prp facial aftercare

PRP Injection Recovery: What You Wanted to Know but Didn’t Dare Ask

Updated on June 30, 2021, by Don Mehrabi

PRP facial injection, popularly known as the “vampire facial,” is a natural but effective way of restoring your youthful look. Your doctor uses the substances in your own blood to heal and revitalize your skin. The treatment does not expose you to sensitizing chemicals foreign to your body.

You may have discussed PRP therapy with your BHSkin Dermatology specialist but have lingering questions. Learn the specifics of the procedure and what you can expect during your recovery.

PRP Injection Recovery & aftercare

What Is a PRP Facial and How Does It Work?

“PRP” is short for “platelet-rich plasma.”

Plasma is the liquid part of your blood that distributes blood cells, oxygen, nutrients and many other substances throughout the body.

Platelets are blood cells crucial to the healing process. Not only do they help plug skin breaks, but they also release molecules that stimulate the cells responsible for tissue repair.

To make PRP, your skin specialist will take a small sample of your blood and process it to isolate the platelet-rich portion. Injecting PRP into your skin will activate the platelets, initiating a cascade of events that eliminate damaged tissue, stimulate skin cell regrowth and enhance collagen production.

PRP also stimulates the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, which draws water and plumps up depressed or thinning areas of the skin. Together with collagen, hyaluronic acid improves fine lines, atrophic acne scars and similar lesions.

At the end of your treatment, you will see your skin looking more supple and radiant.

PRP therapy has wide applications in medicine.

  • In orthopedics, it can treat tennis elbow, rotator cuff tear, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal injuries presenting with chronic pain.
  • In reproductive health, doctors use it to correct some causes of infertility.
  • Various surgical specialties use PRP to speed up postop healing and recovery.
  • Pulmonologists give the treatment for some cases of COPD.

In dermatology, the applications of PRP injection include the following:

  • Stimulation of hair growth to treat hair loss
  • Scar treatment
  • Skin rejuvenation
  • Improvement of stretch marks

PRP facial rejuvenation is generally safe and effective. Entrusting yours to a highly trained medical professional guarantees the best results.

What Can You Expect During Your Vampire Facial Session?

When you come in for your PRP therapy appointment, your dermatologist will do the following:

Blood Extraction

The doctor will take a small sample of blood from your arm, about 10-60 ml or 1-4 tablespoons. The process is similar to collecting blood for testing.

PRP Preparation

Your doctor will place the blood in a tube with a drop of anticoagulant to keep it from clotting. Centrifuging the fluid will separate the platelets from the red and white blood cells. PRP preparation can take up to 30 minutes.

Cleaning of the Treatment Area

The dermatologist will cleanse the site thoroughly to make sure that it is free of microbes that can complicate your PRP procedure.

Topical Anesthetic Application

A PRP shot can be uncomfortable for some even when fine needles are used. If you have a low pain threshold, your doctor will apply some numbing cream on the site before injecting the fluid.

Marking the Target Area

The specialist will mark the treatment site to ensure the procedure’s precision.

PRP Injection

The dermatologist will inject the skin with PRP using a very fine needlepoint.

The whole session may take one hour or longer, depending on your skin condition and its severity.

What Can You Observe Right After Your Facial PRP Injection?

Expect the following to occur immediately after a vampire facial:

  • Pain on the injection site
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pinpoint bleeding

These are signs that the treatment is working. They may last for a few days but usually resolve on their own.

How Painful Is a Vampire Facial?

PRP injections cause some discomfort that is usually tolerable. However, you may ask your doctor to apply some numbing cream on the treatment site to make the procedure totally painless. Once the pain medication wears off, you may feel tenderness in the area that can persist for a few days. It is usually mild, but you may take some Tylenol if it worsens.

What Can You Expect During the Facial PRP Injection Recovery Phase?

Here, we discuss the most important aspects of the recovery period following a vampire facial.

What Are the Side Effects of PRP Facial Treatment?

The most common side effects of PRP therapy are injection site pain, swelling, redness and pinpoint bleeding. Vulnerable patients may also see some bruising.

Rare side effects include numbing cream allergy, infection, headache and skin discoloration. PRP is taken from your own blood, so it is unlikely to cause hypersensitivity on its own. Infection is also uncommon, especially with good aftercare, because PRP has antimicrobial properties.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Vampire Facial?

The downtime after PRP injection is minimal. Its immediate side effects are tolerable, but avoiding strenuous activities for the first few days minimizes the risk of trauma to the treated area. Additionally, since tissues absorb PRP, briefly limiting your activities and avoiding strong pressure on your face help retain the fluid at the site for as long as possible.

How Do I Take Care of My Face After a Vampire Facial?

