‘Vampire facials’ not for the faint of heart - FOX 13 News

‘Vampire facials’ not for the faint of heart

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Barbara Peden is hoping a specialized procedure will help stave off the dreaded effects of aging.

Like many women Barbara has tried creams.

"Over the years, I have bought a number of products that are supposed to help your skin look younger," the 41-year-old said. 

She admits she didn't follow through.

"I'm not good at putting things on my face at night; I'm not consistent with that," she said.

Barbara also considered botulinum toxins, like Botox. 

"I wasn't interested in putting something that wasn't natural into my body – thought about it - looked into it - but I just couldn't quite get there," she said.

Then a friend told her about a biofacial to help stimulate stem cells beneath her skin. She had her first one two years ago and was sold.

"This is all I do - and it's worked very well," Peden said.

But you won't find this facial is a typical treatment. That's because it's made from Barbara's own blood.  

After her blood is drawn, a numbing cream is placed on Barbara's face and allowed to work.  Meanwhile, in the lab, her blood is being spun down in a centrifuge.  First, they separate the red cells from the fluid, and then a second spin further separates the solid platelets from the plasma. 

Platelets are tiny cell fragments that help our blood clot.  Mixing the fluid plasma and super concentrated platelets with the Emcyte system creates "Pure PRP," or platelet rich plasma. 

"There are 1,100 proteins on one platelet, and with platelet rich plasma, you release all the growth factors from the platelets and all of those healing capable proteins can rejuvenate tendons, ligaments, bone," said Joseph Greco, Ph.D, PA.  

Greco's been working with PRP for almost eight years: first investigating its effect on acne scars and then for hair restoration.   Now, he's now harnessing PRP to heal skin.

Greco has published and lectured at international meetings years before celebrities like Kim Kardashian, and the "Vampire" facial made their way into the media. 

He said, at first, people were skeptical,

"We've had great results the last six years, and it's great that it's becoming mainstream because when we were doing it, people would just shake their heads and say it can't work, but it's just a wonderful rejuvenation - and that fact that Kim Kardashian was pregnant attests to the fact that it's safe," he said. "It's natural."

But Greco also said the process is still evolving. Thanks to newer technology in the lab the elixir is a bit easier to stomach since it's no longer blood red.

"It has all the advantages of high growth factor levels without the red cells," Greco said.

Greco has made even more changes since we first introduced you to PRP biofacials in 2009. He sees even more advances in the future using additives or light therapy to boost growth factor release and skin response.

Just before the facial begins, two syringes are filled with super concentrated PRP.  Greco begins by injecting it into problem areas.

"... With Barbara we did her forehead and we worked on the mid face to keep that face fullness.   Usually, with photo aging and age, we lose that ... nice  plump look," he said.

But he said this is only the first step.  Barbara's stem cells will have to do the rest.

"In the first two weeks, it's just what we call the proliferation phase. We've stimulated the dermis, and we've injected the growth factors and the fibroblasts will come in and deposit more collagen."

Next, Greco uses a Derma-roller.  

The tiny needles make tiny micro-incisions that help the PRP penetrate into the skin. 

"As I'm rolling, Sharon is painting on platelet pure plasma," he said.

The last step is a freeze dried collagen mask. 

"It's been used for burn patients, and it's just a nice, cooling hydrating sheets that we put on afterward," he said.

He believes it helps drive growth factors into the skin.  Growth factors to wake up collagen producing stem cells.

After 20 minutes, Barbara's mask is removed. 

A cream is applied to her skin, and moments later Barbara says she feels a difference. 

"After I leave it feels distinctly better," she said. "I think it's dried out over a period of time, and when you come in and they put all that back in - it does – it feels a lot  better."

Greco said a recent study backs that up and shows improved skin hydration and improvements in fine lines and wrinkles.

"It appears that people who have more damage do better," he said.

But there's another reason Barbara keeps coming back.

"I didn't see any major changes to tell you the truth.  However, looking forward, which is why I continue to come, is that my skin has stayed the same from when I first had the procedure done.  My wrinkles haven't changed, so it's definitely working." 

A regenerative approach to reverse an age old problem.

Publication, Amgar, et.al.


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