Microneedling and the Vampire Facial: Separating Fact from Fiction


When used in conjunction with platelet-rich plasma, microneedling is commonly referred to as the vampire facial.

With the bloody faced selfie of Kim Kardashian’s vampire facial making the media rounds, it is no wonder that the procedure has garnered a reputation for looking painful. Looks can be deceiving however, and the procedure might be the answer to many peoples’ skin care issues.

What is microneedling?

Microneedling is usually performed by certified aestheticians in the offices of plastic surgeons. Pen-like devices equipped with super-tiny needles, much smaller than those required for Botox or dermal fillers, are used to create microscopic acupuncture-like channels into the skin.

These completely automatic and adjustable devices penetrate at the right speed and depth through the outer, superficial layer of the skin (the epidermis) into the slightly deeper layer (the dermis) just underneath. Nothing is injected; the procedure is really just the “needling” itself, which in turn stimulates the dermis to release certain special active biomolecules into the surrounding skin.

Areas of face which are deficient in collagen tend to look thin, loose, wrinkled, rough, and weathered. Microneedling improves the appearance of skin by increasing localized collagen production.

What is the vampire facial?

Also known as the Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP Facial), a vampire facial combines microneedling with application of Platelet-Rich Plasma. The procedure begins with drawing blood from the patient and then using a centrifuge to extract the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The patient then undergoes a microneedling treatment. The PRP is then applied to the skin during the treatment for deeper penetration and optimal results.

Dr. Dominique Mandeville, from the Lafond-Mandeville medical clinic in Montreal, Canada refers to platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as “liquid gold,” and with good reason. It turns out that PRP has been used in sports medicine for several years. By stimulating collagen and elastin growth, PRP has been shown to kick the healing process into overdrive.

“Thanks to modern science, we now know that platelets contain various factors that stimulate the production of collagen, elastic fibers and new blood vessels,” says Mandeville. “Microneedling causes direct trauma to the skin. As a result, the body rushes to repair the wounds, sending platelets and cells to the rescue. As platelets play a significant role in terms of growth factors, it seems particularly appealing to inject the plasma back into the skin through the punctured holes to really speed up the healing of the tissues.”

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How is the procedure performed?

At the start of a treatment, Mandeville applies a numbing cream to the patient’s skin, causing vasodilation – which prevents bleeding.

The second step consists of taking a small amount of the patient’s blood and having it centrifuged in order to separate out the red blood cells. Next comes the microneedling itself, after which hyaluronic acid is applied topically to deeply penetrate the skin.

And finally, if you choose liquid gold over a regular serum, you will be re-injected several times with your own plasma around your face, with a focus on the areas where you need it the most. For many that would be below the eyes to treat under eye bags.

What are the benefits?

Platelet Rich Plasma contains growth factors which are important for new cell generation and functions, such as creating new collagen and strengthening elastins, and are extremely beneficial to the skin. Microneedling allows for deep penetration of the growth factors and improves the results of the treatment significantly. This procedure is appropriate for those patients looking to:

  • improve fine lines/wrinkles
  • improve skin texture/under eye bags
  • reduce pore size
  • soften acne scars

What are the side effects?

Bruising and inflammation are the most common side effects and tend improve within days following the treatment. It is important to avoid sun exposure, rigorous exercise and saunas for at least 72 hours following the treatment. Retin-A, Retinols, and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) should be stopped for a week following the treatment and a week prior.

What is the recovery time?

Following a vampire facial, expect to be red for a few days and have a dry face for about a week.  Refrain from rigorous exercise for 3 days ( including saunas, steam rooms, etc.) because you don’t want to sweat and irritate your skin.

What is the cost?

Each treatment costs approximately $700. It is recommended to undergo 3 treatments 4-6 weeks apart for optimal results.

At-Home Microneedling: Recommended Products

Despite what some bloggers claim, vampire facials are unsafe to do at home or without the supervision of a trained professional; however, there are a variety of quality microneedling options that can safely be used in the comfort of your own home.

The Stacked Skincare Collagen Boosting Micro-Roller

The Stacked Skincare Collagen Boosting Micro-Roller

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Micro-Roller’s 0.20 mm needles are designed to help eliminate acne scars, smooth the complexion, and reduce the appearance of large pores. One drawback is that the entire roller needs to be replaced on a monthly basis — unfortunately, you can’t just change out the needle portion.

Healthy Care 540 Pins Micro Needles Titanium Microneedle Derma Roller Needle Skin Care

Healthy Care 540 Pins Micro Needles Titanium Microneedle Derma Roller Needle Skin Care

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Healthy Care’s roller delivers, and you can’t beat the price. It has very small needles for gentle exfoliation and to prevent damage to the skin. While some people prefer their rollers a bit larger, these ones are very small and are recommended for first-time users.

Rodan and Fields Redefine

Rodan and Fields AMP MD System

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Rather than using needles, this trusted brand firms skin and reduces lines with its micro-exfoliation roller technology. The Redefine Night Renewing serum is included in the system, which is an added bonus. The kit also includes a clear storage case and a cleansing vial.

RegenaGlow Derma Roller for Face and Body

RegenaGlow Derma Roller for Face and Body

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The RegenaGlow Derma Roller is a complete microneedling package that includes an organic cotton carrying bag, a storage case, a cleaning cup, and a serum bottle. The roller’s 540 titanium needles are guaranteed to be sturdy, efficient, and long lasting. It also comes with a 60-day money-back warranty.

HANU Beauty Premium ZGTS Derma Roller

HANU Beauty Premium ZGTS Derma Roller

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Its premium build marries a luxurious look with an ergonomic form for a great at-home microneedling experience.The ZGTS boasts a 192 titanium needle roller, with each needle coming in at a solid 0.25mm in length. If you are looking to try it out, Hanu offers a 30 day money back guarantee to ensure satisfaction.

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