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On its own, microneedling is an effective treatment that can treat an abundance of conditions, such as acne scars, undereye circles, and fine lines/wrinkles. This is a popular procedure that can also restore other benefits to the skin such as firming, brightening, and texture as well.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, thorough research and the advances in technology in recent years have demonstrated even more of an effectiveness of microneedling when it is combined with platelets from the blood. With the use of a special process, plasma that is high in platelet count is separated from the red blood cells, which allows just this plasma to be harvested for use – thus the name, platelet-rich plasma (commonly referred to as PRP for short).
This combination of microneedling along with PRP is frequently referred to as the Blood Facial and also as the vampire facial by some patients.
A Blood Facial is simply the combination of PRP and a microneedling treatment. PRP refers to platelet-rich plasma, which is a natural component of the blood. Platelets in the bloodstream are the components that allow the flow of blood to clot from a wound. After the clot has developed, the enzymes that are contained within these platelets are then released. Stem cells are drawn into the area to facilitate with tissue regeneration and repair the damage to the area. These stem cells are the keys to providing more youthful looking skin, as they are responsible for creating new collagen and elastin.
Due to the high concentration of growth elements in PRP, its regenerative properties have been used to benefit other medical branches for decades. PRP has been used to increase wound healing from major surgeries such as facial surgery, cardiovascular surgery, and soft tissue ulcers. It is also commonly used to heal torn ligaments in athletes, as well as other conditions of the joints for many others. PRP has also been proven to reduce the effects of age-related and pattern hair loss as well.
Many non-surgical treatments are only able to address one layer of skin at a time. The microneedling + PRP combination is notable in that it is able to address two layers of the skin simultaneously – both above and below. The punctures created by microneedling allow the plasma to seep into the miniature wounds that have been created, causing the deeper layers to absorb the plasma and reap its benefits, while still being able to affect the outermost layers of skin where it was originally applied.
While microneedling is already a non-invasive procedure without much downtime, the healing benefits of PRP speed up the recovery process even more. Collagen remodeling occurs at a faster pace, which not only reduces the amount of time of the normal swelling/redness after the procedure, but also allows the wounds from the microneedling to repair themselves in less time. While the healing process doesn’t require downtime even without PRP, the faster healing period granted with PRP makes it a convenient option for those with busy, fast-paced schedules who wish to speed up the initial period of redness and swelling.
Studies have shown results that PRP works especially well in regards to acne scars due the PRP’s healing process breaking up the older scar tissue and replacing it with a new restructuring of the collagen that is closer in construction to the skin’s natural appearance. Case studies have shown increased results when microneedling is done in conjunction with PRP when compared with only microneedling alone.
Because PRP is unique to each patient due to being made from their own blood, this makes it a 100% natural option compared to other treatments such as dermal fillers. While they are completely safe, dermal fillers are synthetic substances that are intended to closely mimic the natural solutions produced by the body. As a result, dermal fillers do fade after a set period of time as the body absorbs them, and will require follow up treatments more frequently to maintain results. PRP on the other hand, is authentic since it is made directly from your own blood. The organic factors involved with PRP allow its results to be long lasting.
While dermal fillers are completely safe, and their results can be seen instantly, they are primarily used to treat very specific conditions. For example, they can be injected to treat particular lines and wrinkles directly, or an exact acne scar that you may have noticed. PRP treatments address the entire area of skin, and thus have a wider range of effect. Because of this, they are able to provide additional benefits such as brightening the complexion, evening out the skin tone, and adding more elastin. These all can result in firmer, smoother skin overall while still being able to target certain areas by filling out hollow cheeks and wrinkles. These are all benefits unique to PRP which dermal fillers are not able to add; thus, PRP is able to accommodate a variety of concerns versus. the more specific uses that fillers were made to treat.
Finally, due to it being fully natural, PRP is able to be used on certain areas with very thin skin such as the undereyes, eyelids, and certain regions around the neck. PRP injections are also able to assist with hair growth, and have been proven to reduce the impact of age related and pattern hair loss and thinning.
