Blood Facials, Blood Baths and Looking Young

If you spent your Saturday night watching MTV’s True Life marathon like I did, then you might have caught the episode “I’m Obsessed with Staying Young.” One of the featured subjects in the documentary series was 19-year-old Chanel, who was followed by cameras on her quest to never grow old. Chanel had it in her head that bathing in animal blood would rejuvenate her aged 19-year-old skin, so she bought a five-gallon bucket of pig’s blood from her local butcher to soak her body in.

Now, I am all for trying new beauty products, especially those that emphasize anti-aging, but an animal blood bath seemed a tad extreme. Not only is it disgusting, but it seems potentially dangerous. It’s not like she was using sterile blood either, she was literally sitting in untested animal blood from a butcher, completely unaware of any bacteria or disease it might have contained. No thanks. 

However, despite the disgust, this made me wonder where she got the idea that pig’s blood would halt the aging process, especially since I couldn’t find any articles or real evidence that it had any effect on human skin. Upon some research, I came across something called “vampire facials.” This sparked my memory to another reality show that puts a lot of stock in beauty procedures, Keeping Up with The Kardashians. It turns out that Kim Kardashian made these blood-based facial treatments popular when she posted an instagram picture of herself undergoing the procedure. 

According to Dr. Terry Long, London’s vampire facial guru, you have to use your own blood for this facial. There are too many health risks in harvesting another person’s blood, even if it is the same blood type and has been tested for any diseases (which made me extra squeamish about Chanel’s animal blood bath). 

The proper name for the process is called Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP. The facial involves spinning a few tablespoons of blood in a centrifuge in order to separated the plasma from the blood. The plasma part is then injected into the facial skin with the aid of a local anesthetic. Since you are using your own bodily fluids, the procedure is actually pretty simple and low risk, despite the intimidating name. 

The reason the facial is so sought after is due to the plasma being extremely rich in platelets. These platelets are filled with impressive growth factors that encourage the anti-aging effect. PRP has actually been used for years in athletes to help them recover from injuries, but only recently has it been implementing as a beauty treatment. Most doctor’s recommend the initial phase to be done in three visits, waiting four weeks between each procedure. After that, a yearly visit should be enough to maintain the plumping effects. 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Rick