Have too many wrinkles or irritating skin pigmentation? The vampire facial may be just what the doctor ordered. But you’ll need to fly to Dusseldorf or Munich, Germany to have an appointment with Barbara Sturm, an orthopedic physician who is the originator of this unusual treatment. After yielding a bit of blood, as well as $950 USD, Dr. Sturm will whip up a face cream “called MC1, infused with proteins from [your own] blood.” This cream is to be applied at bedtime, or if you’re Kim Kardashian, a needle will inject this cream, or plasma, even deeper into your facial skin.
Sturm’s technique of blood drawing is very specific. She uses tiny glass beads in her syringe. While she is pulling out blood on the uneven surface of a face, the action creates a “wound-healing response,” reports the New York Post. This novel method, Sturm says, stimulates more proteins called growth factors, which “trigger collagen” and other skin healing properties. The drawn blood is then incubated for six hours and then spun in a centrifuge to make a “protein-rich plasma.” This plasma then gets mixed in a cream full of rich botanicals. The MC1 cream lasts for twelve weeks. If you need a refill, which costs $450 for the 30 milliliter jar, Dr. Sturm will happily store your blood in her freezer.
Cher, Kim Kardashian, Jason Statham and a host of other celebrities and beauty consultants swear by it, but not everyone is convinced. Dermatologist Evan Rieder, from NYU Langone Medical Center, remains skeptical that growth factors used in a cream base would still retain their biological activity. He says there’s not enough evidence to convince “the dermatological community.”
Dr. Strum’s path to the vampire facial began fifteen years ago when she began researching “platelet-rich plasma, or PRP” as part of her orthopedic practice. Using a PRP injection into a joint injury had become a treatment when Kobe Bryant flew to Germany to receive it in 2012. Strum simply shifted her technique from injecting PRP to withdrawing blood and formulating personal blood rich MC1 creams.
Believers of the method say it jumpstarts new cell growth, increases collagen, decrease wrinkles and gives the face a warm glow. If the price is a bit steep, look for natural cures. Smear a little banana, honey or oatmeal on your face, or lay a few cucumbers under your eyes. A lemon mixed with olive oil can also give your face a that extra shine.