WHAT IS THE HYPED UP PRP, OR VAMPIRE FACIAL AS SOME MY CALL IT, AND WHY YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER GETTING IT DONE TOO
PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. Originally mainly used to support healing in dentistry and in sports medicine, it has recently become a highly sought after and cutting edge anti-ageing and rejuvenation treatment for the skin and hair.
PRP uses the patients' own blood to trigger regeneration in the skin, hair and/or joints and other body tissues. PRP has been used with great success to support joint healing, hair regrowth and skin plumbing and anti-ageing.
More notably it has been shown to support:
- Hair regrowth in individuals with androgenetic alopecia
- Skin rejuvenation (facial, décolletage, hands, etc) with improved skin texture, hydration, fine wrinkle reduction, improved sun damaged and scarred skin
- Muskuloskeletal conditions from supporting ligament healing after tears, tendinopathies, bone healing to cartilage regeneration (Source)
WHAT IS DONE?
The blood is taken from the patient like a normal blood draw, placed into a centrifuge which spins that fast that the different blood constitutes separate into clearly visible layers. The middle layer of fluid contains the platelet rich plasma, and with it the body’s very own intrinsic growth factors for rejuvenation and healing. It is an almost see through layer with a slightly golden appearance, hence the sometimes used term ‘liquid gold’.
This fluid layer will be drawn up into a syringe and injected into the desired area for rejuvenation with a very fine needle.
In hair treatments, this is often combined with microneedling for better results.
Depending on the area treated and the desired results, the microneedling may be combined with a topical application of the PRP fluid which will allow the fluid to enter the skin through the micro damage caused by the microneedling, instead of individual injections of the PRP by needle. This has been shown to have the best results in many skin rejuvenation cases.
For best results collagen and hair growth stimulation, you need to have several treatments in dedicated time intervals:
- Gentle skin rejuvenation: At least 3 treatments, 4-6 weeks apart. Ideally the interval is 4 weeks, as that is the length of your collagen renewal cycle. However, up to 6 weeks can work. This can be continued indefinitely on a month by month basis, or repeated every 6 months.
- Acne scarring: As this requires deeper microneedling, a cycle of 3 monthly sessions should be followed by 6 months off.
- Hair regrowth: 6 monthly sessions are needed for results, followed by 6 months off.
I currently offers skin and hair injections and microneedling procedures to my VIP patients. For optimum effectiveness and results, this can be combined with a nutrient therapy IV prior to the PRP blood draw. This will give your blood the extra nourishing kick and supercharge your rejuvenation.
PRP treatments are available in Notting Hill and the surroundings of London as home visits.
Combine it with a nutrient IV, gather your friends and get pampered for the afternoon.
For those of you that like a bit more in depth information including research on its effectiveness, continue reading xx.
As skin ages, it loses some of its ability to repair its own damage. Because PRP contains the necessary growth factors for healing, it has been studied for use in cutaneous rejuvenation.
- In one study, 12 women underwent three treatments of intradermal PRP to the forehead, areas affected by crow’s feet, cheeks, and nasolabial folds. The effects were measured and analyzed by investigators, imaging, and patient evaluation. All patients completed the study, and no serious adverse events were observed. Imaging and patient evaluations were consistent with improved skin texture. Skin elasticity, barrier function, and smoothness additionally improved. Both clinical and patient evaluations at one month showed some improvements in skin texture and fine wrinkles (Source).
- A recent study looking into the mechanism behind PRP on how it helps plumb up the skin, reduces wrinkles and aids in skin renewal have found it wrinkles, texture and pores were decreased in the study participants. It demonstrated that PRP treatment ameliorated photoaging by inhibiting UV-B-induced damaging processes (Source).
- Another study that was done over the span of 5 years found that both fine and coarse texture of the skin improved significantly with PRP treatment (Source).
