Terrifying But True: Blood Is a Red-Hot Beauty Ingredient

People are going to scary lengths for glowing skin. 

Tis the season for ghosts and ghouls. But, why pay admission for a haunted house, when you can find plenty of gore, and glowing skin, to boot, at your local med spa?

Ever since Kim Kardashian West exposed the world to the infamous "Vampire Facial" in 2013, beauty buffs have been intrigued by the benefits of a blood-splattered face. (Sorry. There was no nicer way to say that.) "I love trying anything that makes you look and feel youthful," Kim explained at the time. And the gory treatment has been gaining steam ever since. 

The phenomenon — or at least, a satirical version of it — even made a cameo in Season 3 of Odd Mom Out. And though the show's characters Jill (Jill Kargman) and Vanessa (KK Glick) found the treatment more terrifying than skin-tightening, there are plenty of people who will happily go under the needle for a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial. (FYI: that's the official name of the service, though monster names are always more fun.)  

First, here's how the treatment works: after drawing blood from your arm, the doctor will use a centrifuge to separate the blood out from the plasma. Then, the doc will use a microneedling pen to cause tiny ruptures in your face, and inject your own platelet-rich plasma back onto those mini wounds. 

Is it painful? Eh, slightly. But we're told a scary Halloween movie is more likely to make you scream than a PRP Facial. And, you'll get some numbing cream on your face to make the microneedling feel less tingly. The bigger question might be: Why would anyone choose to subject herself to this? After all, a simple facial steam sounds infinitely more relaxing. 

"Blood contains a number of healing agents, growth factors, and other proteins that can have benefits for the skin," explains Sejal Shah, board certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor. "Platelets are rich in growth factors and other proteins that promote healing and cell growth." 

Graceanne Svendsen, celebrity facialist at Shafer Plastic Surgery and another RealSelf contributor, adds: "By using the platelet rich plasma or PRP in a facial with microneedling, we are drenching the skin in a vulnerable state with thousands of tiny microscopic growth factors. These are our natural healing agents that are made to protect, repair, and improve our skin at a cellular level." 

In other words, this treatment goes deep, and has the potential to give users a more youthful appearance. Its famous fans include The Real Housewives of Orange County pal Shannon Beador, who says that the service has helped her maintain a youthful appearance. Recently chatting with The Lookbook about the facial, Shannon said: "I will say I notice a little bit of tightening here. So, I’m going to get it done again. I think it’s good!”

Our advice, though: don't get this facial right before your big Halloween party. (Or any event, for that matter.) "There is redness the day of the procedure; the severity of redness depends on how aggressive the treatment is," Dr. Shah warns. "Most people are back to normal by day two, but occasionally pinkness persists for two to three days." No gore, no gain — right? 

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