In recent years platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has frequently made headlines in medicine, especially for its use by world-star athletes to repair sport related injuries such as torn ligaments and joint damage.
It’s uses however have also been successfully introduced into the cosmetic medical field, as a use in facial therapy. When combined with micro-needling, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be applied on the face for numerous health purposes.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial therapy (also known as a “vampire facial”) is a procedure in which PRP is taken from your blood, and used along with micro-needling to promote skin healing and collagen production. This helps tighten and improve skin, reduces wrinkles, and gives a healthier and overall younger look.
What is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?
Platelet-rich plasma is essentially a serum that is made of specific cells taken from your blood. The end result is a higher concentration of platelets and plasma that play a huge role in wound healing throughout the body.
This highly concentrated plasma is created by drawing blood from your body, and then centrifuging this blood in order to separating it into layers based on it’s content. From this, highly concentrated platelet plasma can be extracted and utilised for medical purposes.
The growth factors in plasma are high in number and so platelet-rich plasma can promote healing and collagen production if injected into the skin and/or joints. Generally speaking – PRP helps the body to heal.
PRP is considered as autologous, meaning it’s derived from the same patient it will treat, greatly minimising any risks of allergic reactions or side effects.
What can PRP treatment do?
As mentioned above, PRP can do wonders for rejuvenating the skin, but it’s use can be extend more than just for facial therapy. Here’s a quick list of other medical uses of PRP treatment:
Since PRP plays a huge role in growth and healing, it can be utilised to treat problems with the skin such as:
Acne damage and acne scarring
To reduce wrinkles
Skin damaged by the sun
To reduce dark circles under the eyes
PRP for hair loss
PRP has been successfully proven to reduce hair loss. It’s uses can strengthen hair and successfully promote hair growth.
Various studies have shown clear evidence that PRP therapy has a positive therapeutic effect on baldness (androgenic alopecia) in both men and women without any major side effects (1).
PRP for tendon and ligament injuries
Traditionally PRP therapy used to target mostly sport injuries that caused damage to tendons. Tendons are thick bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones, and can be injured and inflamed due to sport injuries.
PRP can be injected in order to promote healing of a damaged tendon, especially in cases of common tendon sport injuries such as tennis elbow.
What is micro-needling?
Micro-needling is short injections of very small and thin needles into the skin to induce rejuvenation.
The needles are very short and are only inserted into the skin around 0.25mm to 0.5mm.
The whole idea behind micro-needling is that this short needle can “prick” the skin slightly in order to actually create a small wound. The body’s response then would be to induce healing and rejuvenation at this site of “injury” by creating new collagen and skin.
Micro-needling can then be combined with platelet-rich plasma in order to boost the health benefits of both the body’s natural healing with highly concentrated plasma including even more growth factors.
The end result is that the skin basically undergoes rejuvenation with new cells being produced.
According to a studies, micro-needling therapy produced up to a 400% increase in collagen and elastin in the skin 6 months after micro-needling sessions (2).
What happens in a PRP facial therapy treatment
If you’ve spoken to your doctor or dermatologist and have agreed that PRP therapy is for you, then your procedure may go a little like this:
- First of all blood will be drawn from you. For a full facial PRP micro-needling therapy, usually around 60 ml (2 ounces) (3) of blood is drawn.
- The blood is then taken and placed into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the sample of blood very quickly in order to separate the blood contents into layers. This process takes around 15-20 minutes.
- Once the blood has been centrifuged, PRP can then be extracted and is used for the treatment.
- Your doctor will begin the micro-needling facial therapy. PRP will be massaged and injected on your face along with the micro-needling. The process takes around 30-60 minutes (4).
What are the benefits of PRP therapy?
1. Rejuvenation of the face
After a PRP facial therapy with micro-needling, the skin on the face will produce more elastin and collagen, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, scars, and boosts the overall health skin.
2. It treats delicate areas
Because PRP is combined with micro-needling, your doctor can focus the treatment on certain areas, such as remained acne scarring or areas of the skin damaged by the sun. This makes sure that the PRP therapy can be used to directly address in specific issues you may have with your skin.
3. It’s a natural cosmetic injectable
Unlike other cosmetic injectables (such as botox or fillers), PRP uses only cells that have come from your own body. In a way, it’s taking utilising your own bodies amazing wound healing system in order to promote healthy and younger-looking skin
4. It’s safe
Because PRP is autologous, the results of allergic reactions or severe side effects are almost minimal.
5. PRP is long-lasting
One of the great benefits of Platelet-rich plasma therapy is that it’s effects last long. Studies have shown that the effects of PRP can last as long as 18 months to 2 years (5).
How much does a PRP facial cost?
The cost of a PRP facial depends on your location and the doctor you go to. Combining micro-needling with PRP (though extremely beneficial) can also add up to the cost.
The national average cost of a PRP facial is $1300 with some treatments costing $900 while the high-end cost around $2500.