For your aftercare regimen, your dermatologist may advise you to do the following:

  • Avoid scrubbing or wiping your face vigorously for the first 6 hours.
  • Stay away from substances that disrupt platelet activity, the healing process or both. They include the following:
    • Pain relievers called “NSAIDs,” blood thinners, steroids, some antidepressants, some antibiotics, antihistamines and other medications
    • Alcohol
    • Smoking
    • Caffeine
  • Extremes of temperature also interfere with inflammation and PRP action, so you must avoid them in the first 24-48 hours after your vampire facial. They can take the following form:
    • Direct contact with ice or heat
    • Activities that warm the skin, such as sauna bathing, exercise and taking hot showers
  • Protect your skin actively from infection or irritation for a few days. Potential causes include:
    • Scratching, peeling or picking on the treated site
    • Harsh skin treatments
    • Swimming pools, which contain chemical irritants and microbes
    • Activities that cause you to sweat, such as exercise
    • Direct contact with dirty surfaces, e. g. phones, eyeglasses, masks, etc. Since you cannot avoid putting most of these items on your face, make sure to clean them before use.
    • Makeup. Hold off on cosmetics for at least 24 hours after your vampire facial or until the inflammation has subsided.
  • Use a gentle cleanser, hyaluronic acid serum and other prescribed postop treatments as directed by your doctor.
  • You may take Tylenol for pain as it does not affect inflammation and skin repair mechanisms.
  • Avoid sun exposure, or use sunscreen if you have to go outdoors.
  • When sleeping, lie on your back with your head raised to minimize pressure and bruising on your face.

Adherence to the aftercare regimen helps ensure the best cosmetic results.

How Many PRP Facials Do You Need to Get the Best Results?

The number and frequency of repeat sessions depend on the severity of your skin condition. However, the initial treatment usually requires 3-4 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart. For maintenance, twice-yearly sessions are enough for most patients.

How Quickly Does PRP Work?

The timeline of the effects of PRP treatment varies for every patient and depends on both personal factors and the doctor’s expertise. However, most will observe some improvement of skin texture by the 2nd or 3rd week. Full collagen regeneration and, consequently, the maximal effects take place after 3 months. The cosmetic effects may last up to 18 months.

PRP injection recovery is fairly quick and problem-free for most people. However, active infection and disorders of the blood, immune system and connective tissues can complicate the process. Do not hesitate to tell your doctor if you are receiving treatment for a medical condition.

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What Can You Do to Enhance the Effectiveness of Your Vampire Facial?

The effectiveness of the PRP facial depends on many factors, but they can be categorized into three.

Factors Affecting Your Physical Status

For you to be fit for a PRP facelift, you must have healthy blood, a robust immune system and intact tissue repair mechanisms. That said, the following will enhance the benefits of this treatment:

Good Nutrition

Saturated fats and simple carbs activate platelets prematurely, whereas caffeine inhibits platelet activation.

On the other hand, fruits, grains and vegetables high in anthocyanins decrease blood platelets. They include berries, red cabbage, black beans and other plant products that are colored red, purple, blue or black.

You must adjust your intake of these foods if you have them regularly in your diet.

Adequate Hydration

Good hydration promotes tissue repair and eliminates toxins.

Stress Management

Stress releases substances in the blood that affect platelet activity. It can also increase frown lines. Sleep, relaxation and meditation help reduce stress.

Good Blood Pressure Control

You must have normal blood pressure starting weeks before your first session. High blood pressure activates platelets prematurely and reduces platelet levels.

Regular Exercise

You may resume your regular workouts after the inflammation subsides. Exercise boosts the immune system and eliminates excess blood fats and sugars

Adherence to the Prescribed Aftercare Regimen

Adherence to our recommendations above will help you prevent complications. Good aftercare also helps prolong the cosmetic effects of your PRP treatment.

Your Doctor’s Skill

Your skincare specialist will examine you thoroughly and see if a vampire facial is right for you. If it is not, they may recommend an alternative to ensure your safety and the effectiveness of your treatment.

PRP preparation greatly impacts the cosmetic outcome but also depends on your dermatologist’s expertise. Our board-certified medical professionals at BHSkin Dermatology use only the best practices and equipment in preparing PRP.

Lastly, dexterity comes only with extensive training and years of experience. Our doctors at BHSkin Dermatology have these, so they are some of the best in their field.

The success of your PRP treatment largely depends on your dermatologist’s skill. That is why it is so important to choose the most capable hands to perform this procedure.Combining with microneedling, laser resurfacing, hyaluronic acid injection and other skin treatments can further enhance the cosmetic effects of PRP facials. Your dermatologist will advise you if combination therapies are necessary.

PRP Injection before and after


The PRP facial is a cosmetic procedure that uses blood’s natural components to improve skin blemishes. Downtime is minimal, and the side effects are typically mild. It may take a while to see significant improvement, but the results may last for up to 18 months. It is generally safe and effective, although it is not suitable for everyone.

Good health practices and aftercare can get you the best results. Entrusting the procedure to a highly trained skincare professional is also a huge factor to the treatment’s success. Combining PRP injection with other facial rejuvenation therapies further boosts its benefits.

You May Not Live Forever, but a Vampire Facial Can Make You Look Young for a Long Time

PRP facial injections are popular among Hollywood stars. They smooth out wrinkles and help keep one’s youthful appearance without the need for artificial chemicals. If you want to look stunning at any age, treat yourself to a vampire facial done by LA’s award-winning skincare experts at BHSkin Dermatology. Book an appointment today at our Encino or Glendale clinic or our telederm portal for your initial consult.


Author: Don Mehrabi

Don Mehrabi, MD, FAAD, is LA’s leading board-certified dermatologist who treats patients, builds the BHSkin clinics, and raises three kids. This blog builds on medical studies combined with Dr. Mehrabi's first-hand experiences from practicing in Encino-Tarzana, Glendale, and online

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