Many people have heard of the Vampire Facial® (trademark of Dr. Charles Runels). Not quite as many have heard about Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and fewer still have heard about PRFM or Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix. All of these use the same ingredients– growth factors from your own blood– to improve the skin and restore a natural youthful appearance. Read on to learn all about how these treatments are done and what they achieve for your skin.
In January 2013, an Alabama doctor, Charles Runels, was using PRP and microneedling for facial rejuvenation and trademarked the term for this procedure the “Vampire Facial.” Later that year, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian very famously underwent the procedure and posted selfies afterwards. This helped to spur a surge in PRP procedures in the US and abroad. Kim later talked about regretting having the procedure– not because it didn't work– but because she was pregnant at the time, and could not have anesthetic for it. Without numbing the skin with topical anesthetic, it would hurt!
In large part due to Kim’s fame, PRP became hugely popular. Not only because of her, but because it actually worked. In 2019 Kim Kardashian sued Dr. Runels for using her name to promote the procedure. That suit was settled in 2020. Meanwhile Dr. Runels is known for suing anyone who is not certified who uses the Vampire name to promote PRP and microneedling. Only doctors who pay for his certification can use the trademarked term. So, to be clear, for the purposes of this discussion, we are referring to PRP and PRFM procedures. Outside of Forks, there are no vampires in here in Washington.
To obtain PRP, you must first draw the blood and then spin it down in a centrifuge. The serum and platelets are then drawn off into a syringe (leaving the red blood cells in the tube). PRP is a golden fluid and is not actually bloody at all. We use special PRP kits, designed for making PRP in a sterile fashion so it can be reinjected. There are several companies that make high-quality PRP kits. Some kits, but not all, also have the ability to yield PRFM. There are some providers who make their own kits. I’m not a fan of this– though it does save a lot of money. But it brings in human error and the possibility of contamination into the process. If you are going to have a PRP procedure– ask what kit they are using.
PRP contains multiple growth factors that stimulate collagen and tissue regeneration. PRP has been used for decades for all kinds of purposes. It started in orthopedics, to help repair joint tissue. It has been used increasingly in aesthetics to rejuvenate the skin and facial tissues.
Because it is made from your own blood, it can be reinjected back into you to help stimulate healing and regeneration. It is often injected into the under-eye area, nasolabial folds and wrinkles of the lower face. It can also be used with microneedling, to allow it to be absorbed into the skin to stimulate collagen production.
PRP is typically used for a full-facial rejuvenation treatment that includes direct injections and microneedling. PRP can also be used to stimulate hair growth for people who are suffering from alopecia. You can read more about hair loss treatment on our website here.
When PRP is activated with calcium, it turns into Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix. PRFM over a few minutes turns from a liquid into a soft gel. It has been found that when PRP is injected, because it is a liquid, much of it diffuses away from the area where it was placed.
But PRFM, because it forms a gel inside the tissues, stays put and acts as a depot for growth factors. Over the years we have gone more and more towards using PRFM, because it has more potent results.
At Glow Medispa, our PRP kits contain 2 sterile vacuum tubes. The first tube is to make PRP. The second tube contains activating factors and is used to turn PRP into PRFM.
PRFM is generally used for direct injections without microneedling. We especially love PRFM for the under-eye area, or the tear trough. This area often is the first place that we notice signs of aging. We lose the fat pad under the eyes, causing a hollow to form there. It is also the thinnest skin in the body, and the first place you tend to notice the skin thinning out and becoming more wrinkly.
PRFM is placed in the area with a cannula, and after several treatments, fills the volume and decreases the wrinkles. PRFM treatments have largely, though not completely, supplanted filler for the tear trough. Filler is still important when there has been a significant volume loss. PRFM injections can be performed in any area where increased volume, collagen and tissue regeneration is desired.
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