- Acne scarring causes cosmetic discomfort, depression, low self-esteem and reduced quality of life. Microneedling is an established treatment for scars. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology concluded that PRP has efficacy in the management of atrophic acne scars. It can be combined with microneedling to enhance the final clinical outcomes in comparison with microneedling alone (Source).
- A combination approach using dermaroller and PRP was a safe and better option than using dermaroller alone in atrophic acne scars for clinical improvement as well as for improvement in dermatology life quality index score (Source).
- A study published in the Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery came to the conclusion that 2 to 4 monthly PRP injections can help minimize acne scarring and facial burns, improving aesthetic results and decrease recovery time (Source).
PRP by injections or as a topical after microneedling:
It is interesting to note that one study found no significant clinical difference between intradermal and topical PRP delivery, and thus, topical PRP might offer a more comfortable patient experience without compromising efficacy (Source)
Not sure yet if you can trust it? Have a read what some people online/ beauty bloggers say about their experience with PRP and vampire facials:
After the first treatment, I did get a little bruising around one eye, but I wasn't alarmed. It was nothing that a little concealer couldn’t cover. Within a couple of days, I felt like my skin was really glowy and I got compliments from colleagues saying just that. When I went back for the second treatment, it dawned on me that not only had the lines softened around my eyes slightly, but more noticeable was the improvement in my acne scarring, which was far less visible.
Medical research in the area of PRP therapy (platelet-rich plasma) is continuing to gain notoriety in the mainstream press. Particularly, because high profile athletes are taking notice of the benefits of this treatment alternative. Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez, to name a few, have recently both traveled to Germany where biologic treatments in the form of PRP are readily available. Scientists in the U.S., and at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, agree that platelet-rich plasma treatment offers faster healing for sports injuries because the patient’s very own tissues are used to treat the injured cartilage, muscle, or tendon.
In the article, “Why Did Kobe Go To Germany?” the aging basketball star Kobe Bryant discusses his personal experience with PRP therapy and how it helps contribute to his playing ability on the court.
PRP in the use of musculoskeletal conditions, especially tendinopathies:
- In some musculoskeletal tissues the healing process may take a long time due to limited blood supply and slow cell turnover. The use of PRP speeds up the vascularization (blood supply) and therefore increase nutrients influx necessary for the cell regeneration (Source).
- A study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2014 found that PRP showed beneficial in treating patellar tendinopathy in combination with eccentric exercise compared to exercise and dry needling (Source).
- In another study published that same year, application of 3 consecutive US-guided PRP injections significantly improved symptoms and function in athletes with chronic PT and allowed fast recovery to their presymptom sporting level. The PRP treatment permitted a return to a normal architecture of the tendon as assessed by MRI (Source).
- Research also suggests that a course of 4 PRP treatments in combination with eccentric exercise therapy was more effective in reducing pain, improving activity level and reducing tendon thickness than eccentric training alone. However, injection with steroids proved to be even slightly more effective in the short term (Source). Yet steroid injections if done repeatedly may come at the cost of some unwanted and tissue weakening longer term effects (Source), and as such PRP with its negligible risks may still be the better option for the athlete wanting to go the more natural route.
- Injections into the joint have also been shown to support cartilage repair and regeneration (Source).
- However, there are some other studies that suggest a single PRP injection may not be sufficient or effective (Source). We therefore recommend packages of several treatments.
Another recent study published in the Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery came to the conclusion that 3 monthly PRP injections exhibited greater efficacy over placebo as measured by the change in total hair density (Source).
The international journal of trichology published a study in 2017 concluding that microneedling with PRP is safe, effective and a promising tool for the management of AGA (Source).
But what exactly does it do?
Platelet-Rich Plasma Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is autologous (one’s own) blood plasma with a concentration of platelets well above baseline. The usual concentration of platelets in the blood is approximately 150,000 to 400,000 platelets per cubic microliter. PRP contains 4 to 7 times the physiologic concentration of platelets (Source).
