PRP, At A Glance
- Best Results2-6 sessions, variable results
- Treatment Recovery0-2 days
- Procedure Time30 minutes
- Skin SpecialistNurse, dermatologist
- Duration of Results6-24+ months
- Back to Work0-2 days
PRP Platelet Rich Plasma
We have known about the benefits of PRP for the past decade. PRP is harvested from your own blood cells (platelets). These cells are concentrated to give higher amounts of growth factors. The suspension is reapplied to areas of concern, including facial, & scalp tissue. This stimulates collagen production & growth of target tissue.
FactsFacts on Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP
- PRP is a natural product derived from your own blood cells
- PRP extracts your platelets & concentrates them
- Concentrated platelets have high levels of growth factors
- Growth factors can help repair damaged skin
- PRP can accelerate wound healing times
- PRP is best combined with lasers, microneedling, & energy devices
- This treatment can slow down hair loss
- 2-6 treatments are performed over several months
What skin concerns can PRP address?
PRP has the potential to address the following conditions-
- Reduction in wrinkles & lines such as crow’s feet, lip lines & smile lines
- Improvement of under eye volume loss, skin laxity & dark circles
- Loss of elasticity & sagging skin on the face & neck
- Improvement in skin tone, complexion & texture
- Rejuvenation of the neck & décolletage
- Improvements in photoaged hands
- Hair regeneration and regrowth
- Skin tightening
What are the theoretical benefits of PRP?
PRP has many therapeutic claims, including skin rejuvenation & regeneration of collagen, reduction of wrinkles, better skin texture, reduction of uneven skin tone & pigmentation & even (believe it or not), increases in volume.
The most predictable outcomes for PRP are actually not related to skin results, but hair loss. This treatment can be adjunctive for the management of hair loss in men and women. PRP injections are conducted every 8-12 weeks, for 2-4 sessions followed by a maintenance schedule every 14-20 weeks.
Does PRP work for acne scars?
Short answer- it can marginally improve healing times. That is it. In the context of giving additional results (as an add on procedure), results if any, are very marginal at best.
I did use PRP in just about every single scar revision case I performed from 2015 to early 2017. I used it over the wounds of lasers, under the skin, injected with a needle, injected with a cannula, occluded it with a mask & used many different concentrations. The results? Slightly faster healing times following lasers or RF microneedling. No changes in volume.
I do not routinely use PRP nowadays, just because other things work better, namely fillers. If you have done your own research, & would like me to try out PRP, let me know & this can be arranged.
Does PRP work for dark circles?
PRP is probably the most overhyped treatment for dark under eye circles. Yes, in some cases the initial results are promising, especially if microneedling is added to the recipe.
You see, with chronic inflammation of your under eye area with microtrauma your eyebags, skin laxity & dark circles may look temporarily better. This is due to swelling. Repeat this every month for 5 to 6 treatments (nice package deal you signed up to), and you may actually believe it works. Until the 6th week of your final session.
There are many better ways to treat dark circles. First start off with a diagnosis. For more on how I manage dark circles, explore this website.
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What condition/s does PRP actually treat?
PRP has good evidence in the treatment of joint dysfunction. Additionally it has shown to be effective as adjunctive management in hair loss disorders including male and female pattern baldness. PRP has also been used to treat female sexual dysfunction.
This is where PRP shines. The greatest level of evidence for PRP is the management of male & female pattern hair loss. Studies have demonstrated at 4-5X concentration, PRP coupled with microneedling not only slows down hair loss, but it can also increase the numbers, thickness & density of hair.
In the context of alopecia (hair loss), three sessions are performed one month apart, followed by maintenance therapy every three to six months. Refer to the section on hair loss for more information.
What does the procedure involve?
The very first step is to see if you are a good candidate for PRP. In the context of skin rejuvenation, PRP has limited value if you have moderate to severe sun damage, volume loss & wrinkles. In the context of acne scars, PRP has limited value, full stop.
