Who likes getting their blood taken? Me either; but when I’ve been promised it’ll be returned to me via a tweakment similar to, but up to 100 times more effective than, PRP, something I’ve already had, and really rate, then: stick me, baby! Stick that needle into my vein and drain my blood!
PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma, the element of your blood which contains a high proportion of growth factors; these promote collagen and elastin production. In your classic original PRP treatment, blood is taken, then spun in a centrifuge (NB this is the first time I’ve ever used that word in real life, not in the course of writing up a science experiment) to extract the plasma, which is then reinjected back into your face, at which point, you end up looking lifted and plumped and glorious and glowy for a few months, longer if you have repeat treatments, because the effect is cumulative. The Kardashians gave PRP a – if not ‘bad’, then certainly ‘faddy’ - name after one of them (I wanna say Kim?) had it on KUWTK some years ago, and referred to it as ‘the vampire facelift’. You remember now. More than one aesthetician has since moaned to me about how forcefully that casual line discredited what is, in fact, a damn fine, and often overlooked, way of rejuvenating ones moosh.
On hearing that there was a new and improved version of it in town, I signed up immediately, choosing not to think about the blood taking, focussing instead on the forthcoming face lifting.
Exokine at the Eudelo clinic in Vauxhall, south London, works according to original PRP principles, but represents an evolution in that it heats extracted plasma directly after its been taken; this, apparently, makes it more active, thus more effective. ‘More, like, lively?’ I ask the woman who takes my blood so competently, I barely notice. ‘Sure,’ she says, then packs me off while the heating process happens.
I go away, do some shopping writing, return six hours later for the good bit. (NB after being heated, the plasma can also be frozen without losing its newly invigorated properties, which means you don’t have to come back the same day blood is taken - it’s just that I’m impatient.)
My face is slathered in numbing cream and layered in cling film, then I’m sent off to chill in the clinic’s dedicated numbing room for an hour. I listen to podcasts and think Great Thoughts; once my face is good-and-weirdly numb, I am retrieved for the plasma insertion. My aesthetician Luana lies me down on a couch, peels cling film from me, removes the remnants of the numbing cream with disinfectent, then begins the treatment by microneedling my face: puncturing the skin a zillion different times in a zillion different places, then rubbing my heated plasma directly into all those teeny tiny mini wounds. She starts on my forehead, which hurts a bit, moves onto my temples, which hurts a little more, down to my cheeks, which are easier (more flesh, innit) then peaks with my nose, which, being a boney fecker (as noses tend to be) hurts the most. It’s generally fine - though it does build, bordering on excruciating once or twice. I deep breathe throughout, and we take breaks, and it’s all done in 40 minutes.
My face feels swollen and tight; Luana coats it in Oxygentix (a miracle after-procedure foundation I use every day regardless of whether I’ve been tweaked), and packs me off with some aftercare instructions. My face looks initially fine – I go for dinner with a friend, who doesn’t notice a thing – but when I take my make up off that night, I do look like I have a rabid case of wind burn.
It’s still incredibly red the next morning, but by the following evening, it’s settling down nicely, and my! Does it look fresh! I’d been promised that it’d take four to six weeks for the platelets to start really working, but the micro needling alone provokes pretty immediate results: micro needling kickstarts healing processes which almost immediately result in an improvement to skin texture.
Eudelo recommends a course of three treatments over three to four months; and I had enough blood taken the first time, to cover that. I go back four weeks later for round two. It’s at this point that I start to really appreciate quite how good this treatment is. It hurts less – perhaps because I’m getting used to the sensation, anticipating it and fearing it less; my skin takes as long to calm down, this time, the wind burned redness is accompanied by some peeling (quite normal, apparently), but then: my skin starts to look incredible. Pores are tighter, my cheeks are lifted, everything looks firmer and chubbier and more substantial and pleasing. A neighbour tells me she could see me glowing from the other side of a road (true story). I’m gearing up for phase three, with high hopes, and to hell with the pain!
Exokine Needling: from £1215
Exokine Injections: from £1395 Prices
Would I pay for it myself?
Yes! It’s spenny as hell, but it gives the kind of results you dream of every time you contemplate ‘work’; it’s worth it