All of us experience the unfortunate reality of ageism. That’s why the list of youth-enhancing procedures keeps expanding. While most surgical procedures are complicated, less-invasive biological treatments are becoming more popular by the day.
Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is a relatively recent treatment for skin rejuvenation. However, it is often linked with false or contradictory information and is sometimes regarded as just another beauty fad. This article will debunk some of the myths and misconceptions about PRP skin rejuvenation to show you how PRP procedures can help you achieve a refreshed and more youthful look!
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Generally, PRP is defined as an analogous concentrate of platelet-rich plasma found in the blood. The platelet concentration is 3–5 times higher than the number of platelets found in normal blood. Moreover, PRP contains bioactive proteins and growth factors, such as PDGF, VEGF, and TGF. All of those naturally occurring substances can stimulate cell proliferation. They can boost differentiation, healing and help with various cellular processes. When used for skin rejuvenation, PRP can promote cell migration and stimulate collagen production.
How PRP Rejuvenates Your Skin
PRP procedure utilizes your blood to release growth factors and stimulate tissue regeneration. That way, by growing collagen naturally, PRP can soften wrinkles, lines, and folds. It can regenerate your skin while making it tight and smooth. Plus, it can improve your skin texture, tone, and complexion. The effects can last up to several months or two years, depending on the frequency of the injections. Most importantly, the treatment is minimally invasive.
Here’s how a standard PRP injection procedure works:
- A clinician will draw 10 millilitres of blood. The next step is to place the whole blood into a centrifuge. During differential centrifugation, the machine will separate the red blood cells and white blood cells from the mixture of PRP. This process lasts 5 minutes.
- The separated PRP will then be prepared for injection. Depending on the affected area and the type of treatment, the clinician can administer the PRP intradermally or topically.
- The whole procedure lasts around 20-30 minutes, but it will take 3 sessions or a few months until the full results appear.
Myths vs. Facts
As mentioned, PRP is a relatively recent (at least past 15 years) advancement in cosmetic and regenerative medicine. It is used for multiple medical purposes. That includes post-surgical healing, hair loss, and acute or tendon injuries. However, its clinical benefits haven’t been entirely proven for large sample groups. That could be one reason why PRP is often the subject of the following myths and misconceptions:
Myth #1: PRP Facials Cause Pain
While PRP treatments can cause mild side effects, the procedure doesn’t hurt. You could feel slight discomfort or experience light bruising, but the injections are not painful.
PRP therapy usually doesn’t require topical nor general anesthesia. Moreover, PRP facials with microneedling could look painful, as evident by the “shocking” Kim Kardashian photo that put Vampire facials on the map. In reality, microneedling pierces your outermost skin layer, and it only produces prickling sensations that do not cause too much pain.
Myth #2: Treatments Are Incredibly Expensive
PRP facials and other skin rejuvenation procedures are not cheap. Still, they are significantly less expensive compared to more invasive surgeries. The average price of a PRP treatment in Canada is between $700 and $800. Facelift surgery can cost around $5,000 to $20,000 and more.
Myth #3: PRP Is a Type of Surgery
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a non-surgical treatment for skin rejuvenation. It utilizes the plasma and platelets found in the patient’s own blood. That way, it repairs soft tissue. The treatment can minimize signs of ageing by promoting healthy regeneration. Unlike more invasive surgeries, PRP therapy is an all-natural procedure.
Myth #4: High Infection Risk
As stated previously, PRP facials utilize your own platelets. This method eliminates the risk of injury and rejection. Nevertheless, PRP is still a medical procedure. As with all medical interventions, you should avoid undergoing the treatment in non-medical settings.
In 2019, two people tested positive for HIV after undergoing the procedure in a spa in New Mexico. To minimize infection and ensure no further complication, you should only do the treatment in a qualified clinic with licensed staff and proper needle handling procedures.
Myth #5: The Results Are Instantaneous
It takes longer to see the full results of PRP injections or facials compared to facelifts and other surgeries. This is precisely because PRP treatments are not considered to be surgical procedures. Still, PRP procedures can deliver excellent results and at a fraction of the cost.
