by Aimee Kvandal, NP
Have you ever heard people saying they recently had a “vampire facial” or they had facial treatments that used “liquid gold” and wondered what they were talking about? Thanks to celebrities and many social media influencers, this topic has skyrocketed with interest and for good reason! These marketing catch-phrases are referring to treatments utilizing Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP). Let’s poke around this subject a bit, shall we?
- What is PRP?
- What is Microneedling?
- Microneedling with PRP
- Benefits of Microneedling with PRP
- PRP Uses in Aesthetic Medicine
- PRP for Hair Restoration
- Who is a Candidate for Microneedling with PRP?
- What are the Risks of Microneedling with PRP?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is PRP?
The concept of using PRP to treat many medical, surgical, and dental conditions originated in hematology in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, PRP’s role in wound healing advanced to being used in other areas in medicine such as; orthopedics procedures, cardiac surgeries, sports injuries, plastic surgery, gynecology, urology and more recently in Aesthetics. PRP is comprised of concentrated platelets suspended in a solution of plasma. Platelets have a well-known biological role in wound and joint repair and PRP consists of various growth factors that perform their own diverse function in healing and restoration. PRP harnesses this remarkable, innate healing potential to target tissues and rejuvenate skin cells.
What is Microneedling?
Microneedling grew in popularity in 1995 when a dermatologist named Orentreich had great success using this technique on his patient’s facial scars and noticed that not only did the facial scars dissipate but the skin looked more rejuvenated. Microneedling is considered a medical procedure that is performed with a mechanical pen device, such as the FDA approved Dermapen, which we use in our practice. The Dermapen will make multiple needle punctures in the skin at controlled depths. The procedure causes your body to begin its own wound healing response and starts to produce natural elastin and collagen. Increasing collagen in the skin can diminish wrinkles, improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks, minimize pore size, and correct photo-damage.
Microneedling with PRP
Your provider will draw your blood just as it’s done at a lab. Once your blood is drawn into a vacuum tube, the tube will be placed in a centrifuge, which spins the tube at high speeds to separate all the components of your red blood cells. This results in the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) rising to the top of the tube. PRP has a yellow-to-clear appearance, hence the name “liquid gold.” The PRP is then collected and used with the Dermapen to penetrate the skin and deliver your PRP to the areas that are being treated. After the treatment, any remaining PRP is applied to the treated area to maximize the effectiveness and allowing your PRP to work from the outside in. This method helps to rejuvenate your treated area faster and speed up the healing process. You will notice a healthy and more radiant glow when you leave the office after your treatment.
Benefits of Microneedling with PRP
Multiple research journals, with some listed below, describe the amazing benefits of Microneedling with PRP vs Microneedling alone. Using PRP, which has the unique ability to target tissue and stimulate the skin cells to repair itself, actually happens at a faster rate resulting in seeing benefits sooner. Clients will benefit from a faster recovery period and see great results after the first treatment.
PRP Uses in Aesthetic Medicine
- PRP monotherapy can be used for healing atrophic acne scars
- PRP can be used in Periorbital rejuvenation to increase collagen and improve skin texture, decrease pigmentation and reduce the appearance of a “sunken” tear trough
- PRP facial injections can be used to improve skin texture and tone, along with decreasing wrinkles, fine lines and improving the firmness of the skin
- PRP can be used for skin tightening when the skin has been exposed to sun damage, toxin and loss of collagen commonly associated with aging
PRP for Hair Restoration
- PRP contains various growth factors that have been shown to work directly on the hair follicle bulge cells, promoting epidermal thickness, increased vascularity and a higher number of keratinocytes (the major cell type in the epidermis that provides strength to skin, nails and hair) to stimulate the hair growth cycle and protect new hair follicles.
- PRP also promotes hair growth by prolonging the natural hair growth cycle. This is achieved by injecting PRP directly to the scalp where the hair loss has occurred.
- PRP injections are typically administered over a three-month period but each schedule will also be tailored to the individual’s age, hormones, genetics and the amount of hair loss
Who is a Candidate for Microneedling with PRP?