The process of PRP is as follows-
- On the day of PRP ensure that you are well hydrated. This is because we take a very small amount of blood from you. Hydration makes it easier to locate a vein.
- A very tiny butterfly needle is inserted into your donor vein, a small volume of blood is taken (less than 70mls).
- Blood is then spun down in a PRP processor.
- Platelet rich plasma & platelet poor plasma are separated from blood & white blood cells.
- The PRP is then re-infused in the area of concern.
- PRP can be injected with a cannula (a blunt instrument placed under the skin)
- PRP can be injected with a sharp needle to the area.
- PRP can be placed on top of prepared areas, for example after microneedling.
Aftercare will depend on how the PRP was administered
When will I see results from PRP?
PRP is not a once off procedure (unlike dermal fillers). Most patients require 2-6 sessions over a period of 1 to 6 months to notice any changes.
The speed at which you notice results will depend on the ancillary delivery system of PRP. For example, if it is laser assisted PRP, your results will be visible at 2-4 weeks post procedure. If it is PRP that is injected under your skin, your results, should you have any at all, will be apparent 3-5 months after the initial injection.
For hair loss disorders, PRP can slow down both male & female pattern hair loss, however the final results may take 6-9 months before they are clinically visible.
In summary, there is a marked variation in the time taken to see clinical results. Be guided by your physician.
What PRP extraction devices do we use?
There are currently many devices available to concentrate platelet-rich plasma (PRP) once the patient’s blood has been taken. They are not all alike in the quality of the PRP that they produce.
If the normal concentration of platelets in our blood is 1. Then, most tube plus centrifuge devices will only produce an increased level of platelets of 1.5 to 2 times normal (or 1.2-2X).
The ideal ratio, as reflected in many studies, is between 4 to 6 X the normal levels. This means that platelets and growth factors are more densely concentrated in our PRP treatments, giving better results for the same effort and treatment time.
What are the side effects of PRP?
PRP has minimal, if any side effects (the flipside is that PRP has minimal, if any, effects).
As this is a naturally occurring substance, you will not be ‘allergic’ to your own blood products. Additionally, you do not ‘catch’ an infection following PRP injections.
The most common (and often the hardest to treat) side effect, is injection of PRP to the undereye area, usually for the treatment of dark circles. This can lead to bruising & bleeding, especially if this treatment is repeated. This leads to post procedure purpura or bleeding under your skin. As a result, discolouration or worsening of dark circles can occur.
What other treatments are more effective?
There are many more effective treatments than PRP, in the context of dermatological uses. For example-
- Dermal fillers give a one to one volume correction. Namely fillers provide volumetric correction that is more effective, predictable and longer lasting than PRP.
- Laser for skin rejuvenation, including fractional resurfacing for improvements in skin quality.
- Topicals for pigmentation & melasma. Simple tyrosinase inhibitors, retinol, retinoids, ascorbic acid & niacinamide will improve most forms of pigmentation.
- Muscle relaxants are also predictable, especially for the treatment of dynamic lines.
Davin’s Viewpoint on PRP
Upsize your meal? That is my viewpoint on PRP, once again in the context of scar remodelling & skin treatments. It is a nice add on with a good patient satisfaction rate, however the (true) science is limited. I do believe the science is solid in the field of joint dysfunction, orthopaedics and rehabilitation medicine. There is some evidence that it can be an adjunctive treatment for both male and female androgenetic alopecia.
For skin rejuvenation and scar remodelling, the evidence is very limited at best. There are small studies confirming that healing rates are slightly accelerated, with more studies showing good outcomes in the context of patient satisfaction rates. This meritorious award is granted and hence Clinic Cutis has 2 PRP devices. In my practice, I do not use PRP ( I was a very heavy user 5 to 6 years ago, prescribing PRP for just about all my laser & revision work).
In the context of skin rejuvenation & treating sunken (atrophic) acne scars, dermal fillers give far more predictability in the outcome. Having said this, if your research has sparked your interest in PRP, by all means ask me to add this to your treatment. We have 2 devices on stand-by on any given day.
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