A new trend in skin care called the “vampire facial” is gaining popularity in the Upstate. The medical procedure, also called platelet rich plasma therapy, involves drawing blood from a patient, spinning it to collect the platelet-rich plasma (or PCP) and micro-needling the patient’s face, using their own PCP as a gliding agent.

Carolina Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics has been offering the medical service for about 6 months, under the medical direction of plastic surgeon Dr. James Fowler.

Fowler says platelet-rich plasma has a healing effect:

“Platelet rich plasma, PRP, utilizes growth factors obtained from platelets collected from a patient’s own blood. It has been used clinically in cardiac surgery, sports medicine, and wound care to improve healing with demonstrated results.  It would seem intuitive that if PRP can stimulate a non-healing wound to heal, that it could also improve the restorative healing capacity of aging skin.  Studies looking at PRP for use in facial cosmetic procedures have shown just that:  improvements in volume, texture and tone of facial skin with decreased appearance of wrinkles.”

The name “vampire facials” refers to the myth that vampires receive energy from blood, which results in glowing, never-aging skin. The procedure uses plasma from the patient’s own blood to stimulate healing and growth in the skin, and has been said to fade wrinkles, lines and scarring. It involves drawing a small vial of blood from the arm, spinning it twice to separate the PCP, applying a numbing gel on the face, and undergoing a micro-needling procedure that creates tiny wounds in the face, which stimulates collagen growth. The PCP is rubbed into the skin throughout the micro-needling process.

“What we’re doing is tricking your body into healing and repairing itself,” Medical Aesthetician Maggie Kittredge says. “As we’re doing it, we’re pushing that plasma back into the skin to really help your skin heal faster and have the nutrients it needs to do the job it needs to do.”

Sandy Saunders has had a vampire facial 4 times to decrease scarring and lines on her face and hand. “It’s not uncomfortable,” she says. “You just feel really flushed, like a sunburn….I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in those fine lines and wrinkles.”

Aestheticians recommend “hiding” inside after the procedure, much like a vampire hides from sunlight. They say the procedure will result in puffy, blotchy and red skin for at least 48 hours. They do not recommend PCP therapy for people with open wounds, active acne or certain skin diseases.

Carolina Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics is having a semi annual product sale December 3 through December 7 at its Woodruff Road location. All products will be 10% off. Licensed medical aestheticians as well as product representatives will be available to talk with patients and answer any questions about vampire facials.