Myth #6: Vampire Facelift, PRP, and Microneedling Are the Same
It’s possible to mix up the different types of procedures if you research PRP. Vampire facelifts utilize PRP, but they also combine it with injectable hyaluronic acid fillers for the desired result. Conversely, microneedling uses tiny needles to penetrate the skin. The pinpricks from the needles make the skin respond by producing more collagen. PRP can be used in conjunction with hyaluronic acid fillers and microneedling.
Why Is PRP Treatment Different?
Since PRP increases collagen growth naturally, it stimulates total skin rejuvenation. Other injections or fillers could focus on only one wrinkle or area at a time. The treatment can also target some areas that cannot be filled with hyaluronic acid.
While hyaluronic acid fillers are also based on natural substances, they solidify once injected. Thus, they have to be redone periodically. Fillers can only remove folds and lines, but PRP can rejuvenate the entire face. It can intensify the skin tone and improve the texture while leaving a smooth and fresh complexion.
Evidence That Supports PRP Treatments
In 2019, PRP was classified as an approved procedure by Health Canada. Moreover, in the last 5–10 years, many studies have published encouraging findings on the treatment. A 2017 study found that PRP treatments were highly effective against acne scarring. What’s more, a 2018 study found that PRP is incredibly effective for treating wrinkled under-eye skin.
Another study from Korea in 2014 found that PRP injections improved skin tone and naturally eased wrinkles within three months. Additionally, a clinical trial from 2018 concluded that platelet-rich plasma injections provide an efficient solution for rejuvenating sun-damaged facial skin.
PRP is one of the safest and most effective natural treatments for skin rejuvenation from a scientific perspective. It offers the following benefits:
- Non-surgical — injecting a patient’s own plasma lowers the chance of rejection and adverse effects significantly.
- Fast — The entire procedure lasts approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
- Long-term results — while PRP does not produce results right away, the results are long-lasting and can stay visible for a few years. In contrast, the body absorbs dermal fillers within six months.
- No recovery time — the procedure minimizes or completely eliminates the recovery time. After a PRP treatment, you can return to your regular activities straight away.
Since this treatment utilizes the body’s own ingredients to rejuvenate the skin, it has many purposes. It can address:
- Unbalanced skin tone or texture
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Sun-damaged skin
- Enlarged pores
- Acne scarring
- Spider veins
- Stretch marks
- Dark circles under eyes
- A tired or dull overall look
Precaution and Side Effects
While PRP minimizes the recovery time, you can still expect some side effects. They include:
- Temporary bruising across the targeted areas
- Slight swelling or redness due to the reinjection of PRP
Recovery from PRP injections is quick, and most of the side effects could go away within a couple of hours. After a procedure, the specialist could ice the targeted area to reduce any swelling, irritation, or bruising. It’s also crucial to avoid sun exposure for a few days after the procedure. The healthcare expert could also advise you to avoid using any drugs or pills without a prescription for up to 20 days after the treatment. What’s more, you shouldn’t undergo a PRP injection or facial if you have a blood clotting or bleeding disorder or any type of blood disease. The treatment expert will discuss your condition with you before the treatment and will determine the best way to proceed.
What You Should Expect
It’s tough to estimate exactly how long your treatment will last until you see the results. Many factors are at play here, including your skin condition, the desired effect, your overall health condition, and so on.
Ideally, most patients should get three injection treatments in 4–6 week intervals. That could produce the maximum rejuvenation effect. You could experience the first improvements within 1–3 months. When the treatment finishes, the collagen will reproduce after three months. Then, you will see substantial improvements in the youthfulness of your skin and a decrease in lines or wrinkles. Still, you should have your skin examined by a specialist every once in a while so that they can advise you on how you can sustain the effects for longer.
As you’ve seen, PRP skin treatment is an all-natural process that provides many benefits. If you want to give your skin a younger and fresher complexion, consult a licensed doctor at Ottawa Vein & Cosmetic Medical Clinic, and we’ll help you find the best treatment for you!