The idea that blood contains the power to preserve youth and beauty can be observed throughout the course of history. In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, Maggie and Ella share both ancient and modern concepts of blood as an aid to skin care—from bloodletting to vampire facials with platelet rich plasma (PRP), as well as the dangers of a trending use of blood in skin care.
ASCP Esty Talk with Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman
Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast hosted by Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.
About Ella Cressman:
Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.
She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.
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About Maggie Staszcuk:
Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Advanced Modality Specialist.
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About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):
Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.
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0:00:46.3 Maggie Staszcuk: Hello and welcome to ASCP's Esty Talk, I'm your co-host, Maggie Staszcuk an ASCP's Education Program Manager.
0:00:53.0 Ella Cressman: And I'm Ella Cressman, licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, ingredient junky and content contributor for Associated Skin Care Professionals. And Maggie, if it's okay, can I do a little bit different shout out today?
0:01:06.9 MS: Do it.
0:01:07.7 EC: I wanna shout out all of those people who do not listen, pay no attention or completely disregard TikTok and other social media trends.
0:01:17.8 MS: I love it.
0:01:19.8 EC: Yeah, because listen... Oof! That's all I have to say. [chuckle]
0:01:25.4 MS: I love it, Ella and I agree with you. We are actually starting this podcast by highlighting a recent trend on TikTok, maybe you've seen it, it is the menstrual blood face mask. You heard that right. Also known as menstrual masking and moon masking. And if you've not heard of this trend, look it up.
0:01:45.3 EC: You know I'm not in studio, so I have no idea what your face is doing, but my face is very... Saying a lot. I think we should also mention. It goes... It should go without saying that... Maggie, I'm gonna speak for you here. Maggie, myself, and ASCP 100% does not recommend that this should be tried at home, but it did get us thinking, like, what the... What's the deal? How could this even become a trend? What are the revitalizing powers of blood, supposedly?
0:02:17.3 MS: Yeah, the idea that blood contains the power to preserve youth and beauty, it's both ancient and modern, and it goes without saying, we've had a lot of podcasts about this, we're obsessed with anti-aging.
0:02:29.7 EC: Yeah, I think so, and I think we... Modern times, but also if we take a look back in history, this sounds very, very ridiculous to me and salacious to... Moon facials. And I'm a woo-woo girl, but it's something that we've toyed around as a society... Well, I don't know, society but culturally, for years and years, decades. Pope Innocent, uh-huh, innocent. Pope Innocent the eighth died in 1492, but on his death bed, he drank the blood of young boys to cheat death. They all died. Everybody, including Pope, maybe, or maybe not so innocent.
0:03:07.5 MS: Dun-dun-dun.
0:03:11.4 EC: You be the judge. Lifting my eyebrow.
0:03:13.9 MS: Yeah. Countess Elizabeth Bathory, also known as the blood countess, she lived from 1560 to 1640, she is an alleged serial killer, accused of killing 600 women and girls, and legend claims that she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth. So in other words, she killed these 600 women and girls to then bathe in their blood.
0:03:42.8 EC: That sounds so gross. And I bet Rapunzel is grateful she was abducted by that one weirdo and not this one, eh?
0:03:48.3 MS: Totally.
0:03:49.1 EC: Yeah. You know something else that was weird? It's crazy to think back at the evolution of medicine, even, there used to be this practice, blood letting... You've heard of that, right?
0:04:00.4 MS: Yeah.
0:04:01.1 EC: And that was to like, get rid of a fever or to cure sickness, they would blood let, but they also used it in the 16th century to give a pale appearance which, at the time, meant that you were wealthy and beautiful because you didn't have to be outside, that you had the luxury of being inside.
0:04:20.5 MS: So let's jump ahead to present times, we're still using blood in skin care today, everyone's heard of the vampire facial or a micro-needling with PRP, where we're withdrawing our own blood, putting that in a centrifuge and then applying those... That platelet-rich plasma to get the benefits of all those growth factors and stem cells.
0:04:42.2 EC: And I think when we're looking at that, that's like, an external application of serum, is what they call it, right? But we also have to acknowledge that in treatments when we are inspiring, in kind of movement in the skin, any kind of a response, erythema, for example, when we get that good erythema, that healthy pink in the skin, when we're performing a facial or any kind of re-servicing treatment, what's happening biologically or physiologically is the body is signaling into action, a process where the blood goes to where it's perceived it needs to be, and you have this flushing or like I said, the erythema. And at that time, it's delivering nutrients, oxygen, food, different skin food, cell food, for the purpose of healing. It's... The immune response is kicking in, the body is trying to help itself out for what it perceives as needing some help, that's different than topical application where we have something like PRP infused skin care, where we have natural growth factors booting on top or anything adding to a topical treatment that's gonna aid in healing or rejuvenation. So that... I think that needs to be distinguished.
