Everything You Need To Know About PRP

Everything You Need To Know About PRP featured image
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Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there are a few goals that everyone has in common. Who doesn’t want smoother, younger-looking skin and thicker, fuller hair? While there are many ways to try to get those results, PRP truly delivers on both. 

That explains why it’s gaining more popularity than ever. To get the full scoop on PRP, including what it is, what to expect, and aftercare, we turned to two pros. Read on for answers to all of your burning PRP questions. 

  • Dr. Deborah Longwill is a board-certified dermatologist in Miami, FL
  • Anthony Youn, MD is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Troy, MI

What is PRP?

“PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma,” explains Miami, FL dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill. “It is a treatment that uses a patient’s own platelets to promote skin rejuvenation and hair growth. It is also used to heal tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. The process involves drawing a small amount of blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, and then injecting the PRP into the desired area.”

Blood is drawn from the arm or hand, spun down, and the plasma removed, explains Troy, MI, plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD. “The plasma is chock full of growth factors and platelets,” he says. “The growth factors in PRP are believed to exert rejuvenating effects on the body part they are injected into.”

The benefits of PRP are many, including skin rejuvenation, hair-growth stimulation, hair thickness and density, improved hair health, wrinkle reduction, scar improvement, skin tone and texture, and sun damage repair, all with natural results, according to Dr. Longwill. 

How much does PRP cost?

“Cost can vary from $500 to $1,000 as an add-on to a treatment, such as microneedling,” says Dr. Youn. “It can also be injected as a standalone treatment—such as for injecting the scalp to thicken hair. This can cost considerably more, depending on how much PRP is used.” The cost also varies according to the area and treatments needed.

What should you do to prep for PRP pre-treatment?

“It’s probably helpful to be well-hydrated so the person drawing your blood won’t have any problems with the blood draw,” says Dr. Youn. In addition, Dr. Longwill recommends avoiding blood thinners and sun exposure, following a normal and sensitive skin-care routine, and arriving for the procedure with clean skin. 

How long does PRP take?

It’s helpful to know what to expect during PRP treatment. Typically, the procedure lasts 30 minutes to an hour. “It depends on what the treatment is for,” Dr. Youn says. “PRP can be applied topically over the skin after microneedling, or it can be injected into areas to exert a rejuvenating effect. The process of drawing the blood and spinning it down can take as little as 15 minutes.”

According to Dr. Longwill, during preparation, the medical team will clean the treatment area and apply a topical numbing cream to minimize discomfort. Next, they will draw blood, and then centrifugation will take place, which is when the blood sample is placed in a centrifuge machine, which then spins at high speeds to separate the platelets from other components of the blood. Next comes the isolation of PRP, when the platelet-rich plasma is isolated and prepared for injection or application. Finally, the PRP is either injected directly into the area using a fine needle or applied topically after a microneedling procedure.

What are the side effects of PRP?

“There are very few side effects since it’s your own blood components,” Dr. Youn says. “You can get a bruise at the blood draw site. If needles are used, you can risk a bruise from the needle used to inject it.” Keep in mind there are additional potential side effects, including bruising, scalp irritation, and a small risk of infection and pain or discomfort, including temporary pain or swelling, according to Dr. Longwill.

What does PRP aftercare look like?

After PRP, Dr. Longill advises avoiding swimming, strenuous activity, sun exposure, and touching and washing the area. Be sure to stay hydrated and use gentle hair care. Receiving follow-up care is also important. “Your healthcare provider will provide you with instructions for post-treatment care, which may include avoiding certain activities or products and keeping the area clean and protected,” she adds.

How long do PRP injections last?

“It depends on the individual, the area treated, and the condition being addressed,” Dr. Longwill says. “The injections are not permanent but can last for several months to a year.” Dr. Youn says though the results vary, depending on the procedure, you are probably looking at them lasting for three to six months.

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