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Revamping my skin: my first PRP facial

Introduction to PRP Facials

This last month, I experienced my first PRP facial, also known as the “vampire facial,” a procedure popularized by celebrities. This treatment involves drawing a small amount of the patient’s blood, processing it to extract platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and then applying this serum to the face using a microneedling device. The goal is to rejuvenate the skin by stimulating repair and collagen production. Ideally, you get three treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart, and the effects can last for 18 months, after which maintenance treatments every six to twelve months are recommended.

Facing My Fears

I must confess, I feel squeamish at the sight of blood or even the thought of it. Although I’ve somewhat acclimated to blood draws through various treatments like autohemotherapy and IV nutrition, I still don’t look forward to it. The idea of having numerous small holes needled into my face was particularly daunting. Despite research beforehand being reassuring about the safety of this procedure, I was apprehensive about the recovery period, imagining my face would resemble a scene from the horror movie Carrie or look like a giant bloody scab for a few days.

Considering Alternatives

I’ve described being older as looking just like I did 10 years ago, except like I didn’t get a good night’s sleep and am really stressed out, and it’s permanent. I’ve never liked the idea of Botox, which only lasts a few months and works by paralyzing the muscles, seemingly counterproductive in my opinion. A while back, I tried a full course of acupuncture facials with no noticeable results. I also own several books on “face yoga,” which involves exercising your facial muscles by exaggerating certain expressions. It seems like in theory it should work, but I’ve never been disciplined enough to make it a daily routine. Given my past experiences, I decided it was worth giving the PRP facial a try.

The Procedure

The first step was drawing my blood to process the PRP, which takes 18 minutes. Meanwhile, the nurse applied a Lidocaine numbing cream to my face and waited for 15 minutes for it to take effect. Once my skin felt slightly numbed, Holly, the nurse, applied the PRP and microneedled it into my face, targeting the forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose with different needle settings for each area.

Interestingly, the PRP is bright yellow, which was a relief as it didn’t trigger my usual nausea associated with red blood. I had read that the sensation was akin to being sandpapered, and this description was fairly accurate, though the discomfort was minimal and mostly psychological. The experience was comparable to getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist—low enjoyment, but only minor discomfort.

The microneedling process lasted about 15-20 minutes. Afterward, Holly rubbed in some leftover PRP and provided an additional syringe full for home application. My face felt like a slightly numbed piece of raw meat, but surprisingly, there was no redness when I looked in the mirror.

The Less Pleasant Aspects

There were a couple of unpleasant aspects of the experience:

  • Some PRP accidentally went into my nose, and the smell was reminiscent of algae-filled water, lingering for six hours as I couldn’t wash my face.
  • The numbing cream left my face feeling odd for several hours. In hindsight, I suspect the pain might not have been significant enough to warrant numbing, so I might skip it next time or request a thinner layer.

Early Results and Reflections

As for the results, I’m pleasantly surprised by the immediate “glow” and a slightly less haggard appearance. Some darker pigmentation spots, particularly one on my left cheek, have faded noticeably:

Before

Before PRP Facial

After

After PRP Facial

Though the thought of undergoing the treatment twice more in the coming months isn’t appealing (the next one happens in early June, so stay tuned!), it seems a worthwhile tradeoff for the benefits. The journey to rejuvenation is a personal one, and for now, the PRP facial appears to be a promising step in the right direction.

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