Platelet-rich plasma (aka PRP) treatments are increasingly becoming used for facial rejuvenation, treating acne scarring, and reversing hair loss. Thanks to Kim Kardashian West’s viral “Vampire Facial” moment, PRP moved into the collective consciousness. Still, there are a number of misconceptions doctors want to clear up. We asked these prominent experts for more info and what they want you to know about PRP.
“I wish patients knew that we aren’t just smearing their blood onto their face! We are using advanced technology to isolate platelets from the blood, which looks like a golden colored serum (not as exciting!). Platelet-rich plasma has a far higher concentration of platelets than typically found in our blood, and the concentration of platelets and growth factors are highly effective for skin rejuvenation,” says New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD.
“Platelet-rich plasma is a natural treatment that has been used by physicians for almost a dozen years, especially in sports medicine. We have found it to be particularly effective for facial rejuvenation and hair loss and have also combined it with other modalities for a synergistic effect,” explains Eagan, MN dermatologist Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD.
“I think it’s important to first understand that PRP uses in dermatology are used for multiple indications including for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, scars, acne scarring, melasma, and to improve the healing process and rejuvenate the skin with different resurfacing laser and microneedling procedures,” says New York dermatologist Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD.
“Before PRP, patients should avoid any platelet-inhibiting medications such as Aspirin 10 days before the treatment, as well as discontinuing supplements, medications, and lifestyle behaviors which can increase the risk of bruising such as the consumption of aspirin, ibuprofen, any platelet blocking medications (like Plavix), alcohol, Vitamin E, vitamin A, gingko, flax, cod liver oil, essential fatty acids, multivitamin, and fish oil. Since PRP requires drawing blood, it’s important to adequately hydrate and eat before coming for the procedure. For PRP injections to the scalp, we recommend washing the scalp prior to the procedure,” advises Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin.
“At our clinic, we use platelet-rich plasma both for facial rejuvenation and also to treat hair loss. For facial rejuvenation, we usually perform one treatment for the full face and four monthly treatments for the under the eyes. Patients usually see results after the first or second treatment,” says Dr. Crutchfield.
“The aim of this treatment is to generate an inflammatory response from the body causing it to react by releasing growth factors which reverse the miniaturization of hair and halt hair loss. As a result, a patient may experience some amount of hair shedding. The next-generation treatments of exosome and secretomes are exciting and what I personally use in my practice because they are anti-inflammatory which is healthier for the patient,” explains Beverly Hills hair restoration specialist Dr. Craig Ziering.
After a PRP Microneedling appointment, patients can expect to go home with red skin, looking like they have a sunburn. “For the next couple of days, the skin will be red, blotchy, slightly swollen, possibly mildly bruised, dry and flaky. Each day these side effects improve, and usually by day four the skin is fully healed and glowing. It is recommended to avoid applying cosmetics to the treatment area for 24 hours, and we advise patients to leave the PRP on the treatment area overnight. Until the area has completely healed, I recommend washing with a gentle cleanser and applying Epidermal Repair, a barrier repairing moisturizing cream that helps skin heal, and of course, protecting skin with a physical sunscreen,” says Dr. Russak.
“For the first 48 hours post scalp-treatment, patients cannot shampoo their hair or scalp, put product in their hair or exercise. Unfortunately, results vary based on multiple factors such as the type of centrifuge being used, the number of spins, the number of platelets and the concentration from the spin(s). Other variables include the depth of the injections and whether or not it is mixed with something else to assist results like human fat or Acell. Typically, results are seen in 3 to 6 months,” explains Dr. Ziering.