Because PRP is able to treat both the outer and inner layers of skin, the Blood Facial is able to treat many conditions. Some of the most common uses are for:
Due to it being natural, a growing number of patients have been receiving this treatment at younger ages in order to maintain their appearance before the effects of wrinkles and sun damage start to set in and pile up over the years. The Blood Facial thus has the benefit of being able to treat existing conditions, as well as preventing the onset of these effects as well.
For maximum results, it is highly recommended to have 3 treatments spaced out 1 month apart between each. This ensures that the skin has enough time to heal between treatments while allowing enough PRP to get absorbed by the skin which ensures longevity with results.
Some patients like to combine PRP and Botox by receiving their Blood Facial a couple weeks after their initial Botox treatment. The PRP reduces the magnitude of lines that have already been set in the face while the Botox helps limit the amount of facial movement in the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet to further delay the onset of expression lines.
At the start of your procedure, topical anesthetic will be applied to your face. This anesthetic will sit in your face for about 30-45 minutes. During this time, a blood draw will be performed from your arm. After the blood is drawn, a centrifuge is used to separate the plasma from the red blood cells and generate the PRP. The separation process takes about 10 minutes, and happens while the anesthetic is still on your face. During this time, we will also assess your face in order to determine the key injection areas for the PRP.
After the allotted time has passed, the microneedling procedure is then carried out using the PRP generated from the patient’s blood as a glide to help facilitate treatment as well as penetrate the PRP into the skin and dermis. Although the face is numb during the procedure due to the anesthetic, you can still have a slight sensation of the microneedling; however, many patients report that this feeling is very tolerable, and not nearly as bad as what they were initially expecting. Some occasional blood drippage can happen in some areas of the face, and is normal. The PRP may additionally be injected with a needle in areas which need specific induction of collagen such as under the eyes in the tear troughs or the nasolabial folds/marionette lines (smile lines).
After the microneedling has been completed, you will then receive aftercare instructions on how to care for your face during the recovery process. Dr. Behroozan also has medical grade moisturizer and sunscreen that are both free from active ingredients. These products are available for purchase at his office for your convenience. You can begin to use these products immediately after treatment. The Blood Facial is an out-patient procedure, and patients are able to drive themselves back home immediately after.
Immediately after your treatment is over, your face will have some slight redness; however, contrary to popular belief, your face will not be drenched in red blood at the end of the procedure. This is because the red blood cells are separated from the PRP, so that only the plasma, which is clearer in color, is applied to your face. The famous images you may have seen from celebrities where their faces are covered in red blood are due to the full blood sample with the red blood cells being applied to the face or when microneedling is performed without the use of PRP. There is no benefit to having the red blood cells applied with this treatment, and thus they are not used during a Blood Facial.
One of the biggest advantages of the Blood Facial is that the downtime is minimal. Slight swelling, bruising, inflammation, and redness are possible short term side effects, and should be expected. These side effects are similar to a mild sunburn, and generally wear off on their own within 2-3 days. Because PRP is derived from your own blood, there is no risk of certain concerns such as allergic reactions and cross contamination.
For the first few days after treatment, moisturizer and sunscreen should be the only products that are applied to your face. Apart from these two products, the face needs to remain totally bare while the healing process is starting. No makeup should be worn, and any skin care routines you normally apply should be paused during this time. After a few days have passed, you can gradually begin to apply makeup again. Until the skin is fully healed, it is also recommended to avoid activities that cause heavy sweating and heat production such as working out.
Because the recovery process involves healing a wound, results from a Blood Facial will progress over the course of a month. The Microneedling and PRP are producing new collagen, new cells, and new blood vessels in the skin which does take time to be produced by the body; however, since this is your skin’s own work and not an external substance being added, results are often long lasting when a full series of 3 treatments is completed.
