The idea of using a strictly organic product to improve the appearance of wrinkles, scars, sun-damage, under eyes dark circles and crepiness is very appealing. Very simply, it uses plasma taken from the patient’s own blood instead of synthetic chemicals injected into the body. The possibility of side effects is practically nil, because the body is unlikely to reject its own blood. The PRP Platelet Rich Plasma is separated from the surrounding blood, and administered to the patient either topically, or more effectively, as injections.
Platelet Rich Plasma stimulates new cell growth in the patient’s body, including the skin, wherever it is injected. It helps the body heal itself more rapidly, without introducing chemicals or foreign substances. The plasma in the PRP interacts with, and directly stimulates, the patient’s stem cells naturally, “waking them up” and causing them to produce more collagen and elastin, which significantly results in the skin appearing more youthful. I compare it to a weight lifter who drinks additional protein to increase muscle size with exercise; PRP stimulates the stem cells in the skin and neighboring tissues to produce more and healthier collagen as well as growing new skin cells and literally rejuvenating the skin.
The majority of patients who review their own PRP treatments on RealSelf website are happy with their results, and frequently find their faces look even better several months after the treatments. The new cell growth in your skin generated by the PRP takes weeks to months, which is why it looks so much better after more time passes. In clinical studies, the effects of the PRP persists for as long as 18 months to 2 years.
I have found that combining PRP with fractional laser or RF treatments significantly enhances the effects and accelerates the recovery of the treatments. In particular, it is now my top choice and most preferred procedure, for improving the appearance of the under eyes area, and specifically for correcting the crepiness of the infraorbital areas. If the eyes have a particularly sunken appearance due to loss of facial fat, this can be elegantly addressed using small volume fat injections with the PRP, utilizing the ALMI procedure to obtain the fat. You’ve heard someone bemoan “I wish I could take fat from my butt and put it in my face’; well now you can. More about ALMI in another chapter.
In a study published by the American Society of Dermatological Surgery, the results showed that skin rejuvenation was better with PRP, and patient satisfaction was higher with PRP (applied topically) along with three fractional laser treatments, compared with the fractional laser treatments without PRP, assessed 30 days after the treatment.
If you’re not quite ready for lasers, PRP combined with monthly microneedling is the most natural way to improve the appearance of wrinkles, scars, acne scars, and other effects of aging. Even hard to treat stretch marks show improvement with series of microneedling with PRP. We have used PRP to amplify the improvement from FotoFacial or IPL treatments. PRP treatments also improve the texture, crepiness, and lines on the neck – and why not, it is directly connected to the face!
Finally, PRP injections can be used to improve or reduce the effects of hair loss. PRP injections performed monthly x 6 months, has been demonstrated to increase the diameters (thickness) of the existing hair shafts, as well as reducing hair loss, and restoring growth. A single set of injections will not produce a noticeable change – 6 months and six treatments are generally required. While not a substitute for hair transplantation, PRP injections frequent provide an alternative to reduce the rate of hair loss and improving the appearance of the remaining hair. It generally works best on patients with less than 5 years of noticeable relative hair loss, and is not meant for a treatment of complete baldness.
So, to say it another way…
Microneedling is like aerating your lawn – you place a layer of tiny punctures, and the treated skin and/or hair grows back healthier and fuller.
Microneedling with energy (i.e., radiofrequency or laser) is like adding sunshine to the aerated lawn – more growth and resulting healthier appearance.
PRP treatments (topical or injectable) – like adding super Scotts Turf Builder to the project. The PRP (we call it liquid gold) enlists the healthy stem cells to regenerate and attract the healing cells to produce growth factors, collagen, elastin, and fresh blood supply – all the components required for a naturally younger and refreshed appearance.
ALMI treatment – like adding super mulch to the project. A few tablespoons of fat are obtained from the abdomen or the hips; the youngest healthiest stem cells are separated from the mix, and 30 minutes later can be injected anywhere a little volume and a lot of rejuvenation is needed: the face, the neck (improves those deep horizontal lines), the hands, or the chest. Fat has an extraordinarily high content of stem cells – and they are responsible for staying young- appearing longer.
Generally, the best results appear after 6-8 weeks, with continued improvement persisting for up to 2 years. If you want to optimize your appearance by the holidays 2017 (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s), then start your program now!
by KENNETH H. JESSER, MD