Vampire Facial: What you Need to Know + Recovery Time
I took the plunge and got the famous vampire facial. I’ve heard about it for years, ever since Kim Kardashian made it famous with her bloody selfie. But to be honest, I was never actually interested in getting it myself. Sure I’ve dabbled in “anti-aging” but I’m generally really happy with my skin and even though I just turned 30, I’m not worried about wrinkles, discoloration or anything like. I also don’t give a flying f*ck about what Kim Kardashian does nor do I have any interest in following any of her “trends”. Sidebar, from watching the People VS OJ Simpson on Netflix it’s pretty clear the worst thing that happened to those girls was the death of their father who seemed to be the voice of reason in their celebrity and vanity filled world. That’s all I have to say about that.
Back to the facial; Sadhna Wellness Center in Jericho, NY contacted me recently and offered me this famous vampire facial. As someone who likes to say YES to life and new experiences, I decided why the heck not and to give it a try. First things first I did a whole bunch of research. What was this facial anyways and what could I expect? From everything I read and watched it seemed pretty straight forward. The doctor at Sadhna would take a vial of my blood, spin in for a few minutes to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. This platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is high in growth hormone which will make you look young and fresh, or so they say. After micro needling your face to create channels for the PRP, the fluid is rubbed all over your face. The idea here I’m told is that by disrupting your skin, you’re promoting healing and new skin formation, by enhancing that healing with PRP, the process is made that much better and the new skin is extra young and fresh.
My first thoughts and fear were around the blood itself. Ever the hypochondriac, I worried about getting infected with Hep C or something equally as “for life” and wondered if this facial was really worth getting AIDS over. I got in touch with my friend who works at a plastic surgery office and asked if I was crazy, she said “absolutely, you’re insane. It’s your blood and it’s not going to touch anything else so there’s no chance in it getting infected with anything.” Phew.
Next I worried about recovery time, would I look like Samantha Jones after her chemical peel? But the internet assured me that I would be fine. For the next day or so after the treatment I would be red, like I had a sunburn, but that would be it. As someone who’s very pale and had many a sunburn over the years, I figured it would be no problem to deal with that.
I had faith in Sadhna Wellness Center and and vampire facial itself so decided to go for it. Plus this treatment is pretty pricey and Sadhna was offering it to me for free, I couldn’t lose!
I headed out to Jericho, NY one rainy Saturday morning, about an hour drive from my home in Staten Island. Traffic was a bit rough (typical New York at any time really) and arrived at their amazing facility right on time. I had no idea how big and beautiful I was going to be (that’s what she said). A standalone building right off the highway, it was massive. It was also crazy clean and brand spanking new. Everything was
state of the art and I was very impressed as we walked from room to room and from floor to floor, each space was more beautifully designed than the last. I was starting to feel at ease in their capable hands. I felt especially at ease when I saw that all of their instrumentation coming out of sterilized packages, safety first!
The Vampire Facial Step By Step
Step 1: Clean and Freeze
First they clean your face, not your eye makeup because they aren’t treating that area but everywhere else, cheeks, forehead, chin and nose. Standard cleaning like if you were at home doing it yourself, no deep treatments, masks, extractions or anything like you would expect during a typical facial. Next up they cover your face with numbing cream, a great thick layer of numbing cream. This was weird. Within a few minutes my face felt cold and simultaneously hot. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized that the whole area around my mouth was bright red. It was like going to the dentist to have a cavity filled but instead of just your jaw, your entire face is frozen. An interesting feeling for sure and also makes me wonder, how painful would the needles have been without it?
Step 2: Draw Blood
Next up they take one vial of blood from your body in the same way you would have it drawn at any doctor’s office. They take the vial and put it into a centrifuge machine which is basically a fancy way to say they spun it around really fast for about 10 minutes while I hung out with a frozen face. Your blood never leaves the original via it was taken in so you don’t have to worry about contamination. When they take it out of the spinner, you can clearly see the red blood cells had separated from the PRP. This “liquid gold” is what they use to infuse your face with a youthful glow.
Step 3: Get it in You
Sit back, relax and have a million tiny needles poked into your face. First the doctor injected the PRP into the deepest lines on my forehead. This deeper treatment is usually an extra to the regular microneededling (aka costs more) but is supposed to have better results when it comes to smoothing out deeper lines. It won’t freeze of fill them like other treatments (think Botox or Juvederm) but this extra healing power is meant to shine through more than the regular needles.
For the microneedling, the esthetician used a pen like device with a faint buzzing sound. It wasn’t unpleasant; you really couldn’t feel much other than pressure and a little tickle in certain areas thanks to all the freezing goo. It certainly felt tender along my hairline where the freezing gel didn’t make it. Overall, the treatment was no more painful or unpleasant than a regular facial.
After she made the “holes” in my face she applied the PRP to the surface of my face and rubbed it in. This surprised me because I had thought the PRP would be injected by the needles not applied to the skin afterwards but apparently that’s how it’s done.
They continued this whole process over my face twice and that was it.
Step 4: Recover
As you can see from the video, the recovery process was a lot longer than I thought it would be. From my research I thought I would have a day or two of redness and that was about it. When I got to Sadhna they informed me it would be a lot longer. Redness turned to flaking turned to scabbing turned to crazy dryness all and all the healing process was at least a week. While this wouldn’t have been a big deal if I was hibernating, as someone who has to go out into the world every day, this recovery time was way too long.
Thankfully I didn’t have any big events so could just go to work and back but this really kicked up a lot of old feelings from when I had acne and eczema. I hadn’t realized how good it felt to have perfect skin. For the last several months I have been using a Rodan + Fields acne wash and my breakouts disappeared. I guess it was so gradual that I didn’t really notice but honestly it feels amazing not to have to think about or cover up my face. This facial reminded me how lucky I am now.
Step 5: Results
After a week of weird skin I was honestly just happy to look normal again. Unfortunately I don’t have before and after photos because it’s quite hard to notice a difference with the naked eye. I think my skin looks great. I thought my skin looked great before as well. The lines in my forehead do seem reduced but they are still there, less but still present. The tone and texture of my skin is very nice, it was quite nice beforehand as well. Again, I did a bad job at judging the results here, but overall I think my skin looks just as good as it did before.
I was told by the Dr’s at Sadhna that because my skin was generally so “tight” that I didn’t really need this treatment all over. They definitely focused on the forehead (which is why it took so long to heal) and didn’t do too much on my cheeks and chin as these weren’t really in need of it. So why I’m gathering is that the ideal client for a vampire facial is someone who needs to tighten up loose skin and wants to blur wrinkles. I’m not quite in that category.
Final thoughts, this was an interesting experience I am in no rush to repeat. I don’t think I would ever get another vampire facial. Maybe you’re in a different “skin place” than I am and this will be right for you. If you’re in the NYC area, definitely check out Sadhna, they do a lot more than vampire facials. As well as facial aesthetics they have anti-aging medicine bio-identical hormone therapy, functional neurology, IV infusion therapy, chronic headache treatment, yoga, meditation, tai chi/qigong, massage therapy, laser treatment, hyperpigmentation and acne treatment, hair removal and more. Really a one stop shop for looking and feeling young.