In what feels like macabre plot twist — or perhaps a skin-care regimen designed by Dr. Frankenstein — blood-infused skin care is making its mark on the beauty world.
There’s more science than spook behind the increasingly trendy treatments like “vampire facials” (thanks, Kim Kardashian West) and blood-infused lotion — at least in theory. Blood — in scientific speak that’s platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — “is being used to improve skin tone and texture, wrinkles, and even promote hair growth,” Joshua Zeichner, director of clinical and cosmetic research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York previously told Allure.
A patient’s blood is drawn, spun in a centrifuge to extract the PRP, and then injected or applied topically. The latest application of the spooky science — the Vampire Breast Lift — is a little, well, weird, according to the experts.
A blood-sucking boost
In the procedure — an alternative to going under the knife for perkier-looking breasts — PRP is mixed with hyaluronic acid (the same stuff found in facial fillers) or can also be mixed with fat drawn from another area of the body or a saline solution, and is then injected into the breast to achieve a fuller, smoother décolletage. The idea is that PRP, rich in platelets, stem cells and growth factors that stimulate collagen and elastin production, and new cell growth, can add a little more volume to cleavage.
“I believe women who truly need a breast lift can expect modest results at best depending on their exact body,” John Paul Tutela, a board-certified surgeon with offices in New York City and New Jersey, tells Allure. “A certain percentage of the fat that is transferred will be reabsorbed by your body within a year, but whatever remains at that point, can last for a long time.”
The vampire breast lift might give you noticeable results — think putting on a pushup bra — but the actual blood part isn’t going to stimulate breast cells to grow bigger, Melissa Doft, a double board-certified surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, tells Allure. “The PRP is able to stimulate the growth of cells, collagen, and elastin but it does so on a cellular level, which may not be noticeable,” she explains. “There is evidence for PRP helping improve skin texture and appearance. It could improve the skin of the breasts, but it will not lead to perkier breasts — only breast implants and to a lesser degree fat injections can achieve this goal.”
The upside of the vampy procedure is that it’s much less invasive than a surgical breast lift — a.k.a. done in-office with no downtime. “The procedure is as easy as drawing blood when you have your labs checked,” says Doft. If there’s any downtime, it would likely be due to any liposuction done, as part of the vampire lift, adds Tutela.
Costs start at $1,800, according to the official website, but prices might vary depending on your provider.
The dark side
Beyond the modest risks that come with any cosmetic procedure (like infection or bruising), there are some problems with the Vampire Breast Lift, according to the experts.
“The vampire lift appears to be the latest in a long history of purported ‘magic bullets’ for complex surgical problems — in this case, droopy breasts,” Michael Rose, a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon from the Plastic Surgery Center, tells Allure. “While injection of platelet-rich plasma (along with some unspecified volume of sterile saline water) can cause some immediate swelling into the area of the breast, it cannot defy gravity, and move a breast upwards or reposition a nipple.”
Surgical breast lifts, unlike the Vampire Breast Lift, also address excess skin — a common problem that accompanies sagginess. “Even if you fill the breasts back up, the skin needs to be reduced in order to get a pleasing shape to the breasts,” Tutela says. “Anything short of that will likely result in a breast deformity.”
And finally, the injection could actually mess with your mammograms, says Tutela. If fat is used, the changes might be confused with something suspicious. If you do go under the needle, be sure to tell your mammogram provider.