand you must know the techniques involved. Whilst there has been a move to the use of Cannulas, the needle is still in considerable use with fillers. The injections are usually a linear deposition of the filler. To achieve this the needle is inserted through the epidermis into the dermis and advanced by 1-2.5cm. This will produce blunting over repeated injections. The epidermis is on average 100microns (0.1mm)thick and the dermis 300-400microns(0.3-0.4mm). Around the eyes the skin is thinner, 50 and 150microns(0.05mm and 0.15mm). Each PRP intradermal injection therefore penetrates the skin around the eyes to a depth of 100-150 microns(0.1-0.15mm) and elsewhere 200-300 microns (0.2-0.3mm). If you compare the potential blunting distance the needle has to travel in the skin, ie filler, 2.5cm, and the PRP needle, 0.1mm-0.3mm,, one linear filler injection is equivalent to 100-250 PRP injections. Blunting is caused by the amount of resistance from the tissue to the tip of the needle and 2.5cm (250mm) is not the same as 0.1-0.3mm. I hope that clarifies that issue. Hyalual Rederm , Restylane Vital and Juvederm Volite come with 2 needles supplied by the manufacturer, enough for a treatment which numbers 100-200 injections.
    During your treatment two syringes were used, one with PRP, the other with PPP, with a total of 12ml, each with its own initial needle attached. I can categorically state that more than one needle was used. If and when needles become less sharp, the injector can tell and change. I am surprised that you had been informed that needles had to be changed every 3-5 injections, as they normally remain sharp for many tens if not hundreds of injections. I would suggest you ask your consultants which make do they use as it could just be they are of an inferior type. The 30G needle used, from our experience, does have a 1/20 rate of “less sharp” needles, and one can feel exactly that, on use,and they are discarded, as are needles as they lose their sharpness, as we treat. Its not about the number but the feel. The same way that in baking, pastry needs to be felt; in cooking , it’s about the smell, the look, the feel and taste. Its also all about the fine tuning, that a recipe does not provide, apart from suggesting ” season to taste”. The only areas that more rapid blunting could occur are hands and feet due to the skin thickness. Around the eyes especially, the skin is the thinnest. In fact it is a well used Pub Quiz question, “where is the skin the thinnest on the body?” Bear that in mind next time you go to a pub quiz as it may give you the edge.

    As you mention the PPP fraction was transferred through a filter first into one syringe, but then the filter blocked as I tried to transfer the PRP to a second syringe. Not every PRP system has a filter but the Dracula (TM) does. I had to aspirate using a needle and some red cells were aspirated as well. We discussed that this would make the bruising worse as the red cells break down after injection, a conversation which you confirmed in the blog.

    You mention the bruising and compare your appearance to Rocky. I think this is highly inappropriate, very confusing for your readers as you were not in a boxing match, nor had he probably had PRP (Dracula TM)treatment, nor is he a boxer. He is of course a successful actor with good, expensive Hollywood makeup. Your readers may be confused by this comparison therefore as it compares PRP with expensive Hollywood makeup. If you had used an honest like for like, which is more appropriate, comparing to Kim Kardashian post PRP, it would have been more meaningful and is a PRP treatment comparison. I attach a link to the photo, but no photo as that may have been construed as a Copyright Infringement or Breach of Copyright if it appears on your site, http://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/news/a14931/kim-kardashians-vampire-facial/ . Alternatively just google Kim Kardashian PRP. I hope you checked the legality of having a photo of Sylvester Stallone on your website.

    I am glad of your positive overview of the outcome, with visible skin quality improvement.

    We would be happy to invite you,and provide for a further treatment, but using the Mesogun, due to your pain issue, which can inject at up to 450 injections per minute over the course of 20 -60 minute treatment. This also , highlights and contradicts your 3-5 needle change theory as the 9,000-10,000 injections would require 1800+ needles, whereas in real life, only 1 needle suffices, as per Mesogun protocol.

    Best Regards

    Andrew

  • Dear Dr Weber,

    The purpose of this blog is to provide an HONEST review about my PERSONAL experiences to my readers. And this is what I did. I can assure you that I don’t take pleasure in writing bad reviews.

    I have corrected that fact that it was you who drew the blood. In regards to the needles, I had three different practitioners confirming that it’s in fact recommended to change a needle often (one of them changes it 3-5 injections) when it comes to any facial injections. I have a video of you which I sent to your PR giving me injections without changing it even once. To be honest, you don’t need a medical degree to understand that needles go blunt after a certain number of injections, which may cause some discomfort to a patient.
    Despite the abovementioned, I do not blame you for the painful procedure or bruises as this procedure is known to have such side-effects. Different practioners have different methods… I’m simply describing my personal experience. However, I was really surprised that you didn’t bother even looking at my face before I left your clinic or providing me with any aftercare.

  • Dear Maria.

