top of page

Vampire Facial Recovery: Aftercare Questions Answered

Updated: Jun 24

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is a cutting-edge aesthetic procedure now being incorporated into treatments for tissue regeneration, skin care, hair growth, and hair restoration- and now for the growing trend of the "PRP facelift." The PRP facial treatment, also known as vampire facial work, harnesses the potential of blood plasma and concentrated platelets from the patient's own blood to support the skin's natural processes on the patient's face. The appeal of this procedure arises from its marketing as a "PRP facelift," a nonsurgical alternative to a traditional surgical facelift, aiming to produce a radiant appearance and younger looking skin.

This article is designed for healthcare providers and delves into the critical aspects of post-procedural care, essential for optimizing the outcomes of the cosmetic procedure. Through a detailed examination of both immediate and long-term aftercare protocols, it provides a comprehensive guide to managing patient recovery effectively. Additionally, it addresses potential complications and the importance of patient education in ensuring adherence to aftercare instructions.

For a closer consideration of vampire facial results, see our article on PRP For Face Treatments.


What Are Vampire Facials?

The vampire facial, formally known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, involves a biologically based procedure designed to harness the patient's blood and own platelets to support the skin's natural processes. PRP injections are increasingly utilized in aesthetic medicine and involve drawing a small sample of the patient’s own blood, which is then centrifuged to isolate platelets. These concentrated platelets are subsequently reintroduced into the skin through a method known as microneedling.


Vampire Facial Recovery

The scientific premise behind PRP therapy centers on the platelets’ role in clotting and tissue healing. Platelets release growth factors that are thought to aid the skin's natural processes. The technique of microneedling creates micro-channels in the skin, which can facilitate the absorption of the platelets and their growth factors into deeper layers of the skin. This is achieved while maintaining the integrity of the epidermis to a significant extent, which is essential to mitigate potential complications and support the skin's barrier function [1].

Post-procedure care is pivotal in maximizing the outcomes of PRP therapy. Proper aftercare not only ensures the optimal integration of the platelet-derived growth factors but also reduces the risk of adverse effects such as infections or excessive inflammation.


Healthcare providers should guide their patients to follow a gentle skincare regimen post-procedure that avoids potentially irritating substances. Additionally, it is critical to manage patient activities in the days following the procedure to prevent excessive sweating, exposure to high heat, or even direct contact with sunlight, all of which can negatively affect the healing process.


Moreover, patient compliance with aftercare instructions is crucial for the success of the therapy. As healthcare providers, the communication of clear, detailed, and scientifically grounded aftercare instructions is necessary. It is advisable to provide patients with written guidelines that include symptoms that warrant medical consultation, thereby ensuring that both minor and significant concerns are promptly addressed.


Benefits of the Procedure

PRP therapy has shown promise in enhancing the structural integrity of the skin by supporting collagen production (collagen matrix assembly) and promoting a more robust epidermal environment. Its autologous nature means a substantially lower probability of immunogenic reactions, positioning PRP therapy as a potentially safer alternative to synthetic implants or chemical fillers. From a clinical perspective, this method may provide an adjunct or alternative to traditional interventions, with the added benefit of utilizing the body's intrinsic potential to maintain dermal homeostasis. Thus, PRP therapy offers healthcare practitioners a patient-centric option grounded in the principles of hematology and patient-specific biological suitability [2].


Immediate Aftercare

Immediate aftercare following PRP therapy is critical in managing the initial response of the skin to the treatment and ensuring the safety and comfort of the patient. The primary objectives in the immediate post-procedure phase are to support wound healing, minimize common side effects of prp procedure such as pain, swelling, and bruising, and to support the skin's natural processes in a scientifically sound manner [3].


Vampire Facial Recovery

Pain Management

It is typical for patients to experience mild discomfort immediately after the procedure. This pain is usually transient and can be effectively managed with the use of cold compresses applied gently to the treated areas.


Vampire Facial recovery

These compresses help soothe the skin and reduce discomfort without interfering with the biological processes initiated by the PRP treatments. Healthcare providers should advise patients against the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as these can potentially diminish the effectiveness of the PRP treatment [4]. Common NSAIDs include:


  • Ibuprofen (often sold under brand names like Advil and Motrin)

  • Aspirin (such as Bayer and Excedrin)

  • Naproxen (commonly known as Aleve)

  • Diclofenac (available under brand names like Voltaren and Cataflam)


Swelling and Bruising

Swelling is a common response and generally resolves within a few days post-procedure. Patients can be advised to keep their heads elevated, especially when sleeping, to help reduce swelling. For bruising, which can vary in intensity depending on individual patient factors and the specific technique used, cold compresses can also be beneficial.

Providers should educate patients on what to expect regarding the extent and duration of swelling and bruising, emphasizing that these are normal responses to the microneedling component of PRP therapy.


Skincare Routines and Products

In the immediate aftermath of PRP therapy, the skin is particularly sensitive, necessitating a tailored skincare routine. Healthcare providers should recommend the use of gentle, non-irritating cleansers and moisturizers to help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier.

