Mention of a ‘vampire facial’ will tend to elicit one of two reactions: beauty obsessives will have their curiosity piqued, while everyone else will likely recoil in horror. For the non-initiated, the procedure - otherwise know as the PRP facial - is not the stuff of bodice-ripping novels but a highly effective treatment that harnesses the regenerative properties of a component of your own blood to create glow, soften lines, and much more. I recently headed to Blanc in Perth to experience the treatment and asked clinic owner (and co-founder of The Secret Skincare) Dr Clara Hurst everything you could ever want to know about this cult facial.

What is PRP?

Dr Clara explains: “PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. Platelets are crucial for clotting and contain growth factors that stimulate tissue regeneration and healing.

The PRP treatment involves drawing a small amount of blood from the patient and placing it into a centrifuge which will spin the blood to extract the healing platelet-rich plasma.”

What are the different types of the PRP facial?

There are a few methods of administering the PRP facial, each with their own advantages: injecting the PRP directly into the skin, using the Dermapen for needling the PRP into the skin, or a mixture of both.

“By injecting the PRP, we deliver a more concentrated number of platelets into areas that you’d like to focus on,” explains Dr Clara. “Injecting PRP can involve a little more downtime.

“You still get these benefits with Dermapen needling, just in a different way, by creating microchannels in the skin to deliver the PRP. You also get the added benefits of collagen stimulation from skin needling.”

Caroline, the lovely cosmetic injector who looked after me, explained that injection is preferred if you have a particular area of concern you’d like to target, whereas needling (which I opted for) is ideal if you’re aiming for more of an overall skin glow.

How does the PRP facial benefit skin and how soon should you expect results?

Broadly speaking, using one’s own PRP helps stimulate collagen and elastin production, which in turn brings about a host of benefits. “The PRP treatment supercharges the skin’s natural renewal process,” says Dr Clara. “It can help to reduce lines, wrinkles, and dark circles, improve skin tone and texture, tighten the skin, and give the skin a healthy, glowing appearance.”

It’s a powerful treatment, but uniquely, it relies on a healing mechanism we all innately have. “We use no synthetic ingredients in this treatment, just your own healing plasma,” Dr Clara says, “We harness your body’s natural power to regenerate itself.”

How long is downtime and how can you best care for skin post-treatment?

The actual treatment lasts from 45 to 60 minutes, and Dr Clara advises you can expect some redness and puffiness for 24-48 hours afterwards. If you’ve had the PRP injected, you might experience some minor bruising at the injection site. For aftercare, you’re advised to avoid excessive sources of heat (like exercise, hot showers, or saunas) for 24 hours.

For the six hours following the needling treatment, you’re not supposed to apply product. My skin felt in desperate need of a thick layer of moisturiser, but it’s important to let the PRP absorb in completely and keep skin free of irritants. It’s important to avoid sun exposure during this period, too, because your skin is sensitised but you can’t apply sunscreen to protect it.

That evening, you can do a very gentle routine (my skin felt uncomfortable to touch, so I was happy to pare things right back) and only reincorporate active products 48 hours post treatment.

If you can, I’d recommend booking in before a weekend where you have no plans, or before a week working from home (with no important Zoom calls, of course).

How often should you get the PRP facial for optimal results?

Ideally you should undertake three treatments in total, spaced one month apart, according to Dr Clara. After that, you can schedule a treatment once a year to maintain results. Results are most obvious three months post-treatment, at which stage new collagen would have time to develop.

Is the PRP facial suitable for everyone, and if not, who should avoid it?

Good news: the answer is almost anyone interested in the benefits listed above. There are some restrictions though: “It’s not suitable during pregnancy, or for those who have active acne, although it can be an effective treatment for acne scarring,” says Dr Clara. “However, we can do this treatment while breastfeeding. Additionally, some supplements and medications may increase bruising or swelling.”

How was my experience?

Surprisingly, the whole experience was almost entirely pain-free, and a lot less scary than its name might suggest. The needling itself was almost completely painless thanks to the numbing cream; in all honestly, the most uncomfortable part was having my blood drawn as I’m a little needle-phobic.  For the 48 hours post-treatment, my skin was red and stung slightly, but no more than I could cope with – and once I was in the clear, regularly applying a cosseting moisturiser helped soothe my skin considerably.

Once my skin had settled down, I didn’t notice anything until about six weeks in when my complexion gained a lit from within quality I’d never had before, so much so that I’ve started eschewing all-over foundation for a little illuminating primer and concealer. It’s a treatment I’d definitely suggest to brides-to-be (although remember to book in a few months before the big day for best results), as well as if you’re looking to boost your skin’s luminosity or target particular areas of concern that skincare can’t address.

Story by Tess de Vivie de Régie. Holding image of Doutzen Kroes by Alex Cayley for Elle France, 2010.

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