Vampire Facials aren’t all that scary

In honor of the spookiest month of the year, I decided to investigate one of the most mysterious beauty procedures available–the Vampire Facial. Made popular by Kim Kardashian, Real Housewives and Odd Mom Out, this treatment might seem avant garde but makes sense once you learn the science behind it.

As a 36-year-old mom of two who lives life to the fullest, I have seen the years take their toll on my face. Fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars and a decrease in elasticity have all made permanent appearances.

So I popped into VITAHL Medical Aesthetics, which is a physician-owned and operated medical aesthetics practice in Chicago’s West Loop that specializes in the PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Facial, the technical term for the slang Vampire Facial. When getting any procedure done that involves needles (and blood!), I always make sure to fully vet the location prior to hopping in the hot seat and VITAHL met my exacting standards. 

My face was prepped with a numbing cream for 30 minutes, and my aesthetician drew a vial of blood from my arm. As I relaxed in the chair and asked a million questions about the procedure, the vial was run through a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the plasma.

It was then time to get to work. VITAHL’s PRP Facial procedure involves microneedling the skin to disrupt the epidermis before applying the platelets. On a scale of 1 (no pain) to 10 (giving birth without an epidural), I would say I hit a maximum of 3. My aesthetician made multiple passes over my decades-old chicken pox scars on my forehead (that I used to cover up with massive bangs!) as well as acne scars.

Next came the blood. But it wasn’t red! I had imagine walking out of the office smeared in crimson, looking like a Hannibal Lecter victim and terrifying small children. Platelets actually resemble egg whites in both color and consistency. They were smeared over my face and neck, and was instructed to leave the platelets on my face as long as possible. There were pinpricks of red from the micro needling combined with a bit of swelling and flush, but nothing compared to what I had imagined.

I asked the founder of VITAHL for her take on the PRP Facial and why it has become so popular.

“The PRP procedure, platelet rich plasma, is a wonderful example of how the body can help heal itself,” says Dr. Tahl Humes, medical director and founder of Vitahl Medical Aesthetics.  “Repurposing a person’s own growth factors and stem cells, PRP stimulates collagen, reduces wrinkles and renews the skin naturally.”

The next day, my face was still red and a bit swollen, but I was allowed to wear makeup. A week out, my face hasn’t been this clear, smooth and firm since I was in my 20s. Although this procedure sounds scary, it is a big step forward in the anti-aging industry!

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