It is crucial to avoid the application of topical products containing active ingredients such as retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) in the initial days following the procedure, as these can exacerbate skin irritation.


Vampire Facial Recovery

Sun protection is paramount; patients should be instructed to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and to avoid direct sun exposure. This helps prevent UV-induced sun damage, while the skin is still vulnerable.


Immediate Follow-Up

Clear communication about what patients can expect during the recovery process and when they should seek medical advice is vital. Healthcare providers should instruct patients to report any signs of infection, significant increases in pain, or any other unusual symptoms. An immediate post-procedure follow-up appointment can be beneficial to assess the healing process and address any patient concerns.


Long-Term Aftercare

Long-term aftercare following platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is pivotal for ensuring that the patient’s skin is supported throughout its recovery process, following initial post-procedure care. This phase focuses on the gradual restoration of skin function, the monitoring of therapeutic outcomes, and adherence to a regimen that supports skin health [5].


Recovery Timeline

The recovery timeline after PRP therapy can vary, but typically, patients may see initial improvement within a few weeks of treatment, with more noticeable results emerging after several months. It is important for healthcare providers to communicate that while the visible effects may become apparent gradually, the underlying processes at the cellular level occur at a different pace.


Full recovery and the stabilization of the skin texture and appearance might take up to six months, depending on individual patient factors and the specific protocol used.


Activities to Avoid

During the recovery period, patients should continue to avoid activities that can compromise skin integrity or delay healing. These activities include, but are not limited to, excessive sun exposure, which can significantly damage sensitive skin and undermine the supportive environment needed for new skin cells and for the skin's natural processes. Use of tanning beds or exposure to harsh environmental conditions should also be avoided.


Vampire Facial Recovery

Strenuous exercise and activities that lead to excessive sweating or environmental exposure should be minimized for at least the first few weeks post-procedure. This is to ensure that the microchannels created during the microneedling process have sufficiently healed. The recovery time before returning to normal activities for most patients is a matter of a few days.


Importance of Follow-Up Appointments

Follow-up appointments are crucial for assessing the patient’s progress and responding to any concerns that may arise during the recovery phase. These sessions provide an opportunity for healthcare providers to evaluate the healing process, make adjustments to aftercare recommendations, and reinforce the importance of adherence to prescribed aftercare protocols.


During these appointments, it is also essential for providers to assess the patient's satisfaction with the results and to discuss any further treatments if necessary. These interactions should be grounded in factual, evidence-based information and should focus on realistic expectations and outcomes.


Managing Complications

Addressing and managing potential complications is an essential component of post-procedure care following PRP therapy. Healthcare providers must be proficient in recognizing and responding to complications that, while typically rare, can critically impact patient outcomes.


Potential Complications

Complications following PRP therapy can include localized infection, pronounced inflammation, or allergic reactions. Such adverse effects might present as disproportionate redness, swelling, discomfort, or the presence of pus at the injection sites. In addition, although less common, systemic reactions such as fever or generalized rash may occur and signify a more serious response that requires prompt medical intervention [6].


Medical Attention Guidelines

Immediate medical evaluation is crucial when any signs of infection or severe allergic reactions are observed. Healthcare providers should instruct patients to report any persistent or worsening symptoms following the procedure.


Early detection and treatment of complications are paramount to preventing progression and facilitating a safe recovery. It is vital for patients to understand which symptoms are normal and which are indicative of potential complications.


Strategies to Minimize Discomfort and Enhance Healing

To effectively minimize discomfort and support the healing process, providers should advise patients on the importance of both immediate and long-term aftercare. In addition to those, educating patients on the importance of maintaining a clean and protected treatment area is also crucial.


This includes using sterile dressings when recommended and avoiding touching or picking at the treatment sites. Implementing these practices will not only help in managing discomfort but also significantly reduce the risk of complications.


Through diligent monitoring and patient education, healthcare providers can effectively manage and mitigate potential complications following PRP therapy, ensuring most patients have a safer and more effective healing process. This proactive approach is key to maintaining patient health and achieving the desired outcomes of the treatment.


Patient Education for Platelet Rich Plasma Procedures

Patient education is paramount to ensuring the success of PRP therapy. Healthcare providers must emphasize the critical importance of compliance with aftercare instructions, which is instrumental in minimizing complications and optimizing the outcomes of the treatment. Detailed, clear, and scientifically grounded guidelines should be communicated to patients both verbally and in written form to reinforce understanding and adherence.


Moreover, fostering an environment of open communication is essential. Patients should feel encouraged to ask questions and express concerns throughout their recovery process. This ongoing dialogue allows for timely adjustments to aftercare protocols and the immediate addressing of any arising issues.


Additionally, providers should offer access to reputable resources for further information or support. This could include educational materials, website links, or referrals to support groups, ensuring that patients are well-supported and informed throughout their post-procedure journey. Such comprehensive educational efforts contribute significantly to patient safety and satisfaction.


