Platelet-Rich Plasma ("Vampire") Facial

Introduction

Skin.  We are covered in it and we want it to look good.  It is also our first line of defense against pathogens so we want it to be strong.  When we are young strength and smooth appearance are not a challenge. However, over time as we age the skin looses elasticity, collagen, extracelluar matrix which cause thinning, fine lines, wrinkles, changes in color, and tone.  The loss of these substances also weakens the barrier effect of the skin.  While we are supposed to age and grow old most of us want to do so gracefully while retaining our youthful appearance as long as possible.  In steps Platelet-rich Plasma and the "vampire" facial.

What is Platelet-rich Plasma?

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a non-operative treatment for patients seeking to improve tissue healing.  Originally, PRP was used for closing surgical wounds. For many years it has been used with success for healing joint injuries previously thought only to be repaired with surgery.  Most recently, PRP is being used to improve skin texture, tone and appearance.  Derived from the patients own blood, PRP, is rich with growth factors that regulate cell migration, proliferation, remodeling of the extra cellular matrix and promote wound healing(1). By putting the PRP at the desired site (in this case, the face, neck, décolleté, hair, back of hands, old scars) the growth factors will call into action a process of repairing, rebuilding and healing the area.    

What is a "vampire" facial?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for skin is excellent for a variety of conditions.  A "vampire" facial is a non-operative skin treatment using PRP (blood) on the face, neck, décolleté and back of hands to decrease appearance of wrinkles, improve elasticity, tone and texture, reduce pore size and fine lines, increase vitality and brightness of the skin (2). People with acne scarring can improve the discoloration and depth of scarring.  When used on larger scars it can soften and smooth the scar allowing for more flexibility of tissue.  Patients experiencing hair loss or hair thinning can have PRP treatment on the scalp to stop thinning or regrow hair(3,4). Using PRP in conjunction with lifestyle modifications patients will see the greatest improvement.

What Will the Treatment Be Like?

At your visit for PRP you will have a small amount of blood drawn which will then be prepared in the lab.  Once prepared, the physician will inject the PRP just under the skin throughout the face/scalp/neck using very small needle.  The procedure takes about 1 hour and you will be able to return to your day once complete.  You may have some redness and feelings of fullness in the face.  This is normal and will resolve within 1-3 days.  Please do not apply anything to the skin after the treatment until the following day.  Wear an organic, mineral based sunscreen or keep the area covered to protect the skin. You may notice skin improvement within 48 hours and your skin with continue to improve over the following 6 weeks.  It is recommended to have a series of 3 treatments 6-8 weeks apart for the most optimal results.

Is it safe?

PRP is extremely safe.  It is derived from the patient’s own blood.  Therefore, the body will recognize the solution reducing the risk of complications.  There is no down time for a PRP procedure and patients can return to life/work immediately. Adverse effects are mild bruising at site of blood draw or at injection sites, mild redness, itching, sensation of fullness in face.  All of these adverse effects are limiting to 1-3 days and most resolve within 24hours.

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5539389/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28382785
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29707872
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5539389/