As a surgeon and director of an operating facility I spend more time than your average person worrying about germs and bacteria. I’ve been told that I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to sterilization. That’s why I was thrilled when my youngest daughter came back from summer camp and sneezed into the bend in her arm. Obviously I don’t want her to be sick, but I’ve told her before that if she is going to sneeze or cough the best place is into her arm and not her hands (though it is tough to get children her age to make a habit of it). That way the bacteria making her sick aren’t spread to everything she touches. She later told me that her counselors had named it the “vampire cough.” The idea is that Dracula grabs his cape and covers his face with the bend in his elbow before teleporting. Apparently if they can pretend they are Dracula while doing it, she and her friends can be coaxed into practicing good hygiene.
I had forgotten about that anecdote until earlier this week when I was reading a review for a new facial filler name Selphyl. Nicknamed “The Vampire Facelift,” Selphyl is derived from your own blood and re-injected into your face to fill depressions, wrinkles and folds. The injection is prepared by drawing blood and then isolating the portion of the plasma rich in platelets and then enhancing it with fibrin. Found naturally in your body, they work together to build and maintain the matrix in your skin that keeps it firm and healthy looking as well as stimulate natural collagen production. Selphyl’s popularity may be in part due to the Twilight/True Blood craze, but more likely its appeal is based on the fact that it is biocompatible because it is made from ‘natural’ substances. In addition to being free of acids and toxins this means that there is no need for an allergy test before the procedure and much lower chance of complications.
There are, however, some drawbacks to using your own blood as facial filler. First, you are limited by how much blood you can remove from your body. The Selphyl website says you can harvest about 4 cc of product for each treatment which isn’t enough to add a lot of volume. At that quantity we are probably looking at filling moderate lines and creases of the face. Also, the patient won’t see the full effects until about 3 weeks after the procedure as opposed to the immediate results seen with other fillers. This is because Selphyl stimulates collagen production in your body which takes time to have a visible effect.
Considering Dracula was thousands of years old but still had great skin (a little pale maybe, but still no wrinkles!) I’m beginning to think I have more to learn from him than how to teach my daughter to cough.
While we do not offer Selphyl at our office yet, we do offer a full array of facial fillers. Please don't hesitate to call us at (212)-988-4040 or leave us a message on our blog.