The fountain of youth is within you: Using platelet rich plasma facial treatments
Are platelet rich plasma facial treatments the fountain of youth?
Let’s talk aesthetics this week. Why? Because some day (maybe now? 😄), you may look in the mirror and think to yourself: “I wish I could freshen up my skin!” With that in mind, we should know what our options are. Now, now, I can hear some of you Ugh-ing ☹️ already! Well, if you are a die-hard “I will never do anything to my face” person, don’t be too fast to judge! Keep an open mind and read on. Obviously, if you want something drastic, you could always get some sort of plastic surgery intervention. However, many of us don’t want something so invasive or drastic. Most people want a natural look, where we still look like ourselves.
Even for in office procedures, many people don’t want to put synthetics or chemicals into their faces. This brings up the question: Is there anything out there for people that want to look “like me, just a little more refreshed”? Is there a more natural solution than Botox and fillers? Well, by now you probably already guessed the answer is yes 👏🏼! That natural solution awaits in your own blood! We call it platelet rich plasma or, for short, PRP.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
You may have heard about this already because this is literally ALL THE RAGE in multiple aspects of medicine, not just aesthetics. While I don’t think it’s the panacea so many people think it is, it seems to help with many conditions. It has also been popularized in the media with the term “vampire facial” or “plasma facial.”
So, let’s start with the basics as we learn about PRP
What is PRP?
PRP, as the name suggests, comes from concentrated platelets. Whose platelets? Why yours!
First, you may ask what exactly are platelets? Well, your blood has three main cell lines: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In essence, your red blood cells carry oxygen to your organs, white blood cells fight infections and platelets help you clot when you have a cut or some other injury that results in bleeding.
Inside these platelets, you have multiple growth factors that control many cell functions. These include stimulation of cell growth, prevention of cell death, increase in wound healing, growth of blood vessels and formation of new collagen. All good things when you are trying to preserve facial skin integrity! As we age, we naturally lose collagen, so anything that can boost collagen production is great and hence the theory behind the plasma facial.
How do you get PRP?
We obtain PRP by drawing a small amount of blood (30-60 ml or 1-2 ounces) in a tube. Then, we place the blood in a machine called a centrifuge (see pic below, from colleague Dr. Lanna Che’s course) where it spins very fast. This spinning causes the blood to separate out. The red blood cells move to the bottom and the platelets move to the top with the plasma. The golden liquid on top is the PRP.
The platelets are then “activated” with calcium and thrombin so that all those growth factors are released and ready to work. You have to use it relatively quickly so that you can take advantage of all those growth factors.
What is it used for?
When I said PRP is hot, I mean it is HOT. Everybody and their mother is trying to get a piece of this. Here are some areas in medicine where we are seeing it used: wound healing for burn patients, healing of perforated tympanic membranes, arthritic joint degeneration, erectile dysfunction, healing of bone fractures and management of dry eyes.
It is even being used to help women achieve orgasm! 😮 What?!!? Yep, an injection of prp (called an “O-shot”) administered directly to the G-spot seems to have many women raving in the bedroom.
What about aesthetics? How is PRP used in aesthetics? Currently, it is used to help with saggy skin, fine lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration, acne scars and hair restoration, to name a few.
How is it applied?
That golden liquid that forms at the top of the tube (as described above) is placed into syringes and injected into the area you wish to treat. That could be the scalp if you are going for hair regeneration or the face if you are going for anti-aging with a plasma facial or acne scar treatment.
Many people also combine it with another procedure called “micro needling”. This is the true plasma facial. You may have heard this called a “vampire facial” because of the pinpoint bleeding you can have. In this procedure, the practitioner spreads a thin layer of PRP on top of the facial skin (like a lotion) and passes a pen like device with a small needle over the entire surface of the face. As it passes, it makes tiny “pricks” in the skin.
The point is to create tiny little micro channels to allow the PRP (and any other serums that may be used) to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, where it gives you the most effective plasma facial.
Ok, what about pain?
Well, I won’t lie, it’s not pain free! BUT, before the procedure, a lidocaine gel mask is placed all over the treatment area and left for 30 to 60 minutes. This will certainly numb up the area and ensure you will just feel minimal discomfort. Most people tolerate it well.
What about side effects?
The good thing about using a product made with your own blood, is that the side effects from the actual product are none. For the needle, there is always of the risk of bleeding, bruising and infection. Using proper hygiene and a sterile needle really minimizes the risk of infection.
If you have problems with your platelets, bleeding disorders, take blood thinners or you have an active infection in the area to be treated, you should not have this done. The practitioner you see should touch on these and make sure you are a good candidate for the plasma facial or any other PRP procedure.
So, should you do it?
Well, if you want an aesthetic procedure to help with aging or a particular skin condition, but are turned off by synthetics or chemicals, you should strongly consider a platelet rich plasma facial. It doesn’t get more natural than your own blood! Also, it is minimally invasive (the needle is actually very small) and it is less costly than many other procedures.
I have seen some amazing results in people for hair restoration, acne scars and overall skin improvement.
While the jury is still not out on all the medical indications for PRP use, I am very excited to see what the future holds in terms of other conditions that PRP can treat!
What are your thought on PRP? Would you be willing to try it out? Plasma facial anyone 🙋🏻!
Happy Monday and see you next week 💕!