'Bloody popular': The rise of 'vampire facials' in Pakistan

A woman receives skin rejuvenation treatment at a clinic in Greece on Dec 12, 2017. (REUTERS/File)
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Updated 08 August 2020

'Bloody popular': The rise of 'vampire facials' in Pakistan

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma or PRP therapy is used to refresh skin, address health issues, and deal with receding hairlines
  • Specialists in Pakistan say they are now performing hundreds of PRP procedures annually 

ISLAMABAD: A fast growing cosmetic trend used to address aging and hair fall in Pakistan is one that puts a special ingredient to work: your own blood!
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, popularly known as a “vampire facial,” takes tiny particles of protoplasm from an individual’s bloodstream, turns them into concentrated injectable form, and uses them to treat a range of issues, such as aging skin, hair fall and joint pain. The procedure can also be used for sexual rejuvenation. 
The method became popular in recent years after people, particularly celebrities in the West, started sharing photos of “vampire facials” on social media that showed their faces covered with spots of their own blood.
Now, Pakistani practitioners of the treatment say it is becoming “rapidly popularly” in the country to address symptoms of aging like fine lines and dullness.
“PRP has become quite popular in Pakistan in the last five to six years, and we perform 20 to 30 treatments a month,” said Dr. Mazhar Hussain, who owns and operates My Hair Clinic in Islamabad since 2004. The clinic also has branches in Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.
“They are relatively fast procedures as well,” he said. “They do not take hours and there is hardly any downtime, if done correctly and in keeping with international standards. They do not force you to be out of your social circle for an extended period. Some people may prefer to stay off the grid for a day or two, but even that is not required in most cases.”
Explaining the procedure, Dr. Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur told Arab News: “It’s a concentration of one type of cell, known as platelets, which circulate through blood and are critical for its clotting.”
The sample is then put into a centrifuge where it is separated into parts and made ready for use, said the doctor who operates a popular clinic in Lahore.
“The liquid plasma portion of blood contains many factors that are essential for cell recruitment, multiplication, and specialization that are required for healing purposes,” Taimur said. “We call them cell growth factors.”



The procedure is “short and seamless,” said Maryam Mahmood, editor of Pakistani lifestyle magazine Weekend.
“I was able to meet people the same day since nothing was truly visible,” said the journalist, who has used the treatment herself. “Unless you have incredibly sensitive skin or a very fair complexion, you don’t see any trace of the treatment when you go out.” 
Mahmood was recommended the procedure by a dermatologist as she tried to address skin concerns like pigmentation and scarring. 
“I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely life changing, though it’s a nice thing that should be done once in a while,” she said. “You can feel that your skin is more radiant, glowy, bouncy and even.” 
Mehrbano Raja, who works in the development sector in Lahore, has used PRP as a treatment for hair loss. 
“The doctor sort of sweet-talked me into it,” she said over the phone. “But the result? Well, it was so excellent that I kept going back.” 
Raja saw results the very next day, saying there was a “drastic and undeniable” reduction in hair fall.

Urdu comic book 'Little Master' to help Pakistani children fight COVID-19 misinformation

Updated 19 September 2020

Urdu comic book 'Little Master' to help Pakistani children fight COVID-19 misinformation

  • The book tells the story of a young boy from Karachi's Lyari, who is learning about the virus to help others
  • 'Little Master' is illustrated by Umair Najeeb Khan, the creator of Pakistan’s first superhero comic book series 'Paak-Legion'

RAWALPINDI: "Little Master," an Urdu-language comic book, is going to be released on Monday to guide Pakistani children how to stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic and cope with COVID-19 misinformation.
Published by Mehrdar Art & Production (MAP), the book tells the story of Ahmed, a young boy from Karachi's Lyari area, who is trying to learn about the coronavirus to help keep others safe, regardless of their community background.
"Comics are a great way to tell a story positively and are really useful in countering misinformation,” Muhammad Faheem, documentary filmmaker and MAP founder, told Arab News on Saturday.

The cover of "Little Master," an Urdu-language comic book to help Pakistani children cope with COVID-19 misinformation. (Photo courtesy of Muhammad Faheem via AN)

The efforts have been funded by MAP itself and through government and private support. To illustrate "Little Master," Faheem asked for help Umair Najeeb Khan, the creator of Pakistan’s first superhero comic book series "Paak-Legion."
Thousands of copies of "Little Master" will be distributed at schools in underprivileged areas such as Lyari, where misinformation has led to blame games and community tensions that affected virus response. Some narratives even questioned the very existence of the virus and necessity to follow any precautions against it.

Umair Najeeb Khan is working on an illustration for the "Little Master" comic book in Islamabad on Sept. 19, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Umair Najeeb Khan via AN)

In May, Faheem rolled out "Hum Sab Saath, Corona ki Kilaaf" ("All of Us Together Against the Coronavirus"), a campaign through posters, social media and talks by community leaders to address the situation.
"It got to the point where relief efforts in these areas were being compromised because people were questioning who deserved help," Faheem said. "We needed to address not only the severity of what was going on but educate the citizens of these areas on what was real information to help combat the fake news and rising bigotry."
The comic book is a follow up to these efforts.
"When kids read our comics, we hope they will learn more about the pandemic and how it is a collective effort that we all have to join together, regardless of our backgrounds."