The Wrinkle Treatment Trends and Truths
With so many different treatments for wrinkles available, it’s hard to distinguish truth from trend. In many cases, these treatments are a means to the same end and it is simply a matter of choosing the best option for your budget and lifestyle. One specific treatment that has gained much popularity recently (due to an Instagram post by Kim Kardashian) is the PRP facial treatment or the blood facial.
PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma which is a composition of your own blood. So, in essence, this treatment is an all-natural way to address wrinkles, stimulate collagen and tighten the skin. Since PRP is made from your own blood, there are minimal side effects and absolutely no risk of allergic reaction. It is sometimes referred to by other names such as the Vampire Facial or Dracula Therapy, all of which sound quite sinister. In fact, Kim K’s Instagram photo exaggerated the notion of a blood drenched, torturous beauty treatment. The procedure itself is not so scary and also very effective.
PRP injections are not all that new to the medical world. Doctors have been using them for years to help athletes recover from sports related injuries, such as tendon damage. Platelet rich plasma has been shown to cause the release of growth factors which stimulate the treated area to produce collagen and other components of skin. It also stimulates the regeneration and synthesis of blood vessels, fat, muscles cells and bone. It’s no surprise that this treatment quickly gained attention from the beauty industry.
PRP therapy can be used in several ways. Topical application of the platelet rich plasma solution is typically preceded by a process called micro-needling, where a specialized device uses a series of small quickly moving needles to create thousands of micro-channels or holes in the upper layers of skin. Micro-needling stimulates collagen formulation resulting in a thickening of the upper layers of skin, smoothing fine lines and shrinking pores. When the platelet rich plasma is applied after micro-needling, the growth factors penetrate into the deeper layers of skin, enhancing the effects of collagen growth and cell turnover. To really super charge this treatment, the practitioner can also add PRP injections to specific areas of concern, such as in deeper wrinkles or acne scars. A PRP facial with micro-needling and injections provides skin with a beautiful, youthful glow, smaller pores, tightening and overall radiance.
Healing Properties of PRP
Due to the healing properties of PRP, there is minimal downtime with this procedure. Patients can expect mild swelling and redness for a couple days. There is some mild pain during the micro-needling portion of the treatment, but this can be eliminated with topical numbing cream applied at least 30 minutes beforehand. Optimal results are achieved in 2-5 sessions spaced 6-8 weeks apart. The ideal candidate is one who suffers from acne scarring, large pores, wrinkles or loose skin. It is also a great option for those not keen on the idea of synthetic products or fillers, but still interested in improving the appearance of skin.
PRP is also being effectively used for hair growth. The follicle from which each hair arises depends on the surrounding blood vessels to supply nutrients and growth factors. As some people age, these blood vessels become less effective in providing the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle, causing it to shrink and stop producing hair. Studies have shown that improving the blood supply to the follicles improves the health and functioning of the follicle. The growth factor supplied by the treatment stimulates new blood vessel growth which in turn promotes hair growth, as well as increasing the follicle and hair size. Most patients report a thicker, fuller head of hair after 2–3 treatments.
In the following video, Dr Cohen is demonstrating a Los Angeles PRP facial with micro-needling and injections on our esthetician, Malia. Prior to filming, 10 cc’s of blood is drawn from Malia’s arm and processed on site to produce the PRP solution. In order to alleviate pain, numbing cream was applied 30 minutes before the treatment. Dr Cohen begins by micro-needling her entire face. Once complete, he injects the PRP directly into the areas where Malia is most concerned. He finishes the procedure by massaging the PRP solution directly onto the skin and going over the problem areas a second time with the micro-needling device. Malia was back to work in 2 days, with minimal side effects. The after photo was taken 5 days post treatment. It’s easy to see why this has become so popular after looking at Malia’s glowing and radiant skintone.