0:05:55.3 MS: Yeah, you're right, Ella and I think that's, in my mind, that's kind of the basis behind everything we're doing in esthetics is to inflame the skin, for lack of a better word, bring blood to the tissue, to feed and rejuvenate, right?
0:06:12.0 EC: Yeah, that's what we're looking at erythrocytes, leukocytes, thrombocytes, all of that's coming to the surface bringing what it needs to bring, but not too much. It's the Goldilocks, right? Just enough.
0:06:20.8 MS: Yeah.
0:06:21.7 EC: Hold that thought. We'll be right back.
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0:07:50.0 EC: Okay, here we go. Let's get back to the podcast.
0:07:53.2 MS: There's also a new product line on the market, it is essentially skin care infused with PRP, so similar to... Like, we're doing with the vampire facial, but this is a labeled product line that is custom to you, so it's referred to, as blood cream, but it's a moisturizer that has your platelet-rich plasma in it. And so again, with What Ella has said, PRP is retaining high concentration of the body's natural growth factors, and the idea is that, this is anti-aging, it's essentially customized and compounded skin care, specific to you with your growth factors.
0:08:34.6 EC: I'm curious, how does that not oxidize. Like, if they're pulling your plasma, if they're spinning, they're getting your own serum, how are they getting it to compound pharmacy, or is it happening at the compound pharmacy? Mixing it, stabilizing it and protecting from oxidation and having it penetrate your skin? I think this and my eyebrows go up... My woo-woo, my red flags are going up for a product like this, 'cause it sounds really cool. Not really, but it sounds like, potentially it could be cool. And I say, not really to me because it sounds suspect, sus, as they say, very suspect to me that that would even be effective, and I would assume that what would be of benefit would be whatever they mix it with, but it wouldn't actually be the platelet-rich protein at that point. What do you think?
0:09:21.5 MS: I totally agree with you. I don't know how they're keeping that stable, I think in the moment after a treatment, it sounds like a great idea, but it's not something that a client could take home with them and continue to apply and maintain.
0:09:34.2 EC: We've even talked about that before though, like, if it's my own, I've got my life experience that's influenced my plasma and my blood make up, my vitamins that I'm on or not, whatever consequence I had over the weekend, is all influenced there. So what is the benefit to that versus, as we've spoke before, like fresh new plasma or fresh new growth factors? I would almost venture to that, instead of... 'cause I know where I've been.
0:10:06.5 MS: Right. Yeah, totally.
0:10:06.6 EC: And what I've been through. [laughter]
0:10:08.0 MS: Totally, I agree. So, we're talking about blood and its abilities to rejuvenate the skin, anti-age, Stanford and Harvard have been doing studies with mice and taking an old and decrepit mouse and surgically attaching it to a young healthy mouse, and the surgical attachment is known as parabiosis, where they're sharing a circulatory system and their studies have shown that the blood of this young healthy mouse is revitalizing the old and decrepit mouse, so this now is transferring into the cosmetic industry where eyebrows are being raised and people are saying, "There's something here. Let's see what we can do with blood to anti-age humans."
0:10:54.7 EC: Ew. No, no, no, no, no. Sign me out. Sign me out of that. I'm not interested. What... Would you?
0:11:06.0 MS: No, I don't wanna be surgically attached to a human, I'll say that.
0:11:10.5 EC: I think that I will stick with antioxidants from plants or other sources, science, not... I also don't want a young mouse attached to me surgically either. What happened to the young mouse? This is a question, I have. What happens to the young mouse?
0:11:29.4 MS: Yeah, the young mouse is... The young mouse is suffering.
0:11:30.5 EC: So it's like, "Yeah, sorry about that, but I feel great." I think that's interesting.
0:11:37.4 MS: So let's go back to the menstrual mask, if blood is so great, what's wrong with this trending idea? So yes, as Ella said, blood contains micronutrients like zinc, copper, iron, but your menstrual blood is in really low amounts, and the skin barrier is preventing these micronutrients from penetrating. Also, menstrual blood is unsanitary, un-sterile, it has bacteria and fungi, and these things are harmful to the surface of the skin.
0:12:07.6 EC: And the source is different too, it's biologically... It's coming from releasing of a lining, so it's dying, where if you're... Just, for a lot of reasons, no, on the menstrual mask, but it's not the same thriving blood that you're getting intravenously for PRP, for example. So this is a no, from me.
0:12:32.9 MS: Well, put, Ella. Now, listeners, we wanna hear from you, what did you think of this episode? Do you perform the vampire facial or use blood cream in your treatment space? Share your thoughts with us on social media by commenting on our Instagram or Facebook posts or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.