"Vampire Face-lifts": Smooth at First Bite
By Catherine Saint Louis
In this anti-aging age, perhaps it’s unsurprising that vampires—ancient, but with forever-young skin—are a cultural obsession. Now a cosmetic treatment to fill in wrinkles or to plump up hollow cheeks is being marketed as a “vampire filler” or a “vampire face-lift.”
In fact, it’s not surgery, but an in-office procedure that entails having blood drawn from your arm, then spun in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets. They are then injected into your face, with the hope of stimulating new collagen production. Selphyl, as the system is called, arrived on the booming facial-rejuvenation market in 2009, and is now used by roughly 300 doctors nationwide in the name of beauty, says Sanjay Batra, the chief executive of Aesthetic Factors, which manufactures the Selphyl system.
This year, the “vampire face-lift” has been promoted on The Rachael Ray Show and The Doctors. It’s also gotten airtime on more than a dozen local news programs, some of which presented unproved claims that results will last 2 years.
Andrew Ordon, MD, FACS, one of the hosts of The Doctors and a board-certified plastic surgeon, gushed on air, “Vampires have moved into plastic surgery, too, and I’m one of them.” The patient in his segment had also recently had her own fat injected into her face to plump it, so it wasn’t clear that platelets had anything to do with her fresher appearance. (Not that that stopped audience applause.)
Ghoulish as the procedure sounds, some patients prefer the idea of using their own blood rather than a neurotoxin or synthetic filler to rejuvenate their faces. “We all want to look better,” said Joan Sarlo, 56, who underwent a Selphyl “vamp-lift” performed by Lisa A. Zdinak, MD, a Manhattan-based doctor whose specialty is "ophthalmic plastic surgery." But the “less unnatural the better,” Sarlo says. “What could be better than your own blood?”