It’s not often that a skin treatment has a pop culture moment as big as the vampire facial did when Kim Kardashian infamously Instagrammed her experience. How can we forget the image of Kim’s face covered in blood? Some people were grossed out. But for those of us skincare junkies, we were intrigued. We’ll try just about anything for the promise of rejuvenated, glowing skin!
WHAT IS PRP?
The vampire facial may look strange but the use of platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, for healing and rejuvenation is nothing new or unusual. It has a history of use in therapies addressing sports injuries, chronic tendon injuries, arthritis, wound healing, skin rejuvenation, and more.
PRP therapy comes from introducing the platelet-rich plasma from our own blood back into our bodies to stimulate cell function and aid in wound healing. To better understand this process let’s start with the source of PRP, our blood.
Blood is made up to two components, red blood cells and plasma. The plasma contains white blood cells and platelets. Platelets contain proteins called growth factors which play an important role in wound healing. They do this by acting as messengers and signaling cells to function in a specific way.
PRP is blood plasma with a higher concentration of platelets than is typically found. The higher concentration of platelets means a higher concentration of growth factors.
HOW DO WE GET PRP?
Getting PRP to use in therapies means that a blood sample must first be drawn. Next the sample is put into a device called a centrifuge that spins the sample to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. Once the plasma has been separated it is then used for the treatment. PRP can be used as an injection or topically.
It is still unclear how exactly PRP works in the body to deliver such effective results. The theory is that the higher concentration of growth factors leads to accelerated healing. Although more research, studies, and evidence are needed to support the claims made by proponents of PRP therapy, it is still a widely used treatment with very promising results.
PRP FOR HAIR GROWTH
In Episode 10 of The SkinCrush Podcast our guest, Dr. Yula Indeyeva, talked about her own experience with using PRP as a treatment for hair growth and shared the exciting results she is seeing as a result of the therapy.
PRP can be used to stimulate the activity of hair follicles and promote new hair growth. Research has shown that PRP can be effective in improving hair count, hair thickness, and the growth phase of the hair cycle. A treatment for hair growth is done by injecting the PRP directly into the scalp at the level of the hair follicle. Typically treatments should be done once a month for the first three months then maintained with follow up treatments every three to six months thereafter. Results can usually be seen in about three months after the first treatment. Dr. Indeyva described all the new hair growth she has seen since starting her PRP therapy!
PRP FOR SKINCARE
PRP can also be used for skin rejuvenation (as we saw with Kim and the vampire facial!). Typically PRP is used in conjunction with another skin rejuvenation treatment called microneedling. In this type of treatment the PRP is applied topically and followed by the microneedling treatment. The microneedling is done to help promote maximum absorption of the PRP into the skin. This can be an especially effective treatment because both the PRP and the microneedling procedure stimulates collagen production.
Collagen provides a framework for our skin. Often described as scaffolding or latticework, the outcome of collagen stimulation is the goal of almost all skincare treatments. It’s all about stimulating collagen! By adding PRP to a microneedling procedure we are doubling up on collagen stimulation because both the PRP and the microneedling itself are working to stimulate collagen production. Increasing collagen production helps to improve the elasticity of our skin and create a more youthful appearance. If you care about collagen (and we all should!) a PRP+microneedling procedure might be something worth exploring!
CONNECT WITH ME!
I’d love to answer any questions you have or hear about your own experience with PRP. SkinCrush is meant to be a community so please join in the conversation! Reach out to me here or connect with me on social media. The SkinCrush Podcast and The SkinCrush Channel are more ways to connect and get more from my expert guests! If you have an idea for a future blog, podcast, or video, please let me know!
Until next time, SkinCrushers, take care of your skin and take care of each other!