It’s the eve of Hallowe’en. Perfect timing to write about a beauty treatment that puts the gore into gorgeous, the vein into vain.
If blood makes you squeamish, turn the page now. A vial of the red stuff is the key ingredient in a new, extreme anti-ageing treatment nicknamed the Vampire Facial.
Kim Kardashian’s already had one and other celebrities are queueing up, dying to try it, apparently.
Before you start panicking about the impending doom of Kimye and her ilk, let me soothe your furrowed brow by informing you clients are only ever given their very own bodily fluids. It’s taken out of your arm and injected back into your face - and the sleek new Medispa S10 Salon on Fulwood Road swear it makes skin look plumper and more youthful, cross their wooden-staked hearts.
Is that why the women in the Hammer House of Horrors looked so good? Literally trembling with trepidation, I valiantly set forth to try out the scariest-sounding anti-ager ever invented.
Medispa S10 have performed eight Vampire Facials - official name platelet-rich plasma therapy and now £495 a time - with considerable success.
Juliet Laws, who owns the salon along with Charmaine Hearn and Emma Idowu, had just had the treatment as I arrived and the sight of her bruised face and neck almost had me running out of the door.
But Juliet, who has years of experience in the cosmetics industry, many spent working alongside plastic surgeons in London’s Harley Street, urges me to swallow my fear, says the process has been used for years in sports medicine to treat soft tissue injuries and at least listen to what practitioner Becky Wall, a trained nurse, had to say.
Becky, from Doncaster, worked for the National Blood Transfusion Service before switching to aesthetic treatments six years ago and trained in PRP therapy with a London consultant.
“It’s totally safe because nothing is going into your body that wasn’t there in the first place,” she explains. “That makes it safer than Botox and fillers.”
She takes 20ml of blood (about four teaspoonsful) from my arm, smears numbing cream on the areas I have decided to have treated - the my saggy cheeks, now definitely showing the signs of gravitational pull, and some creases on my breastbone - and pops the vial into a centrifuge machine which will whizz it round and round until my blood separates.
What she needs is the yellow-toned platelet-dense blood plasma, which has risen to the top of the little bottle, leaving the deep red blood cells at the bottom. A drop of calcium chloride is stirred in - it activates the platelets, she says - then this magic, home-brewed elixir comes home to mama - via around 50 tiny injections.
To treat volume loss, that needle goes in deep; but spookily, there is no bloody mess, no pain (just a slight prickle) and not a single visible bruise.
My face did feel bruised, though, and the next day it looked quite swollen, but actually, that made me look younger. All creases seemed padded out from within. Both lasted three days, then my face seemed to go back to looking its tiered old self again.
Juliet had warned me that results, which last up to 18 months, are seen in two to three months and every woman sees different degrees of success with PRP. Her treatment had been in the top layers of her skin to banish broken capillaries on her cheeks) and though she’d had bruises lasting 10 days, she had seen a reduction in those broken capillaries.
So, on the eve of the spookiest night of the year, do I look more, or less, of a fright?
It’s a fine line, but honestly, I do think it has made a difference because my skin texture is smoother, my jowls are less Hound of the Baskervilles and the chest creases (caused from sleeping on my side) are far less evident.
There is just one problem. I think the bottom half of my face now looks younger than the top. My eyes and forehead are in need of mini scaffolding. Which, surely, is the next extreme beauty treatment waiting to happen.