"Vampire Facials:" A Spooky-Sounding Way To Rejuvenate Skin?

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
CBS News

CBS News

(CBS) In the quest against aging, some people are turning to the same substance vampires use to stay young forever: blood.

They're not drinking it, but getting injections of blood plasma in their faces in a process nicknamed "vampire facials," CBS News' Teresa Garcia reports.

Results last six months to a year.

Technicians draw a vial of a patients blood which is then spun in a centrifuge, to separate red blood cells from plasma, which is then smeared into tiny holes poked in the patient's skin.

Dr. Paul Nassib, a plastic surgeon at Spalding Drive Plastic Surgery and Dermatology in Beverly Hills, told CBS News the procedure helps reduce pore size and helps with fine lines to rejuvenate the skin.

"You're aging. You're on a conveyor belt, and the bottom line is when you do this procedure, we pick you up on the conveyor belt and move you back," he said.

Kim Kardashian underwent the procedure on "Kourtney and Kim take Miami" in March, CBS Miami reported at the time.

'There is controversy with this treatment," her physician, Dr. Julio Gallo of the Miami Institute for Age Management, said in March. "Is it the panacea for aging? No. Or a replacement for a facelift? No. But, is it a good treatment for maintaining and looking fresh and new? It is."

The platelets found in the plasma contain substances called "growth factors" that are supposed to activate and rejuvenate cells, explained Dr. Jennifer Walden, an aesthetic plastic surgeon based in Texas, to CBSNews.com. Walden is currently involved in research of one plasma treatment combined with lasers, which she says shows promise.

"However, the efficacy and safety of (platelet-rich plasma) for cosmetic treatment have not been extensively studied in controlled clinical trials," she said in an email. "The good news is there is very little risk for rejection, infection or an allergic reaction using one's own cells as a skin treatment."

The procedure costs about $2,000, but not all experts are convinced it will help the skin.

"It makes no clinical sense that this would help at all," New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, told CBSNews.com. "I think it's literally crazy."

To prevent skin aging, she points out people can wear sunscreen and reduce their time in the sun, eat a healthy diet or use moisturizing products. She adds that $2,000 could purchase other more widely-used laser and chemical skin rejuvenation treatments, or injections of FDA-approved products such as Botox, Restylane and Sculptra.

"Lots of things you can do to turn back the clock instead of putting blood in your face," she said.

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