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What Does a Vampire Facial Do?

By Dr. Charles J. Galanis

Vampire Facial

There is no shortage of vampire references in pop culture, and now they even have a place in cosmetic therapy with their own namesake treatment: microneedling vampire facial. Known for its anti-aging properties, this facial penetrates well below the skin’s surface to promote real healing. And at Galanis Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, CA, we employ careful application that meets each patient’s individual needs.

What Does a Microneedling Vampire Facial Do?

This is not a mythical bite or spell that will turn you into a storybook creature, but a treatment that will rejuvenate your face in a number of important ways. Let’s start with the technique, which combines two different and highly-effective cosmetic therapies: platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and microneedling. Individually, these treatments are heralded for their medical benefits. Microneedling smooths and tones skin, while PRP ignites collagen and elastin production.

When these therapies get fused together, as with a microneedling vampire facial, the results become far more amplified. It is especially beneficial as an anti-aging therapy, as it firms and tightens skin. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg because this facial also:

  • Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
  • Improves moisture retention
  • Delivers a softer and smoother texture
  • Brightens skin tone
  • Shrinks pores and hyperpigmentation spots
  • Minimizes spider veins and broken capillaries
  • Reduces the appearance of scars



This therapy uses short needles to produce superficial punctures in the skin. We do this not to cause undue harm to your face, but to trick the body into thinking it has sustained injuries. In turn, natural healing mechanisms, like increased collagen production, kick into gear to support healing.

What is collagen? In short, it is the building block of the skin’s supportive structure. More specifically, it interweaves with elastin – another protein – to create a strong but flexible net-like foundation to keep skin firm and smooth. This is great news when we’re younger, as high collagen levels account for the youthful contours we often take for granted.

Collagen Production

The bad news is that as we grow older, collagen and elastin levels both gradually wane. It is estimated that by the time we’re 40, we’ve lost around 20 percent of our collagen. This explains why wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin become more prominent with age.

Restoring collagen levels is, therefore, a key way to improve the skin’s overall appearance. It is far more effective than creams and serums that promise to reduce the signs of aging at your skin’s surface. Microneedling actually works at a deep-tissue level, allowing nutrient-rich skin cells to form and rise to the surface as old cells are removed and replaced.

Platelet-Rich Plasma

PRP works similarly to microneedling in that it harnesses your body’s natural healing mechanisms. But the way in which it does this is far different. We derive PRP from your own blood, drawing from a vein in your arm just as would happen in your doctor’s office or at the hospital. The drawn blood is then placed into a centrifuge to separate platelets from white and red blood cells.

Although crucial to your survival, we do not need the blood cells themselves for this cosmetic therapy. Instead, we’re after platelets that, once applied to a treatment site, release growth factors. These factors regulate different processes that promote healthy tissues, including:

  • Cell migration and proliferation
  • Extracellular matrix support
  • Stem cells attraction and multiplication
  • Collagen synthesis


Aging Skin

Because the skin is an organ, it’s vulnerable to a gradual decline in function. This is known as intrinsic aging and is further augmented by environmental factors (extrinsic aging) that include sun damage, smoking, and exposure to chemicals. UV rays are particularly dangerous, as they degenerate collagen and reduce skin’s natural resilience.

Applying PRP topically rejuvenates photoaged skin and helps restore its underlying supportive network. It also simulates activation of fibroblasts, cells that generate connective tissues and assist with skin’s recovery from injury.

The Potency of Pairing

In pairing microneedling and PRP, we allow powerful platelets to sink into the tiny holes made in your skin and rejuvenate tissues from within. This means a two-fold effect on collagen production (from both microneedling and PRP), as well as increased growth factors to heal, smooth, and brighten. The result is a glowing and more youthful complexion.

How Does It Work?

We start your treatment by applying a topical numbing agent to your face; this ensures a pain-free experience so you can lie back comfortably and receive your facial. While the numbing agent goes to work, we draw your blood using an FDA-approved process. Again, this is for your protection and only adds to the therapy’s overall safety. Safety is already inherent because we use your own blood, meaning you don’t need to worry about adverse reactions.

The drawn blood is then placed into a centrifuge to separate platelets from cells. You may be wondering why we don’t simply use the blood as is, and we have an answer. The concentration of platelets in PRP is five times greater than in blood. Levels that fall below this threshold don’t have the same rejuvenating effects, and the goal of this therapy is to heal and invigorate.

