Vampire facial: What is it and why is it so popular?

“Beauty is pain.”

While some may agree with those words, others would argue that injecting your own blood back into your face in the name of beauty may be taking the saying a bit too far.

The vampire facial, otherwise known as a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) facial, has been widely debated ever since Kim Kardashian West underwent the procedure during an episode of the Keeping Up with the Kardashians spin-off, Kim and Kourtney Take Miami.

Now, the unusual treatment is under more scrutiny than ever before after two clients treated at a spa in New Mexico have tested positive for HIV. The two people with positive results had “injection-related procedures” at the spa between May and September 2018, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), said.

When Kardashian West had her vampire facial, she admitted in a blog post that she regretted it, explaining that the procedure was “rough” and “painful”.

“Before I got the procedure, I just found out that I was pregnant, so I couldn’t use the numbing cream or a pain killer and both are suggested,” she wrote.

“It was really rough and painful for me.”

The vampire facial is a very contentious treatment in the world of facial aesthetics, as Dr Darren McKeown explains.

“It essentially involves taking the blood from a patient, processing it in a centrifuge to extract the plasma – which contains platelets and growth factors – and then re-injecting it into the face,” Dr McKeown told The Independent.

“The theory is that the platelets and growth factors initiate a healing response which, over time, rejuvenates the skin.

“It is controversial however because the evidence used to show that it works is conflicting at best.

“Some studies have shown it to be effective, whilst others have shown it to have no effect whatsoever.”

The vampire facial gained a lot of prominence when it featured on the reality show, something that Dr McKeown felt torn about.

“When Kim Kardashian posted her Instagram picture a few years ago of her blood-stained face during the procedure, the whole world went mad.

“Everyone wanted it, and clinics were happy to provide the procedure, which became a big money spinner.

“I always felt uncomfortable with it and most of my patients decided against it and went for other options by the time I explained my views on it.”

Dr Munir Somji, a leading cosmetic surgeon and CMO of Dr MediSpa, frequently offers the procedure to his patients.

“When we inject the platelets into the face, it tricks the body into thinking that there has been an injury and hence, bring growth factors to aid new collagen formation,” he told The Independent.

“I use it for facials and also after surgery to speed up healing.

“Here at Dr MediSpa we area centre of regenerative medicine so we use PRP mixed with filler to reduce complications, increase collagen production, and also have longer lasting results.”

While Kim has decided against ever having a vampire facial again, she also wrote that she understands that the treatment may be better suited to different people.

“Even though it wasn’t for me, I know it has so many benefits for your skin,” she added.

“Kourtney is a huge fan and I know a lot of other people that love it, too.”

Benefits or not, there are undeniably many more simpler and far less painful ways to achieve clear skin.