A Plasma Facial combines microneedling (also known as collagen-induction therapy) with topical application of human growth factors (HGF) derived from your own blood.
This skin rejuvenation treatment creates an overall improvement to skin texture and tone. It can also reduce scars (including acne scars), correct hyperpigmentation, tighten lax skin, smooth fine lines, and minimize the appearance of large pores.
There’s been a lot of hype about Plasma Facials—Kim Kardashian West famously got one and shared a post-procedure selfie with blood on her face.
The Plasma Facial is a trademarked procedure that’s standardized by those licensed to perform it, but many doctors offer similar customized facial rejuvenation treatments, sometimes using radiofrequency microneedling to boost its skin-firming benefits.
A Plasma facial works in two ways. First, microneedling creates tiny pinpricks in your skin, triggering a wound-healing response that stimulates your skin’s natural collagen and elastin production. Then, to further boost skin cell regeneration, the HGF penetrates the skin through the microchannels created via microneedling.
The HGF from your blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and tiny blood cells that contribute to essential growth functions and healing. The HGF contribute to cell proliferation and differentiation. Over time, the HGF amplifies collagen production, increases cell turnover, and spurs growth of new blood vessels, resulting in longer-term rejuvenating effects.
You can see increased radiance within days of your treatment, and benefits increase over four to six weeks as the production of new collagen increases.
Studies show that microneedling and enhanced HGF treatments like the Plasma Facial can improve everything from sun damage to acne scars.
The treatment begins with a blood draw. Your provider will draw a few ounces of your blood and then spin it through a centrifuge in order to concentrate the tiny blood cells and isolate the HGF.
After cleansing your skin and applying a topical anesthetic to numb your face, they’ll move the microneedling device (which contains single-use, sterile needle cartridges) across your skin, while the needles move up and down in a stamp-like motion.
Most devices have an adjustable needle head that customizes the depth of the needle pricks according to your skin type and the part of the face being treated. Usually, they’ll go deep enough to produce pinpoint bleeding.
Once the microneedling is complete, they’ll spread the HGF over your skin. Some providers recommend leaving the HGF on for up to 24 hours, to reap the most benefits.
Contrary to popular belief, this treatment is usually painless. The initial blood draw can be slightly painful, but no more than any other needle prick would be.
It is also possible for some sections of the treated area to feel a little discomfort during the procedure, though, especially if the topical anesthetic wasn’t spread far enough around the lips or eyes. However, this isn’t common.
Recovery is also generally painless, but if you do feel any severe pain post-treatment, be sure to immediately alert your doctor.
Afterward, you’ll look and feel like you have a sunburn, perhaps accompanied by some mild bleeding and bruising.
Your skin will be extra sensitive, so protect it from anything that might cause irritation for two to three days:
The entire recovery time shouldn’t be longer than a week, but your skin may remain sensitive for a little longer than that.