PRP For Acne Scars At A Glance
- Best Results1-10+ Treatments
- Treatment Recovery4 - 8 days
- Procedure Time5 to 30 mins
- Skin SpecialistDavin Lim, Dermatologist
- Duration of ResultsVariable - years
- AnaestheticNumbing to sedation
- Back to WorkVariable
PRP For Acne Scars
PRP or platelet derived plasma has some evidence in the management of acne scars. PRP can help accelerate skin recovery following procedures such as laser resurfacing, microneedling & RF microneedling. The overall outcome & improvement if PRP is added to a procedure is debatable. Regardless, PRP is a safe procedure with a high patient satisfaction rate.
FactsFacts on PRP For Acne Scars
- PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma
- This procedure take your own blood derived growth factors
- Concentrated platelets are infused in acne scar sites
- In theory, growth factors regenerate new tissue, reducing scarring
- In practice the results are modest at best
- PRP can marginally accelerate healing
What is PRP?
PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. This procedure takes your own blood, processes & concentrates blood clotting cells called platelets, then re-infuses plasma back into your skin. Platelets are rich in growth factors that help tissue regenerate & heal faster.
The usual X value (concentration of platelets) ranges from 4.0 to 6.5. This refers to the concentration of PRP compared to normal blood values.
The advantage of PRP is that it is natural, there are no added dermal fillers nor compounds. The disadvantage of PRP is that it is less predictable than volume correction using other methods.
What is the real advantage of adding PRP to acne scar revision procedures?
Marginal decreased healing times. That is it. Note that this is in the context of my mode of practice. I am aware of the papers discussing PRP combined with treatments such as microneedling & other procedures, with results showing better outcomes than placebo controls.
It is not that I am against PRP, as we still offer it at Clinic Cutis. I have also performed 100s of PRP procedures from 2013 till now. I just feel that there are more predictable results from other treatments, compared to PRP.
Does PRP get rid of acne scars?
PRP by itself does not treat acne scars, however combined with a suitable procedure, PRP can improve acne scars.
I do believe that other treatments such as collagen stimulating fillers & or ASC or adipose stem cell transfer work much better at scar remodelling with more predictable outcomes. Adding platelets to skin scars without actual remodelling does not improve scarring. Where PRP can come in handy is marginally improved healing times.
What procedures are frequently combined with PRP?
The most common procedure offered with PRP is simple microneedling, either with a Dermapen, SkinPen or a Dermaroller.
Other combinations include PRP with fractional laser resurfacing, RF microneedling, RF nano-fractional resurfacing, deep peels, mesotherapy PRP, & subcision – dermal PRP. The ideal combination depends on your goals & scar severity.
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How many treatments of PRP are needed for acne scars?
3-6 procedures are required. As with all scar revision treatments, the end point is objective improvement in scars. Protocol driven acne scar revision & PRP is suitable for patients with mild to modest skin scars. For more severe types of scarring, I perform surgical procedures & energy based treatments (laser resurfacing).
How is PRP applied in the context of acne scar treatments?
Traditionally PRP is dripped on the face after a procedure. This does not make sense as the solution dries up within a minute or two. In my practice I apply PRP with a mask as it contains supersaturated PRP on the skin. This mask contains 3-6 mls of PRP & is left on for 30 to 60 minutes.
Another technique is to inject the solution deeply, either with a needle or a cannula. Most often I combine both techniques, namely over (mask) & under (injected).
How long does it take to heal up from PRP procedures?
Two to four days, with an additional 24 to 48 hours for deeper CO2 laser resurfacing procedures. Timeline as follows-
- First 24 hours: swelling
- 24-72 hours: redness
- 72+ hours: healing (make up OK)
What is a Vampire Facial?
A Vampire Facial is essentially PRP. The reason why it is called that is due to the bleeding associated with microneedling procedures. This facial combines non-energy based microneedling with either a Dermaroller, Skinpen or Dermapen with autologous platelet rich transfer (PRP).
Are PRP results permanent?
In the context of acne scars, the answer is yes. Once your scars are corrected, providing you do not get more acne (with resulting scarring), the treatment is permanent. Remember, PRP does not contribute to the results, it merely improves the healing time of the procedure itself.
Is PRP treatment painful?
No, treatments are well tolerated. The actual process of drawing blood out feels like a tiny pin prick. The primary revision procedure, namely microneedling, Dermarolling, laser resurfacing, peeling, or RF microneedling is conducted under anesthesia- either numbing creams of a combination of creams, blocks & anaesthetic gas.
How long does PRP take to work?
Your skin heals up from the primary procedure within 2-4 days, possibly an additional 48 hours for deeper fractional laser resurfacing. In the context of collagen stimulation & scar remodelling, it does take up to 8 weeks & 3-6 treatments to see the true benefits.
How much is the treatment?
This procedure is not covered under Medicare.
Simple microneedling or Dermaroller with PRP starts from $350 USD. This procedure is conducted by my nurses & dermal therapists at Clinic Cutis.
I do not routinely offer this procedure, purely because my work is primarily focused on severe acne scars. In this context, my usual mode of practice is to perform procedures with a very high efficacy & predictability rate.
Davin’s Viewpoint on PRP for acne scars
PRP has some merit in medicine. It has been shown to be effective in the management of arthritis, joint pain, as well as some forms of hair loss.
In the context of acne scarring, there are a handful of scientific papers that show the efficacy of this treatment as beneficial compared to control. The majority of treatments are focused on PRP with microneedling. I do not have the same conviction compared to these handful of investigators. For reference, I have been using PRP in various combinations for over 7 years. What I have seen is a marginal improvement in healing times. That is it. It does not add to the overall outcome.
For the revision work that I most often perform (severe scars, failure to respond to other treatments), in the majority of times both my patients & I are focused on delivering the best possible outcomes.
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