Important Details

Once the PRP is prepared, we use a microneedling device on your face to essentially cause trauma. Don’t worry – our technique is gentle but effective. We then apply the PRP into targeted areas, with particular attention often paid to the cheeks, jawline, mid-face, and around the eyes. Growth factors start secreting within minutes of the introduction of PRP. After just an hour, over 95 percent of growth factors are already released.

The effects of a microneedling vampire facial develop slowly, meaning you won’t see immediate results. Skin will look smoother and plumper within five to seven days, and patients also typically notice a rapid improvement in skin texture. Additional results that develop more slowly include a reduced appearance of acne, smaller pores, and firmer skin.

More Information About Results

It’s important to remember that PRP therapy is proven; MRI images and ultrasound readings confirm this treatment repairs aging and damaged facial tissues. To optimize the benefits of treatment, we recommend patients undergo a series of three facials with four weeks between each. This window of time is important, as it’s enough to allow the skin to properly heal but not so much that patients return to their baseline condition.

Common Treatment Myths

Cosmetic therapies tend to attract not only attention but also misconceptions, and the microneedling vampire facial is no exception. For example, some people believe it’s very painful, but this myth is rooted in celebrity media. The truth is that we use a medical-grade numbing cream to provide the most comfortable treatment possible. After their sessions, patients often remark on the easy and congenial nature of this facial.

Myth: PRP Is Dangerous

Another myth states the vampire facial is dangerous, but we want to be clear in saying this is not an invasive therapy. While looking at online pictures of patients with blood on their faces may be a little unusual, the good news is that PRP is very safe. It’s used for medicinal purposes in a variety of fields, including to relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, help patients heal after dental procedures, and repair torn ligaments and tendons.

The other facet of this facial, microneedling, has a history in cosmetic therapy that dates back to 1905. It is tried and true and has only improved since its early uses. We can therefore say with confidence the vampire facial is a great alternative, in terms of both safety and pain, to more invasive therapies that require anesthesia but don’t provide the same results.

Myth: Vampire Facials Are Like Surgery

This is categorically untrue. After a vampire facial, you can drive yourself home – a key clue that it is not related to surgery in any way. PRP is biocompatible with your body and contains growth factors that stimulate and control the body’s natural regenerative processes, including:

  • Soft tissue remodeling
  • Collagen stimulation
  • Cell regeneration
  • Deep tissue healing

Surgery, on the other hand, relies on a surgeon to make repairs that then necessitate recovery time. It is also riddled with potential complications, whereas PRP, and the growth factors it secrets are universally well-tolerated so it can be safely applied to any skin type.

Myth: A Vampire Facial Is a Fad

While fads certainly exist in the cosmetics industry, like colors and makeup techniques, anti-aging therapies are a little different. Once proven effective, they remain on center stage, and the vampire facial is backed by published medical studies that support its uses and successes.

This treatment is also rooted in science, as PRP is proven to even skin tones, brighten the complexion, and restore volume to faces that otherwise look tired and deflated. These beneficial effects help us understand why vampire facials have gained such popularity among Hollywood’s elite. They are safe for all conditions, even rosacea, and do not require downtime. In considering the many components of this treatment, we see it’s far more than a cosmetic fad.

Myth: You Won’t Be Able to Return to Work After Treatment

We’re not sure of this myth’s origin, but we can tell you unequivocally that you won’t need a significant amount of time away from work. If you choose to take a day or two off, we completely understand. But most patients are able to return to work and resume their normal activities the following day. We will likely give you some guidelines to follow, such as staying out of the sun, but we can discuss these after you complete treatment.

This Treatment Versus Others

Microneedling has gained such traction in recent years that handheld devices for home-use are now available. But these dermarollers can be dangerous when used without proper knowledge, and they only penetrate to 0.5mm or less in the skin. This means any results you might see will be minimal at best.

Dr. Galanis performs all microneedling at our office to deliver customized treatment for each patient. The device he uses can reach depths of 2.5mm, thereby providing real and long-lasting results. And by coming into our office, we can ensure a safe treatment each and every time.

Compared to Other Facials

It’s easy to associate a microneedling vampire facial with other facials – after all, they have similar names. But these treatments are vastly different. A traditional facial is a great way to cleanse and exfoliate your skin; these steps remove acne-causing bacteria that also contribute to dull tones. A vampire facial, on the other hand, delivers lasting results to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and scars. It is a more rejuvenating treatment.

Lean on Your Body’s Healing Properties

A microneedling vampire facial relies on your body’s natural processes to restore and revive skin. As a dual-faceted treatment, it starts first by inducing minor trauma to the face and then applying PRP to induce collagen, stimulate cell turnover, and repair damaged or aging skin. For more information, call Galanis Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, CA today.

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