    You speak of honest reviews and we respect this, hence my trying to assist with the detail. You do not offer a like for like comparison of photographs but a photograph of you and a film character (a heavily made up one in a boxing film none the less). I can see that this makes your blog much more dramatic, but it is not a true representation and is somewhat misleading. Thank you also for correcting some of the facts, but just a gentle reminder that the Vampire facelift is not the Dracula and the kits differ. The title Vampire does not represent the photograph of the vial. Each is trade marked separately.

    With regard to needles, these are changed if blunt, yet the truth is that the Dermapen delivers up to 1,300 punctures per second via its 12 needles,effectively hundreds of thousands or millions over the course of treatment, the mesogun delivers thousands if not tens of thousands of punctures via its one needle, manual mesotherapy delivers hundreds of punctures via its one 4mm needle. Blunting depends on the needle itself, the skin thickness, the needle tip travel distance in the skin. Please believe me when I say the injector recognizes the sharpness of the needle and it is changed appropriately, sometimes after one or two injections; it is not about the absolute number of injections. We commenced the treatment at or about the lateral canthus of the right eye (outer edge), where even the first few injections were perceived to be painful and the needle was new. The bruising is pretty consistent in all the areas treated with the PRP but not so in the other areas treated with PPP, as evidenced by your photograph. It was this PRP fraction that had a small quantity of red cells in it. You speculate that the bruising was due to the needle, yet this is not honest fact but pure speculation despite stating
    “is to provide an HONEST review about my PERSONAL experiences to my readers. And this is what I did.” In all honesty I do not believe the bruising had anything to do with the needle but with the fact that the plasma had a small quantity of blood in it due to the filter malfunction, for which I have apologized, and did disclose at the time, as necessitated by our duty of candour.

    As I have mentioned, your blog has facilitated a reflection on our management of this treatment, so we again invite you to try an alternative mode of delivery, in order for an honest comparison. We pride ourselves as working with patients, through treatments, coping with complications and ensuring continuity as we have for the past, almost 20 years.

    Of course if you do not wish to have treatment that’s fine, but we would ask that detail is accurate based on the treatment you have had to date. Particularly as even the manufacturers/trainers of PRP are somewhat baffled by the frequency of needle change you write about. This is certainly not their directive and it’s raised their curiosity as to who your ‘expert panel’ are.

    Finally, do you use a moderator?. This must surely be an external one to prevent bias and also regulate your blogs for fact not speculation nor conjecture?

    Best Regards

    Andrew

  • Dear Andrew,

    I understand that you’re not happy with this review. Unfortunately, I will not change my mind about my experience in your clinic. I don’t mention any trademarks in the review at all! (I’m a former lawyer so please stop worrying about the legalities issues here for me).
    As my review states, I was not happy with your injection techniques and the treatment administration over all. I wouldn’t recommend your clinic to anyone. And I definitely wouldn’t undergo another treatment in there.
    And no, I do not use a moderator, this is a personal blog about my personal experiences. May I suggest that you do some research on how blogs work before inviting bloggers to review your services.

    Thank you.

  • Gillian says:

    I have had PRP and the needle was changed a number of times in my experience.

    This Dr Weber sounds like someone who isn’t a specialist but cashing in on a booming industry where standards can be low. His comments are embarrassing to him.

    If this was your experience I encourage you to stay true to it and don’t change the post. Keep your integrity!!

    Good Luck!

  • Dr A M Weber says:

    Dear Maria,

    You are correct that I am not familiar with bloggers or blogging, but now realise this is an unregulated forum for personal opinion. I am learning quickly.

    Dear Gillian,

    I need to clarify a few points that you make, based on undisclosed assumptions, regarding my credibility and experience.

    I personally have been in Medical Aesthetics for 20 years, which is longer than the majority of today’s practitioners, so have a wide breadth of knowledge acquired over the years of the whole field, from injectables to lasers and more, including our own skincare range.
    Bodyvie opened in Central London in 1999 and in Richmond in 2000, so we have a long track record and extensive patient base with continuity of care over those years, with some patients coming to us since the 1990’s. We maintain a 5 star Trustpilot rating and work proactively with all our patients.
    I personally have presented at international conferences and provided Medical Expert opinions for 15 years, usually involved in medical litigation reports.
    I was a founding member of BACD in 2001, now The British College of Aesthetic Medicine, which works towards maintaining standards.
    I have been providing Mesotherapy for over 12 years and PRP for over 6 years.
    The clinic has been regulated over the years, since 1999, by various government regulatory bodies, and we are annually inspected. This is in contrast to a vast number of practitioners who are not regulated.
    We have employed and trained numerous reputable doctors who have now set up their own clinics and have become leaders in the field.

    I have put forward facts and statistics in my previous correspondence but cannot see how they are embarrassing. Hence, now I have an understanding, I shall not engage in any further discussions on this forum

    Best Regards

    Andrew

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