The Blood Facial is technique sensitive. The PRP injections require precise angles to ensure that the needles uniformly penetrate the skin all over. In addition, the PRP needs to be injected in very specific areas on the face to ensure that it covers the greatest amount of area for great looking results. This requires a thorough understanding of the facial anatomy as well as your skin’s unique texture and condition. Even the very first step of separating the plasma from the red blood cells is a delicate process. Separation that is done improperly can contain a lower platelet count, which can impede results. On the other end of the spectrum, some providers may also try to overcharge by saying that they use an overcomplicated prep method that requires multiple spinnings & strainings. These complex separation methods solely drive up the price without necessarily increasing the potency of the plasma. A well trained provider with the adequate experience is able to separate the plasma expertly and efficiently, while still maintaining the rich platelet count without the need for a convoluted separation process.
In addition, depending on what your goals are for your skin, Dr. Behroozan will be able to assist you in developing a thorough skin care plan that will help you get the most out of your Blood Facial’s results. This may include other services such as Botox, lasers, or other forms of medical skin care. Other providers such as estheticians and medical spas do not have the same professional training and hands-on experience as a board certified-dermatologist, which can impede the longevity of your results. Dr. Behroozan ensures that your Blood Facial and all other treatments you receive are customized and unique to you and your own personal goals.
Even though PRP is 100% natural and does not cause allergic reactions since it is your own personal blood, the use of blood means that it does carry the same risks as other blood-related procedures, such as blood donations, tattoos, and piercings. Improperly sterilized equipment carries risk of contamination and transferral of diseases, including HIV and Hepatitis. In addition to this, the ordinary risks of improperly sanitized equipment also apply, such as infection. When deciding where to receive your Blood Facial procedure, gauging the skill of the provider is not enough – the sterilization techniques utilized by the provider are just as important as well.
Dr. Behroozan uses brand new disposable supplies with each Blood Facial that are used only during your own personal procedure. After your treatment is completed, these supplies are disposed of entirely, meaning that even the slightest chance of cross contamination is completely eliminated. This disposable equipment ensures that all items used were thoroughly sterilized, and that your Blood Facial is carried out safely. Dr. Behroozan will always prioritize your safety as his #1 concern.
Prior to receiving your Blood Facial, the following steps should be taken:
-Don’t consume alcohol for at least 48 hours before your procedure -Consume lots of water the couple days before your treatment -No tanning for at least 2 weeks before -On the day of your treatment – no caffeine -Eat before your treatment to prevent chances of lightheadedness -Wash your face before arriving, and don’t wear makeup -Stop all topical retinoids or retin a products 7-14 days prior to treatment
In addition, let your dermatologist know about any blood thinning medications or supplements you are taking beforehand. Avoid medications like Ibuprofin, Aleve, and Motrin, etc.
Prior to starting your treatment, topical anesthetic is applied to the face for numbing. While the procedure is taking place, there is a slight sensation of the microneedling taking place. Patients report these sensations as very tolerable, and not as bad as they had initially expected. Some patients even prefer receiving this treatment without any anesthetic at all.
Yes, the Blood Facial is completely safe to receive while pregnant – although the procedure will need to be done without anesthetic. Even without the numbing agent, patients report the feeling as not too bad.
A very common belief is that the face will be covered in blood like the various celebrities who have had photos of their Blood Facials. This is a myth – the celebrities in those photos had all of their blood injected into their face, including the red blood cells or had microneedling performed without PRP use.
Because the plasma is separated from the red blood cells, only the clear-colored PRP is injected – and thus, the face is not covered in blood at the end like many people believe. The skin will have some redness that is similar to a slight sunburn rather than blood being smeared all around.
There is no benefit to having the red blood cells injected into this face during the Blood Facial, and thus they are not used at all.
Slight redness, bruising, and swelling is normal for the first 2-3 days after a treatment, and is normal. These effects will clear up on their own. The face should remain bare for the first few days after treatment, with no makeup worn. Moisturizer and sunscreen should be the only skin products used for the first few days – all other products should be paused for a few days. After about a week, makeup and skin products can gradually begin to be used again. Sun exposure should be limited as much as possible, and sunscreen with SPF30 or more should always be worn. Activities that involve heavy sweating and heat production should be avoided for at least one week.