What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?

PRP is a component of our blood that contains a high concentration of platelets and associated growth factors. These growth factors stimulate expression of collagen and incorporation of collagen into the surrounding tissues.  Said another way, the growth factors promote wound healing.

Why Use PRP?

The platelets in the PRP release growth factors, which then use the body’s own healing mechanisms to stimulate or enhance the healing response. It attracts the whole healing process to the area of interest, whether that be a joint, tendon, bone, or the tissues of the face. Lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sagging skin, and rough skin texture all occur because there is decreased cell turnover of the skin cells. This is part of the aging process, in part related to decreased growth factors available to stimulate the healing response. Think of the changes to the skin as being an injury, and therefore we want to aim treatment at repairing the tissues. PRP is a natural option to improve skin tone, texture, and smooth lines, by stimulating collagen production and tissue regeneration. It is simple and safe, using your body’s own material!

What Are the Phases of Wound Healing?

The phases of wound healing have been studied in detail. They are called:

  • Hemostasis
  • Inflammation
  • Tissue regeneration
  • Tissue remodeling

PRP has been shown to speed the rate of wound healing, and it also triggers the body to “notice” that a healing response is needed in that area.

How Can PRP be Used in Aesthetics?

PRP can be injected under the skin in areas where we would place filler.  The advantage of using PRP is that it is your own cells, so it is very safe, and in some areas definitely safer than filler. PRP can also be used topically in conjunction with microneedling, in which the PRP is “pushed” into the microchannels created by the microneedling device. This treatment enhances the effects of the microneedling by encouraging healing and collagen/elastin production through not only mechanical micro-trauma which stimulates healing (SkinPen microneedling device), but also a physiologic pathway (PRP).

PRP can help improve:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Skin tone and texture
  • Acne scarring (especially in combination with SkinPen microneedling)
  • Volume restoration by promoting collagen and elastin formation
  • Hair loss

PRP can also be used in conjunction with dermal fillers to encourage collagen production over time while the filler provides initial volume correction.

How is PRP Obtained?

Blood is drawn from your vein into a tube, then placed in a machine called a centrifuge.  The centrifuge “spins the blood” and separates the platelet-rich and platelet-poor plasma from the red blood cells. The combination of platelet-rich and platelet-poor plasma is used for facial treatments.

Preparing for PRP Treatment

Your PRP is only as good as your overall health.  So get plenty of rest for several days prior to your treatment.  Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  You may even want to drink green juices for 2 days before and 2 days after your treatment.  Drink a lot of water! It’s important to be well hydrated, not only for your overall health but also to facilitate drawing enough blood for the treatment. Avoid NSAID’s and other blood-thinning agents such as fish oil for 1 week prior to treatment.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The number of treatments needed varies depending on your aesthetic goal, but in general, clients have 3-6 treatments, 4-6 weeks apart. It’s important to understand that this is a process because your body needs to respond to the PRP with a healing response. While initial improvement in skin tone and texture may be appreciated after just 2 weeks, it typically takes several months to achieve the optimal benefits associated with PRP.

Who Should Not Have PRP Treatment

  •  You have a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart/liver/kidney problems, or anemia
  • You have had cancer in the past
  • You have great difficulty having your blood drawn
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Platelet-Rich Plasma Peptides: Key for Regeneration, Sanchez-Gonzalez et al. International Journal of Peptides, Volume 2012, Article ID 532519

Does PRP enhance bone integration with grafts, graft substitutes, or implants? A systematic review. Roffi et al, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:330

Face and Neck Revitalization with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): Clinical Outcome in a Series of 23 Consecutively Treated Patients, Romano et al. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, May 10, 2010, Vol 9, Issue 8