A variety of factors, both internal and external, are responsible for the decreased production of hyaluronic acid, the reduced levels of collagen, the deterioration of skin tissues, and a diminished capacity for the body to heal itself. These lead to the loss of skin elasticity, the formation of lines and wrinkles, and ultimately, skin aging.
We battle wrinkles and aging skin with regular applications of various skin creams and anti-aging serums. These can be supplemented by treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. PRP therapy has been used to counter the progression of aging with some success. Read on to discover what PRP therapy is and how it can promote skin rejuvenation.
PRP injection is a procedure that makes use of an individual’s blood cells to improve soft tissue healing by enriching it and reintroducing it into the patient. This treatment was popularized by athletes like Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant, who used it to speed up their recovery from sports injuries. Conclusive evidence of the ability of PRP treatments to heal wounds has yet to be established; however, medical professionals have used PRP therapy to treat chronic and acute issues including osteoarthritis, muscle and tendon injuries (e.g. tennis elbow and patellofemoral pain), as well as postsurgical tears in the tendons and ligaments.
The process involves extracting the patient’s blood and isolating the platelets to harness their regenerative abilities. Platelets are tiny, disk-shaped cells contained within the blood that perform a variety of complex tasks. Possessing valuable growth factors, cytokines, proteins, and extracellular matrix (ECM) modulators, platelets stimulate tissue repair, trigger an immune response, and attract stem cells. The idea is that by collecting and injecting a concentrated amount of platelets into specific areas, the procedure will encourage rapid healing.
Due to their ability to rejuvenate soft tissues and promote the generation of healthy cells, PRP therapy has been lauded as an effective way to minimize the signs of aging and have been used to remedy fine lines and sagging.
PRP can be administered as a stand-alone procedure or in tandem with other facial treatments. It can be done in conjunction with microdermabrasion or microneedling. PRP treatments that go hand in hand with either is known as “Vampire Facelift” and gained a following when celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Angelina Jolie publicized their treatment. PRP injections can also be done with Botox treatments.
PRP therapy for skin rejuvenation can target various areas including the face, neck, and décolletage.
PRP addresses issues with the following:
Shape – Reduced collagen production causes the skin and muscles to lose their tightness and begin to droop. As a result, fine lines and wrinkles develop. PRP injections activate the hyaluronic acid responsible for collagen generation, so the skin regains its youthful elasticity.
Texture – Aging can bring about reduced blood flow, which causes the skin to become rough, exacerbating facial lines. PRP can help your skin become smoother and clearer.
Lustre – Decreased blood flow can also make the skin look gray and dull. PRP treatments can restore a rosy complexion by improving the circulation in the face.
PRP is a quick procedure that can have lasting effects. While the treatment may only take about one hour to complete, the results may last for several months to more than a year.
PRP is a natural solution. Several skin care solutions have presented themselves as being “natural,” despite containing various chemicals. With PRP treatments, the only ingredient is one’s blood, making it literally “all natural.”
Follow-up treatments may be necessary. One session may be sufficient for some patients. However, others may need to undergo three to four treatments with an interval of one month for better results.
PRP therapy typically involves a few simple steps:
1. Extraction – Blood is extracted through a venipuncture. The amount of blood drawn depends on which areas are being targeted. A full facial may require as much as 60 millilitres (or 2 ounces) of blood while treatments for smaller areas, like smile lines or crow’s feet, may require as little as 15 millilitres (or .5 ounces).
2. Separation – After extraction, the blood is placed into a centrifuge. This is a rapidly rotating device that uses acceleration (or centrifugal) force to separate the platelets and plasma from the red and white blood cells. The platelet-rich plasma is then prepared for injection.
3. Anesthetic – For your comfort, a topical anesthetic will first be applied to the targeted areas.
4. Injection – The doctor or technician will inject the concentrated platelets into the skin to trigger cell growth.
Typically, because the treatment uses your bodily fluids, there are few adverse effects following treatment. For instance, there are minimal risks for developing an allergic reaction, and virtually no chance of disease transmission or immune responses.
However, the pricking of the skin may cause some pain and irritation for up to a few days after the treatment. Other side effects may include bruising, itching, swelling, redness, and puffiness that can last for as long as a week. Discuss these potential side effects with your doctor or technician, so you are better prepared to handle them should they manifest.
The ability of PRP therapy to speed the body’s healing prowess makes it a powerful method of addressing the signs of aging. Take advantage of this new technology in skin care so you can restore your healthy, lustrous, and young-looking skin.
Chantal Ward is a Registered Nurse with over 18 years of experience in the aesthetics industry. Ms. Ward is highly skilled in the area of aesthetic lasers, advanced & non-invasive technologies, Botox® and Dermal Fillers.
Chantal has been employed by some of North America’s largest and most respected Aesthetic Laser Manufacturers. Her experience as a Consultant / Trainer to Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Nurses and Alternative Practitioners gives her a unique perspective on evolving technologies and how they best serve her patients.