If you have heard the term “Vampire” facial, you have probably been offended by it and would never opt for a skin treatment that has such a dreadful name. However, what is colloquially known as vampire facial is in fact a completely natural biological treatment, and it is done by using only harvested elements from your own blood that are injected in the place of the body that needs healing or improving. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentrate made from human blood, which is later centrifuged to remove the red blood cells. What remains is the liquid part of the blood known as plasma that also contains the platelets as well as stem cells, protein, growth factors and other cytokines that have a stimulative effect on wound healing, musculoskeletal injuries and skin rejuvenation.
PRP has received attention in the popular media as a result of its use in treating sports injuries in professional athletes. While patients suffering from chronic tendinitis or osteoarthritis have greatly benefited from this method, its use is not limited to orthopedics only – in fact, treatments for improving skin damage caused by traumatic or acne scars, sunburns and anti-aging treatments for filling in the wrinkles are on the rise and this topic is researched intensively nowadays. The major advantage to PRP treatment compared to other similar procedures is its simplicity – no artificial ingredients, no adverse reactions and lasting effects that even improve as time goes by.
The procedure is very simple to understand. First, about 30ml-60ml of blood are taken from your arm and put in a centrifuge to separate the components of the blood based on their density. A thin layer between the red blood cells and the plasma is our object of interest – your doctor removes this layer with a syringe and then injects it in your skin, usually with a very thin needle. To minimize the discomfort, you might also be given a numbing cream so you will feel little or no pain during the procedure. After the treatment you can expect some mild pain, itching or swelling which are caused by the injection itself as well as the activation of platelets. However, these side effects are only temporary, do not require any special therapy and usually go away after a few days. There is practically no possibility for allergic reactions since the plasma comes from the patient’s own body, no other chemicals or drugs are used in the injecting solution.
It is estimated that PRP concentrates the platelets by roughly five-fold. This means that PRP contains high levels of growth factors and cytokines such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) . When applied topically, these growth factors up-regulate the cellular activity and subsequently promote tissue regeneration. The first results are visible after 4 to 6 weeks and they can be evaluated with dermatoscope to confirm the improvement in the look and texture of the treated skin. Usually the first difference patients notice is skin evenness and firmness, complimented with a radiant complexion and shrinking of skin zits. The increase of collagen production takes more time, usually about 3 months before effects set in, and it is expressed as an improvement in skin turgor and elasticity. Overall, patients that have had PRP treatments enjoy a skin that looks and feels healthy and shows less signs of skin aging such as wrinkles or discoloration.
What makes this treatment superior to other similar procedures is its simplicity and long lasting effects. The face remains tight and with glowing skin for months and even years after the treatment, because the growth factors from the plasma stimulate collagen production and cellular vitality for a long time after the initial treatment. PRP stimulates new cell growth in the patient’s body wherever it is injected, helping the body heal itself the natural way without using chemicals or any other foreign substances. Also, the minimal incidence of allergic or other adverse reactions might just be the critical difference between PRP and any other treatments for the similar purpose.
Although this is a generally safe procedure, all interested patients should first schedule an appointment with their dermatologist or esthetician to determine whether PRP is the right treatment for them. Just like any other medical intervention, PRP injections will not be given to you without thoroughly going through your past and present medical history, as well as evaluation of the current state of the skin you wish to treat with this method. Dr. Hall is highly experienced in PRP treatment and is willing to help you resolve all of your doubts and questions regarding the procedure, all you have to do is contact the clinic and the rest is up to our staff.