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I had a 'vampire facial' and it was better than a facelift

Amanda Russell is a top-rated fitness and lifestyle writer, professional keynote speaker, Olympic-trained athlete, model, spokeswoman, founder of FitStrongandSexy.com.

Kim Kardashian made me a 'vampire facial' convert

What the heck is a vampire facial? Well, this name definitely caught my attention. The vampire facial is really a nickname for micro-needling, also called skin needling or collagen induction therapy (CIT). It's a minimally invasive skin-rejuvenation procedure.

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I have to tell you, this is the first time I've ever written on the topic of facials, as personally I'm a facial skeptic. I mean, come on, do they really do anything visible long-term? I know I have tried many, and there are none I believe truly made any kind of noticeable difference.

But the rave reviews and amazing before and after pictures about this facial definitely has got my attention, and seriously, if Kim Kardashian is doing it, you know it must garner real results.

What is the process?

As mentioned, the vampire facial is really a nickname for micro-needling. Using a device with fine needles, it creates tiny punctures in the top layer of the skin, creating "controlled injury" to the skin that triggers the body to create new collagen and elastin, a key part of our skin that begins to reduce as we age. Through this micro-needling, we are boosting our own skin's healing power and getting stronger from the inside out.

Here is the thing — I'm a little uneasy with the idea of needles, and so before I drop the money, time and energy on this, I asked a friend and trustworthy candid blogger, Candace of Luxe with Kids, to try it and give me "the real scoop." Oh and did she ever! This girl even sent me photos during the procedure (and had to share a few with you).

Kim Kardashian made me a 'vampire facial' convert
Image: Courtesy of Luxe with Kids

We did a tremendous amount of research first and scheduled her appointment with one of Houston's top facial plastic surgeons, Dr. Sanaz Harirchian, who actually trained on this technique with the physician who performed Ms. Kardashian's procedure. Anything to do with the face, don't skimp!

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Her conclusion was a resounding, "Yes — it's worth it!"

And when I saw her results, I promptly scheduled my own appointment with Dr. Harirchian. I was never in any pain, despite that you will see redness and mild bruising directly following the procedure. Don't let it worry you. It is painless, and the redness and light bruising (if any) is temporary! (Despite the fact that the pictures from Candace may state otherwise.)

The reason why this procedure earned its nickname, the vampire facial, is in some cases the micro-needling is immediately followed with platelet rich plasma (PRP) from the patient’s own blood (in this case, mine). I had two small vials taken and the plasma (not red) part of the blood was used as a serum immediately following the device. PRP contains a high concentration of the body's own growth factors to stimulate a healing response. The PRP is a yellowish color, and there is no "blood," per se, but the nickname certainly sounds a bit sexier.

The results of micro-needling can include improvement to the overall complexion, texture and firmness of the skin and a reduction in scars, pore size and stretch marks. The entire procedure was done within an hour. The longest part is getting numbed up — it takes about 30 minutes, and because my face was sufficiently numbed, the 20-minute micro-needling felt like minor pressure. I had a zing here or there when the device got close to my jawline or an area that wasn't as numb, but there was truly zero pain during and after the procedure.

Kim Kardashian made me a 'vampire facial' convert
Image: Courtesy of Luxe with Kids

It's important to plan ahead if you are having this procedure done, even though it's minimally invasive. My skin did feel a little hot and tight immediately afterward, and you can't wear any makeup or even sunscreen for 24 hours. My face was very red, like a sunburn, and Dr. Harirchian told me that I would likely see darker red, bruise-like marks under the eyes where the skin is the most sensitive; however, I didn't experience this. The device doesn't go on the eyes, of course, but on the top of the cheekbone.

This redness lasted about two days and slowly gave way to dry and lightly peeling skin. I applied the serum my doctor gave me frequently. The very next day I was able to put makeup on (although I kept it light, but I usually do). I had no negative side effects and just three days post-procedure, I was filming on camera!

And now, one week later, redness and dryness is completely gone, whereas Candace did have a little bruising left a week after. I'd recommend scheduling this procedure with at least one week of healing time before you have an important event. Not that you need to hide in your house — both Candace and I were out and about all week, and my face became the topic of many conversations!

So was it worth it?

The idea of micro-needling is very popular right now, and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, a colleague who normally doesn't offer compliments actually said, "Wow, you look well rested," and I've inspired several friends to give it a try. In fact, for Mother's Day, I'm having my mom go to Houston and get her very own vampire facial with Dr. H. Currently, my skin feels incredibly smooth and soft, and I know that it's only going to get better!

Kim Kardashian made me a 'vampire facial' convert
Image: Courtesy of Luxe with Kids

Would I try it again? Absolutely.

Anything that can stimulate my own body to heal itself from the inside out is worth trying!

Note: The facial procedure was offered complimentary to me by Dr. Harirchian. The review is 100 percent my own, candid experience.

More: My blood was injected into my face for a cosmetic procedure – and I loved it

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