We’re always up for a spooky blood-sucking movie, but what about a blood-infused cream? The beauty treatment is becoming a staple on the bathroom shelves of several celebrities. Stars like Hailey Baldwin and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are flying all the way to Germany to get their hands on MC1, which is a $950 blood-infused cream formulated by Barbara Sturm, M.D.. The concept is pretty much the same as the vampire facial. Remember that terrifying selfie of Kim Kardashian from 2013? She let her doctor draw blood from her arm, spin it around in a machine to separate the platelets, and then inject it into her face using a bunch of tiny needles. With the MC1 cream there are no injections, so you’re just rubbing your own blood combined with a moisturizer on to the surface of your skin. (You won’t actually see blood since the moisturizer is made with a white base.)
“The platelets are a reservoir of molecules that play biologically important roles in healing and regeneration,” Bradley Bloom, M.D., of Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists tells SELF. Your blood is filled with these superhero platelets. When you hurt yourself and draw blood, these molecules help the body to create a seal that protects the wound—aka a scab. They also help minimize blood loss and jumpstart the healing process. According to Teen Vogue, Sturm incubates her clients’ blood for six hours and spins it in a centrifuge in order to separate the platelets from the blood. What’s left is platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Many doctors often inject one to two tubes of platelet-rich plasma into wounded areas after performing surgeries—platelets are that good at doing their job.
Related: The Truth About That Cellulite-Injection Treatment Kim Zolciak-Biermann Loves
But how does all of this correlate to beautifying your face? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are several reputable studies that prove that injecting PRP is an effective anti-aging solution. One study found that PRP will “…promote tissue remodeling in aged skin.” Bloom says, “There is more and more evidence that injection of PRP or application after laser may improve wrinkles.” And board-certified dermatologist Ted Lain, M.D., M.B.A. agrees, “The blood chemicals act as messengers for greater collagen production within the skin over time.” More collagen means stronger, smoother-looking skin. The good news doesn’t stop there. Although there’s no way to truly shrink your pores, some experts say PRP injections can help make them appear smaller.
However, the effects of adding PRP to topical skincare products haven’t been studied as much. “The molecules in PRP are so large that in order to penetrate the skin they need to be injected or have some form of delivery via laser or microneedling,” Bloom says. And Lain has some doubts, too. He says that if the blood-infused cream doesn’t have preservatives or the right pH environment, the blood chemicals may not be as beneficial.
“But the beauty of PRP is that it is your own body’s growth factors, so there is virtually no risk of allergy (as long as nothing is added to the PRP),” Bloom says. Lain emphasizes the importance of quality and cleanliness when using PRP injections or creams, and says that if the serum is contaminated during preparation, there is a chance of infection. So if you’re thinking about trying the facial injections or the cream, just make sure you find a board-certified dermatologist.
Related: I Tried “Frotox” to Freeze Away My Wrinkles—And It Wasn’t That Bad
You may also like: The 3-Step Workout Facial