She's not the only one reporting side effects after this procedure—here's what it involves.

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Valerie Bertinelli is giving everyone a candid—and humorous—look at the latest addition to her skincare routine. The 61-year-old actress posted a video to her Instagram Story of her irritated skin after undergoing her second vampire facial.

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Credit: Getty Images

"It's a little redder than last time," she said, showing her face. "It feels like a really, really bad sunburn."

But Bertinelli took a lighthearted outlook on her situation, saying, "What's the old joke: 'Does your face hurt, 'cause it's killing me.' Ohhh vanity."

What Bertinelli dealt with after her vampire facial is a real potential side effect of the procedure, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), which lists pain, bruising, and swelling as possible reactions. The good news is, these tend to go away within a few days.

But what even is a vampire facial?

When you get a vampire facial, small amounts of your own blood are injected into the skin of your face. The procedure is also known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. 

"[The PRP] stimulates collagen, new blood supply and vessels, and even hair follicles," Bruce E. Katz, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist, previously told Health.

There are three steps to a vampire facial, according to the AAD:

  1. A small amount of blood (about 2 to 3 tablespoons) is drawn from your body. The AAD lists the arm as the body part of choice for this step.
  2. The drawn blood is placed into a machine that separates it blood into layers, with one of those layers containing a high concentration of platelets—which form clots and stop or prevent bleeding. Platelets "also contain growth factors that can trigger cell reproduction and stimulate tissue regeneration," according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  3. Using a syringe or microneedle, that platelet-containing layer of blood is injected into your face.

In total, the entire procedure takes about 45 minutes to one hour. The AAD estimates that each vampire facial can range from $250 to $1,500 in the US.

What are the potential benefits of a vampire facial?

"While PRP may sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel, some patients find that PRP can reduce wrinkles, plump up sagging skin, get rid of deep creases, improve one's complexion, [and] diminish acne scars," the AAD says.

iSkin Med Spa—the Hollywood-based spa where Bertinelli got her first and second vampire facials—reposted Bertinelli's video. In the caption, the spa listed other supposed benefits of the procedure, including increased collagen production, improved skin moisture retention, and enhanced skin tone and texture.

Not everyone will see results, but the AAD says that any skin changes should show within a few weeks to months. It typically takes three treatments to see those results, which can last as long as 18 months, per the AAD.

Are there risks to a vampire facial?

Aside from the temporary pain, bruising, and swelling, there are more serious risks, which mostly stem from how your blood is handled. "It's essential that the blood removed from your body be kept sterile. Otherwise, you could develop an infection," according to the AAD.

Vampire facials also made the news in 2018, when it was reported that two people tested positive for HIV after undergoing the procedure at a New Mexico spa. The New Mexico Department of Health then issued a reminder that anybody "desiring cosmetic services involving needle injections should verify the services are being provided by a licensed medical provider."

The AAD also recommends that you skip on getting a vampire facial if you have any of the following conditions:

"These conditions affect your platelets, making them unable to deliver the expected results," according to the AAD.

As for Bertinelli being so open about her own vampire facial experience, fans are thankful. "You are real and that's what I like about you. That makes you a beautiful person inside and out," one person said. "Still beautiful as always," another wrote.

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