Potential Limitations and Risks

As PRP therapy garners attention across various medical and aesthetic fields, it's imperative for healthcare professionals to critically assess its limitations and the risks entailed. A thorough comprehension of these factors is pivotal for guiding informed patient consultations on PRP therapy's broad applications.


1. Limited Clinical Evidence

The employment of PRP therapy, while promising, is marked by a scarcity of extensive, longitudinal clinical studies. The substantiation of PRP's effectiveness across different treatment areas, along with a nuanced understanding of its potential side effects and the identification of optimally responsive patient profiles, is an active field of study.

The variability observed in treatment efficacy, influenced by the health status and specific goals of individual patients, necessitates a prudent approach from practitioners. Staying abreast of emerging research and delivering a balanced evaluation of PRP therapy's potential and safety across its various applications is essential.


2. FDA Approval

The instruments and protocols for PRP preparation and application have received clearance from regulatory entities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, specific uses of PRP therapy lack explicit FDA endorsement. As PRP is derived from a patient's own biological materials, it falls outside the purview of drug regulation, affording healthcare providers discretion in its use, tailored to the unique requirements of their patients. [7]


3. Potential for Adverse Reactions

Despite PRP injection's autologous origin—which significantly reduces the chances of allergic reactions or rejection—there remains a possibility for adverse effects. These can encompass localized discomfort, injection site pain, infection risk, and other procedural complications. It is, therefore, crucial for healthcare providers to engage in detailed discussions with patients about these risks, ensuring a well-rounded understanding of the safety aspects of PRP injection therapy for diverse applications.


SELPHYL® Disclaimer

Instructions for the use of SELPHYL® can be found here and here.

SELPHYL® has not been approved by the FDA for subcutaneous, submucous, or intradermal injections in aesthetic medicine, and the safety and effectiveness of SELPHYL® for these conditions have not been established.

SELPHYL® is designed to be used for the safe and rapid preparation of autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from a small sample of peripheral blood at the patient's point of care. The PRP is mixed with autograft and/or allograft bone prior to application to a bony defect to improve handling characteristics.

As of the time of writing, SELPHYL® has no known serious, life-threatening, or fatal risks apart from the adverse reactions described above.


SELPHYL® Limitations, Restrictions, Cautions, and Warnings

  • Prescription only.

  • Do not use the kit if the sterile packaging is damaged or compromised.

  • Follow universal safety precautions for blood collection and sharps disposal.

  • During blood draw, failure to align and properly seat tubes in the tube holder can result in a loss of vacuum and a loss of blood draw.

  • During PRP transfer, failure to align and securely seat tubes simultaneously in assembled blood transfer device tube holders can result in a loss of vacuum and the failure of PRP to transfer to the red-top PRFM tube.

  • Do not initiate the transfer of PRP into the red-top PRFM tube until the physician is ready to complete the procedure.

  • Do not reuse.


SELPHYL® Contraindications

These are not in FDA-required labeling and are part of SELPHYL®’s clinical evaluation for EU CE requirements.

  • Direct connection to a patient’s vascular system of circulating blood volume.

  • Other health conditions and diseases may also contraindicate the use of autologous PRP, including but not limited to low platelet count, sepsis, localized infection in the treatment area, anemia, malignancy with hematologic or bony involvement, and anticoagulation therapy.


Conclusion

Effective post-vampire facial recovery hinges on meticulous adherence to aftercare protocols, clear patient education, and proactive management of complications. Healthcare providers play a crucial role in ensuring patients fully comprehend and follow these guidelines, which is fundamental to optimizing outcomes and ensuring patient safety.

It is imperative that providers manage patient expectations realistically both before and after the procedure. Setting accurate, evidence-based expectations helps foster patient satisfaction and trust, thereby enhancing the overall success of PRP therapy.

This comprehensive approach underscores the necessity of a well-informed and engaged therapeutic partnership between patients and healthcare providers.

About the author: Dr. Ali is a medical journalist and copywriter.


References

  1. Selphyl. About PRFM. Selphyl. Published June 1, 2023. https://www.selphyl.com/about-prfm

  2. Kaushik A, Kumaran MS. Platelet-Rich Plasma: The Journey so Far !. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2020;11(5):685-692.

  3. Townsend C, Von Rickenbach KJ, Bailowitz Z, Gellhorn AC. Post-Procedure Protocols Following Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections for Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review. PM R. 2020;12(9):904-915.

  4. Kao DS, Zhang SW, Vap AR. A Systematic Review on the Effect of Common Medications on Platelet Count and Function: Which Medications Should Be Stopped Before Getting a Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection?. Orthop J Sports Med. 2022;10(4):23259671221088820.

  5. Mautner K, Malanga G, Colberg R. Optimization of ingredients, procedures and rehabilitation for platelet-rich plasma injections for chronic tendinopathy. Pain Manag. 2011;1(6):523-532.

  6. Middleton KK, Barro V, Muller B, Terada S, Fu FH. Evaluation of the effects of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy involved in the healing of sports-related soft tissue injuries. Iowa Orthop J. 2012;32:150-163.

  7. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/plateletrich-plasma-prp-treatment

26 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page