Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a powerful concentration of healing cells and growth factors extracted from your blood. When the PRP solution is injected into your face or scalp, it essentially stimulates the body’s healing process to produce new cells and even reverse the signs of aging. PRP treatment is thought to be the secret to natural rejuvenation and hair restoration.
PRP is a preparation of the component of your blood, called plasma. Plasma carries in it red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets (cell fragments that help form blood clots). Platelets play a particularly important role in the wound healing process, in which they release hundreds of proteins called growth factors. These growth factors then stimulate collagen production and new cell growth.
In PRP, the concentration of platelets – and by extension, the concentration of growth factors – are five to ten times greater than in normal whole blood. Applied to the face and scalp, PRP treatments can accelerate your body’s ability to regenerate tissue, providing a natural solution to achieve younger-looking skin and promote hair growth.
PRP preparation starts with a blood draw. A small amount of blood is collected from your arm and placed into a special collection tube. Anticoagulants may be added to your blood sample. The sample is then spun in a medical device called a centrifuge to separate the components into layers based on density. The plasma (enriched with platelets) is concentrated at the top of the centrifuge tube while the white and red blood cells collect at the bottom. The platelet-rich plasma is then easily harvested and ready for immediate injection or application to the skin.
Once the PRP solution is prepared, it will be administered via multiple injections around the treatment area: under your eyes, the hollows of your cheeks, deep wrinkles or fine lines, or all over your face to improve texture (often combined with a microneedling process). PRP can also be applied to your scalp for hair growth or directly onto the surface of your skin after laser treatments and microneedling to reduce recovery time.
In concentrated form, platelets have an amazing restorative effect on the surrounding tissue: the platelets in PRP release growth factors that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin – proteins that provide structure to help firm your skin and recover its youthful elasticity. Growth factors also help generate new cell growth, adding volume to sagging skin, wrinkles, and fine lines.
As you age, your body stops producing collagen and your cells start to deflate; PRP boosts your body’s natural ability to regenerate tissue – just like when you were a teenager.
PRP therapy is used by healthcare practitioners in cosmetic treatments as a non-surgical, non-invasive method of skin rejuvenation to improve the appearance, texture, and tone of facial tissue. Improving the evenness of your skin tone and providing a glow of your natural skin are often appreciated by patients who receive this treatment. PRP treatments can be targeted to help smooth facial lines and wrinkles, plump deflated cheeks, fill in thin under-eye skin, and even help reduce dark under-eye circles when PRP is injected. PRP can further improve your overall complexion, help erase acne scars, and improve patches of rosacea.
Used in cosmetic medicine, PRP can help treat several skin conditions like acne, alopecia, and skin ulcers. PRP has a unique mechanism to help stimulate tissue repair and correct hyperpigmentation or burns. PRP is not just for dermatology. Many athletes have put PRP on the map for use in orthopedic indications, for example, in helping repair sprained knees and relieve chronic tendon pain.
PRP has recently risen to fame in the context of cosmetic procedures, specifically so-called “vampire facials” and “vampire facelifts.” These are trendy cosmetic medical procedures that incorporate PRP and are named for the simple reason that they use blood in the treatment.
A “vampire facial” is PRP with microneedling – a procedure that evenly pricks the skin with tiny needles. The purpose of microneedling is to stimulate new facial skin cells and to produce new collagen. The process of causing a small amount of controlled micro-injury to the skin, prompts the body to initiate the wound healing process which includes collagen production and new cell growth. Adding PRP essentially boosts your body’s natural processes.
A “vampire facelift” is a procedure that combines PRP injections along with hyaluronic acid fillers. While the term facelift sounds invasive, it is a nonsurgical technique that requires minimal downtime. Dermal fillers provide immediate plumping while PRP promotes growth of collagen and elastin to improve skin tone and evenness over time.
Besides aesthetic procedures, PRP is used to treat several medical conditions that affect the skin and scalp. Medical dermatology applications use PRP therapy for pigmentary disorders like vitiligo, melasma, and psoriasis. In these disorders, PRP growth factors significantly increase the migration of melanocytes (cells that form melanin) in tandem with new skin cell growth. PRP is also effective to treat alopecia: PRP injected into your scalp stimulates cell growth around the hair follicles, increasing the vasculature (blood vessels) and improving blood flow. This can improve hair thickness and promote growth.
The whole procedure takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and there are virtually no side effects from PRP monotherapy aside from slight swelling, bruising, or discoloration around the injection site, which generally resolve in a few days. When PRP is applied to the surface of the skin after laser treatments there are minimal to no side effects. Because the PRP treatment relies on drawing your blood, only a small amount of PRP solution can be prepared at one time. Therefore, it typically requires 3 or more sessions to complete a full PRP treatment.
The results of a series of PRP treatments may take a few weeks to months to see full effects and the results last for as long as 18 months. The platelet-rich solution releases growth factors that go to work regenerating cells and producing collagen. This natural process takes a little time; however, many cosmetic medicine practitioners choose to use PRP with more traditional techniques to allow their patients to see more immediate results.
As described in the vampire facial and liquid facelift, PRP is effectively combined with other dermatological procedures such as dermal fillers. PRP treatments may also be combined with laser therapies and microneedling (for example, in treating discoloration and texture). Autologous fat grafting procedures (also known as fat transfer, which takes fat from one part of your body and reinjects it in another like a filler) can also incorporate PRP.
The effect of combining PRP treatments with other cosmetic techniques is enjoyed by many patients because PRP takes several weeks to reach peak results while many of the other techniques show an instant change in appearance. PRP further introduces growth factors that help the skin heal faster in general. In studies, the addition of PRP has been shown to enhance the final results as well as increase patient satisfaction.
PRP is extremely safe as it harnesses the body’s healing powers and does not use any chemicals or foreign substances. Because PRP is autologous in origin – meaning it comes from your blood – there is no risk of allergic reaction or rejection. Furthermore, because PRP contains healing factors from the blood, it has a natural anti-inflammatory effect, meaning your recovery will be smooth and speedy. While the procedure is safe, you may experience slight swelling, bruising, or discoloration around the injection site, which typically resolve within a few days. However, side effects from treatment are rare. When PRP is applied to the surface of the skin after laser or microneedling treatments there are little to no side effects
Dr. Michelle Reyes of The Med Spot combines an artful approach to cosmetic care with non-surgical, minimally invasive techniques to deliver maximum results. Dr. Michelle Reyes is committed to practices that help her clients manage healthy aging, often combining natural treatments like PRP with cutting-edge technology. Her motivation is the help you realize your full beauty potential while appealing to a holistic approach to wellness and healthy living.
When you go to The Med Spot for PRP treatment, you can feel complete confidence that you are receiving the best cosmetic care possible, which is personalized to your unique aesthetic needs. If you are considering a rejuvenating treatment but fear surgery or more invasive solutions, then PRP treatment might be right for you. PRP is a safe technique that utilizes your body’s natural defenses and regenerative powers to reverse the aging process and restore youthful-looking skin and hair.
Dr. Michelle Reyes has years of experience helping clients improve their appearance, and whether you are new to her practice or a loyal patron, The Med Spot will help you look your best. To learn about how PRP treatments can benefit you, schedule a personal one-on-one consultation with Dr. Michelle Reyes or a member of The Med Spot team