At this point, you've probably seen photos and videos circulating on Instagram and Snapchat showcasing blood-splattered selfies, all taken in the name of beauty. What sounds (and looks) like an absolute nightmare is actually one of the industry's most-requested treatments: the vampire facial. And, as with many seemingly crazy beauty habits and trends, we have the Kardashians to thank for it.
Ever since Kim was seen walking into a spa with her BFF Jonathan Cheban to get the snap-worthy procedure, the world of influencers and everyday beauty lovers converged, making way for this crazy facial to be the topic of conversation and consideration IRL. And so I made an appointment to sit down with Dr. Marina Peredo at Skinfluence in New York City to get the 4-1-1 on all things bloody and beautiful.
Dr. Peredo explained that a vampire facial, also known as a blood facial or PRP facial, involves extracting blood from a patient's arm and using a centrifuge to separate the platelets and plasma from the red blood cells. From there, Dermapen, microneedling, infuses skin with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) that stimulates collagen and elastin fibers to promote cell turnover for your most brilliant complexion through a series of thousands of tiny pinpricks. Okay, so no wonder Kim looked terribly in pain. But anything in the name of beauty, right?
Despite the fear of ugly crying or permanently disrupting my already sensitive skin, as with most beauty trends, I knew I had to give this facial a try. I mean, if Kardashian and Bar Refaeli swear by it, a girl can hope that her face will turn out equally as flawless as a result, right?
Tell Me More
Before hopping in the chair for my vampire facial, I wanted to know more about compatibility, cost, and care. Talking to Dr. Peredo, I learned that, since it's impossible to be allergic to your own blood, unlike many popular cosmetic treatments, the vampire facial is suitable for just about every woman ever, regardless of age or skin type.
As a result, skin spas and dermatologist offices like Skinfluence have seen more requests for PRP facials than ever before (just make sure you got to a credentialed, reputable spot; this is not where you want to cut costs0. Dr. Peredo explained that while the skin tightens after just one vampire facial, the more frequently you undergo the Dermapen (as in, once a month), the better your results will be. In other words, if you want a quick mini face-lift that leaves your skin looking refreshed and refined, drop $800 and give it a go. But, if you're looking for more noticeable results in terms of fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, and pore size, get ready to dedicate a bit more time to your overall transformation—not to mention a pretty chunk of change.
Another thing you should be prepared for? The way to care for your skin post-treatment. Dr. Peredo advised that since vampire facials drive tiny needles into your skin, creating pathways for PRP to dive deep into your pores for truly transformative results, you want to stay away from anything else that could seep into that sacred space and irritate it. Think: makeup and skin-care acids. Don't worry though, living in the no-makeup world that we live in, no one will bat an eye, and you'll be able to return to your favorite cosmetics in two short days. With acids, on the other hand, it's best to wait a full week. Simple enough.
The day leading up to my appointment, my best friend continually cringed at the idea of my soon-to-be bloody face while my mom made sure to text me every five minutes asking if this is really something I wanted to go through with, having sensitive skin and all. While their concerns pushed me to the point of advising my editor that I may need to work from home the next day if I look busted AF (since bruising and redness are possible short-term results), I stuck to my appointment and headed to the Upper East Side to arrive early for a treatment that, at the very best, could change the way I view my complexion, and, at the very worst, put me out of commission for a couple of days.
When I arrived at Skinfluence, I was met by Dr. Peredo and her nurse, Joanne Shellock, LPN. As I settled into the dentist-like chair (something I wasn't totally fond of, given my hatred of the dentist office, though not dentists as a whole), they began giving me the rundown of what was about to happen. As they rolled up my sleeves to check my veins for blood draw, they told me, once again, just how beneficial this treatment can be for women of all ages. They pointed out, though, that at the ripe age of 25, with few wrinkles in sight, I may not see the same jaw-dropping results as my more mature counterparts. Regardless, I was ready to see what this vampire facial was all about.
Real Life Reactions and Results
First and foremost, Kim, as much as we love her (or hate to love her, or whatever), is dramatic AF. At no point during the treatment was I compelled to whimper and cry in pain. Sure, there were moments—most notably, when the Dermapen grazed over the area of my forehead just above my brows leading up to my hairline—where it felt like I was being scalped, but since it was so brief, my pain receptors didn't even have the chance to trigger tears—or, more surprisingly, blood.
Going in for a vampire facial, only to see a few drops of blood on the apples of my cheeks, the area surrounding my nostrils, and where the Dermapen abruptly burst a particularly stubborn period pimple on my chin, was disappointing. Not that I'm a super-gory human, but I love me some My Favorite Murder and the idea of going under the pen to come out equally as bloody (and beautiful) as her royal Kim-ness.
When I expressed my concern for the blood-free end result, Dr. Peredo and Nurse Shellock explained that part of why Kim K looked so bloody is because, back in 2013 when that particular episode of Kim and Kourtney Take Miami aired, the normal vampire facial procedure was to apply whole blood to the skin while microneedling, where nowadays technology has advanced to using the most regenerating part of blood, the PRP. While both methods use blood drawn on site, the PRP method extracts the platelets from the red blood cells after being put through the centrifuge. And so, I finally understood why my Kim K-inspired expectations weren't fully met.
But, you know what wasn't disappointing? The day-three results. While the hours immediately following the hour-long appointment were characterized by an unsightly red, ultra-puffy complexion (which was really just exacerbated by the fact that I have sensitive skin), with the help of an even layer of Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar (the post-treatment product Dr. Peredo told me to use for the next week), by day two it looked like I had a low-key sunburn and day three my skin looked radiant and refreshed.
While I didn't have many wrinkles, dark spots, or acne scars originally, to really show the magical effects of this treatment, the fact that a cystic period pimple was able to RIP in just three days when it usually takes seven-plus was reason enough for me to believe in this star-studded skin-care fave. So much so that I'll be returning to Skinfluence in just a few weeks for round two.
So, the real question is, are you game to give it a go?