beautician putting cosmetic product on female client face

Platelet Rich Plasma – how to use your own blood to promote healthy skin and hair.

Platelet rich plasma also called “PRP” is an anti-aging treatment made from your own blood and can be applied either topically to skin or injected into skin. PRP has become one of the most popular cosmetic facial treatments in the last five years.

What make platelet rich plasma so attractive as an anti-aging treatment?

PRP is all natural. While peels and fillers use material from outside your own body, PRP is taken directly from your own blood. This is about as ‘all natural’ as a treatment can get. Platelets are one cell type that lives in our blood. They are rich in growth factors and healing factors. Numerous research studies have shown PRP’s great potential in wound healing and stimulating collagen. PRP is safe and easy to use. Because PRP is from your own blood the risk of allergy or abnormal inflammatory response is nearly zero.

What is PRP used for?

PRP is used to reduce pore size, fine lines and wrinkles, reduce the appearance of acne scars, plump up skin, provide a filler-like effect when injected. PRP can even promote hair growth when injected into the scalp. In my practice, I most commonly use PRP with microneedling similar to the so-called ‘vampire facial.’ I also use PRP as a treatment for hair loss or alopecia. Because of PRP’s regenerative properties it is used by many specialists including orthopedic surgeons, cardiac surgeons, and ophthalmologists.   

What to expect during a facial PRP treatment.

The procedure begins with a simple blood draw so it is important to come to your appointment well hydrated.  Usually a vein in the arm will be used, just like when you have labs drawn for a routine physical. Be sure to let your provider know if you have any bleeding or clotting disorders, if you are on blood thinners, or if you have had issues with blood draws in the past.

Once your blood is drawn you have a few minutes to relax while the PRP is being prepared. The blood is placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood until it is separated into layers, with each layer containing a different component of your whole blood. The platelet rich plasma appears as a golden-clear liquid and is separated from the rest of the blood.

While the PRP is being prepared, numbing medication will be applied and allowed to time to take effect before your procedure. Depending on the numbing treatment used, this can take 30-60 minutes.

Your facial treatment will begin once your have had enough time to numb and the PRP is done being prepared. The microneedle device used will depend on your provider. Be sure to check they are using the most up-to-date FDA approved devices. The microneedle device is a powered, handheld device with a sterile needle applicator that stimulates collagen production and prepares your skin for topically applied PRP. Your provider may also directly inject some PRP into areas of your skin that are particularly damaged, scarred, or need extra volume. If possible, I like my patients to leave the PRP on until the following day. If this isn’t possible, a gentle rinse with cool water is sufficient.

Post-treatment care

Following your treatment it is important to treat your skin well. This includes avoiding direct sun exposure for one week, using gentle cleansers like Cetaphil, no exfoliation or peep treatments for at least one week, and diligent moisturization. Botox and filler treatments should be spaced two weeks before or after microneedle treatments. No post-procedure prescription medications are required.

Results are seen as early as day one, but the effects of this treatment are ongoing so continued benefits will continue to be seen long after the treatment. Patients with severe scarring, aging, or sun damage may benefit from a series of treatments spaced about 4 weeks apart. Many patients benefit from maintenance treatments every 6-12 months to continue the collagen stimulating effects.

If you are considering anti-aging treatments but don’t want to make the plunge into Botox and fillers, or are looking for a way to augment your current Botox/filler regimen – PRP may be a good option for you.

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