There has been much excitement over the use of growth factors and stem cells to help heal wounds and improve the skin. Platelet Rich Plasma is an exciting, innovative therapeutic treatment that uses the essential growth factors in one’s own platelet-rich blood cells to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Platelets are important in clotting blood and are very active in the early phases of wound healing, but why do you want this on or better yet in your skin?
Platelet rich plasma, commonly referred to as “PRP”, is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) In PRP, the concentration of platelets and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual. Platelets are best known for their function of blood-clotting to stop bleeding’ however, are much more significant than this. Human platelets are also a critical component in injury healing (repair) and are naturally rich in the connective tissue growth and healing factors. The body’s first response to tissue injury is to deliver platelets to the area. Platelets initiate repair and attract stem cells to the injury where it creates, stimulates, and accelerates the body’s natural healing process.
To maximize the healing process, the platelets must be concentrated and separated from the red blood cells. The goal of PRP is to maximize the number of platelets while minimizing the number of red and white blood cells in a solution that is injected or applied to the treatment area(s). To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient and then the platelets are separated from other blood cells where their concentration is increased by using a process called centrifugation
Recently, PRP has shown a great deal of promise in the field of hair restoration and is used as a scalp injection to promote hair growth. Practitioners use PRP to stimulate the growth of follicles, thereby reversing the hair miniaturization seen in androgenetic alopecia (common baldness). With a thin needle, your own Platelet-Rich Plasma is injected into the scalp. The introduction of platelets and white blood cells through PRP amplify the body’s naturally-occurring wound healing mechanism. In the case of hair loss, the injected platelets prompt inactive hair follicles to enter an active growth phase, causing the hair to start growing again.
PRP Hair Restoration is best used on people who are in the early stages of thinning hair, who still have active or somewhat active follicles but they are not producing as much hair or the quality of hair that is desired. Locations where severe depletion of follicles has occurred should not be treated. Good candidates for platelet rich plasma are men and women who have experienced natural hair thinning or hair loss within the last three to five years. They should be in good overall health and have realistic expectations about the nature of treatment and what can be achieved.
PRP injections are given in a series of 3 injection sessions spaced four to six weeks apart The patient is evaluated and photographed before starting treatment and at each subsequent visit. A very small needle is used to inject the PRP directly into the scalp and most patients require little to no anesthesia. There is no downtime to speak of after treatment, although swelling and redness may occur. Results (although not guaranteed) will not occur immediately, but rather in three to six months, although there may be rare cases in which hair regrows earlier. Restoration will be better in patients who still have some hair follicles left to stimulate, therefore PRP works better in the earlier phases of hair loss.
There is no activity restriction after a PRP treatment. Patients may shower/shampoo/condition their hair normally just several hours after the treatment and resume normal daily and athletic activities. As mentioned previously, some brief mild inflammation noticeable as redness/pinkness and numbness of the scalp may be present for several hours. No harsh chemical coloring or perming treatments should be performed for at least 72 hours. Use of topical hair growth treatments like can resume the next day as well as laser therapy treatments.
PRP’s benefits are also being applied to other fields of cosmetic medicine, such as dermatology, skin wound healing and cosmetic facial rejuvenation. PRP has become a highly sought-after non-surgical procedure for facial and skin rejuvenation as it helps to correct some of the most common facial aging concerns; minimizing fine line’s and wrinkles, improving complexion and skin texture, and restoring lost facial volume.
Collagen Induction Therapy and Fractional Skin Resurfacing are forms of skin resurfacing that create small tunnels or micro-channels into the face penetrating down to the dermis. As the wounds heal, new collagen production is stimulated that in turn tightens and smooths out the skin’s surface. It is an ideal treatment to improve acne scars, surgical scars, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, lax skin, sun damage, large pores or uneven skin texture. It can be performed on the face or the body and is suitable for all skin types.
Platelet Rich Plasma, coupled with collagen induction therapy or fractional skin resurfacing, is highly beneficial as PRP contains highly concentrated amounts of natural growth factors and other cytokines that promote the regeneration process of soft tissues. By injuring the top layers of the skin and partnering the procedure with PRP, recovery time is shortened and the growth factors that fall into the micro-channel wounds lead to even better collagen and elastic fiber deposition. Since the platelets are high in growth hormone, and the skin resurfacing stimulates the skin to regenerate, the entire procedure is meant to aid cell turnover.
Each session typically lasts for approximately one hour, including the numbing process which takes 30 minutes. During your skin analysis and consultation our skin care team at Spa in the City will let you know specifically what to expect. While you are numbing, we draw your blood and centrifuge it to obtain the PRP.
The downtime is minimal to moderate with only one to three days of mild redness, depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment. A post-treatment kit will help speed your recovery. You’ll notice an immediate “glow” to your skin and it will continue to improve over the next few weeks. The full results can be seen up to 6 months post treatment as collagen production continues.
We recommend a series of at least three treatments to see the best results. These sessions should be scheduled four weeks apart to allow the skin to heal from the inside out between treatments. You can then do the treatment about once a year to maintain these results.