Platelets are an important part of hemostasis as well as the process of wound healing (Source).
There are 3 stages to wound healing: inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling. During inflammation, the goal is for hemostasis and the initiation of the wound-healing process. With tissue injury, platelets come in direct contact with and aggregate at the site of damaged blood vessels. Tissue injury also leads to platelet activation, which in turn leads platelets to release biologically active proteins and growth factors that promote wound healing (Source).
This includes platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factor-b, fibroblast growth factor, epidermal growth factor, keratinocyte growth factor, and vascular endothelium growth factor, among others (Source).
In addition, adhesion molecules, such as fibronectin and vitronectin, scaffolding proteins, such as fibrinogen, and other molecules responsible for intercellular binding and communication, are stimulated (Source).
Together, they promote connective tissue healing, epithelial development, angiogenesis, and deposition of collagen matrix (Source).
PRP is prepared by centrifugation of blood drawn from the patient before any procedure or surgery. The whole blood, once drawn, needs to have an anticoagulant to prevent clotting. Most PRP kits come with venipuncture tubes that already contain an anticoagulant. This anticoagulant is most often citrate, which will bind to the calcium ions, thus disrupting the coagulation cascade. In the anticoagulated state, the blood is stable for up to 8 hours (Source).
There are seven known growth factors in platelets, that, along with other bioactive substances found in that blood plasma, stimulate our cells to heal and regenerate where they may have gotten sluggish, damaged or old (Source).
What about some of the other hyped approaches out there like collagen peptide supplementations and stem cell injections you may ask?
Oral collagen peptide supplements - do they even make it into the body or is it a waste of money? Research says, yes! (Maybe not entirely, but the building blocks do! And they seem to work)
Similar to PRP, oral collagen peptide supplements have been purported to rejuvenate skin, reduce wrinkles, and restore volume and elasticity to sagging skin. Oral collagen supplementation has recently become trendy and has been marketed to consumers as an antiaging remedy. These oral collagen supplements contain bioactive collagen peptides. During the digestive process, these peptides are cleaved into di- and tri-peptides and used by the body as building blocks for proteins. It is thought that the availability of these protein peptides can maintain and increase collagen in the skin. These peptides might also increase hyaluronic acid production by skin fibroblasts, induce the migration of fibroblasts, promote stronger collagen fibrils, and increase water content of the stratum corneum.
Stem cells have been marketed as a promising treatment for cutaneous rejuvenation due to their potential for self-renewal and differentiation. In theory, they can heal injured tissue and stimulate growth factors for tissue remodeling.
In dermatology, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are most commonly used, which can consist of either fetal- or adult-associated cells. Adult-associated MSCs are more common, which can be derived from adipose tissue (ADSCs) or bone marrow. ADSCs are preferred due to their abundance and ease of isolation. Many available studies have examined the effects of media conditioned with stem cells, which contain various associated proteins and growth factors. They have also investigated the use of defensins, which can activate specific stem cells associated with hair follicles.
The availability of studies examining the use of human stem cells for cutaneous and aesthetic purposes is lacking. Early studies have begun to demonstrate promise regarding the efficacy of stem cells in skin rejuvenation, especially when combined with other treatment modalities, such as microneedling and laser therapy. However, it is too early to determine their exact role. More clinical data are needed in order to fully evaluate their effects and to develop standardized protocols. Importantly, our understanding of their short- and long-term safety remain limited. We do not yet possess a complete understanding of their cellular and molecular interactions as well as their dynamics with our skin. It is still unclear how they might affect neoplastic cells and tumorigenesis.
Collagen peptide supplementation might offer some level of benefit. Without harmful side effects, it is an appropriate strategy. Regarding stem cells, clinicians should continue to remain cautious before recommending such therapies or procedures. Much remains unknown, and there exists risks, which might outweigh potential benefits.
PRP might provide benefit without any additional significant adverse events (Source).