Undead skin cells? Vampire facials gaining popularity

FRESNO, California -- Dr. Edgar Macias handles skin care from the critical to the cosmetic, and his schedule became even busier after he started offering the Vampire Facial.

The board-certified Fresno dermatologist said calls started coming in for the skin-rejuvenating treatment after a much-followed celebrity posted about the process.

Kim Kardashian West created a lot of buzz about the facial that might look scary but promises supernatural results.

"The results are instantaneous. Immediate gratification is key. So the patient will experience a radiant glow immediately after the procedure, they'll feel the difference in the tone and texture of their skin, it's a lot smoother, it removes a lot of dead skin cells from the surface," said Dr. Macias.

Bringing dead skin cells back to life? The Vampire Facial didn't scare away Amber Contino of Fresno. In fact, the 29-year-old married, mother of two is on her third treatment.

"It makes me look youthful, it minimizes my pores, gets rid of my dark circles, the fine lines seem to disappear, it's like the best thing ever."

Amber says the Vampire Facial gives her such a glow, that she can often skip makeup when she's running around as a busy mom.

"It feels like I have better skin than I've ever had in my life," said Contino.

The Vampire Facial starts with numbing cream, to make the patient more comfortable.

Registered nurse, Halli Bisla, handles the process in Dr. Macias' office and said it must be done by a medical professional, because it involves a blood draw.

Contino said that is the only slightly painful part. A vial of her blood is taken, then put in a centrifuge which spins it at a high rate of speed separating the blood from the platelet rich plasma, or PRP. PRP has been used for years in medicine for wound-healing and repair.

Dr. Macias said dermatologists began using PRP for skin treatments because there's nothing better than the bodies' own perfect combination of 19 growth factors in the platelets.

"It's a super-charged cocktail of anti-aging regenerative and repairing serum."

While her blood is spinning, Contino gets the micro-needling part of the vampire facial.

A motorized pen with tiny needles causes micro-injuries to the skin which serve as channels for the PRP to soak in. All while the body repairs those injuries with new collagen.

Now Contino is ready for her own platelet rich plasma to be applied to her face, which at first, sounded strange.

"I totally thought that it was like, literally smearing blood on my face and I was shocked when she showed me the separated blood with the PRP and it was smearing the platelets in your face."

The red blood cells separate to the bottom and the plasma separates upwards which holds the platelets. The platelets contain all of the growth factors. They don't call it liquid gold for nothing.

Contino said the "liquid gold" brings instant relief after the micro-needling.

Dr. Macias said the Vampire Facial results get better over time as the growth factors in the PRP continue to improve the skin.

The recommended course of treatment is three sessions spaced four to six weeks apart for about $1,700.

Contino said the facials save her time because it enables her to shorten her skin-care routine. So she gladly spends an hour at a time for the facial, and like a vampire, she returns time after time.

"I will do it again and again and again. I will keep doing it until they tell me I can't."

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