Microneedling with PRP may not be suitable for clients who:
- Have clotting or bleeding disorders like hemophilia
- Are immune deficient or immune-suppressed
- Have uncontrolled diabetes
- Take anticoagulant (blood thinner) medications
- Have an active skin infection
- Have an infection like hepatitis or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Have or had eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, or auto-immune disease
- Have an active rash on the face
- Have a current outbreak of herpes (cold sores)
- Are currently taking or have taken isotretinoin (Accutane) in the last six months
- Have actinic (solar) keratoses, keloid scars (or a history of keloid scars), warts, birthmarks, or moles in the treatment area
- Have cancer or are undergoing or plan to undergo chemotherapy, radiation, or steroid treatment
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are allergic to stainless steel or to topical or local anesthetics or have a history of contact dermatitis to these products
What are the Risks of Microneedling with PRP?
Common side effects include:
- Rough skin
Less common side effects include:
- Pigmentation changes (increase in pigment (hyperpigmentation) or loss of pigment (hypopigmentation)
- Lines on the face
- Reactivation of herpes cold sores
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Stinging or itching when cosmetic products are applied
Frequently Asked Questions
How many treatments will I need?
The exact amount depends on your unique facial attributes and anatomy. Generally, patients can see improvement after the first treatment and we recommend continuing Microneedling with PRP quarterly for best results.
How long is the recovery process?
After your treatment you will notice redness, slight irritation and slight bleeding. Your provider will go over with you the after-treatment skin instructions and give you products to use for the next few days. Over the next 48 hours as your skin continues to heal you may notice some of the common risk factors noted above but many clients report only a slight skin tightness and very minimum redness the following day. Remember your skin is still healing after the treatment, so it will be important to not wear makeup for 24 hours after the treatment to avoid possible skin infection to the area. Exercise after the treatment is discouraged since the pores are open and sweat will further irritate the skin. Exercise should be resumed after 48 hours.
Can I get BOTOX® Treatments with PRP/Microneedling?
BOTOX treatments can safely be administered either a day before or 2 days after Microneedling with PRP. We don’t recommend same day BOTOX treatment.
Can I get Filler Treatments with PRP/Microneedling?
Filler treatments can safely be administered 4 weeks before treatment or 1 week after Microneedling with PRP.
Learn More About Microneedling with PRP
If you have questions about Micro-needling with PRP, please contact us today. We’d be happy to discuss details of Microneedling with PRP over the phone or schedule a personal consultation where you’ll receive a treatment plan customized just for you.
Center for Devices and Radiological Health. (n.d.). Microneedling devices. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved May 15, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/medical devices/aesthetic-cosmetic-devices/microneedling-devices
Combined autologous platelet‐rich plasma with microneedling vs microneedling with distilled water in the treatment of atrophic acne scars: a concurrent split‐face study | Wiley Online Library
Gupta S, Paliczak A, Delgado D. Evidence-based indications of platelet-rich plasma therapy. Expert Rev Hematol. 2021 Jan;14(1):97-108. doi: 10.1080/17474086.2021.1860002. Epub 2020 Dec 17. PMID: 33275468.
Nanda, S., Chauhan, K., Shetty, V., Dashore, S., & Bhatia, S. (2021). Platelet-Rich Plasma in Aesthetics. Indian dermatology online journal, 12(Suppl 1), S41–S54. https://doi.org/10.4103/idoj.idoj_290_21
Paichitrojjana, A., & Paichitrojjana, A. (2022). Platelet Rich Plasma and Its Use in Hair Regrowth: A Review. Drug design, development and therapy, 16, 635–645. https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S356858
Reksodiputro MH, Harahap AR, Setiawan L, Yosia M. A Modified Preparation Method of Ideal Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix From Whole Blood. Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 Aug 13;8:724488. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.724488. PMID: 34485352; PMCID: PMC8414516.
Sclafani AP, Azzi J. Platelet Preparations for Use in Facial Rejuvenation and Wound Healing: A Critical Review of Current Literature. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2015 Aug;39(4):495-505. doi: 10.1007/s00266-015-0504-x. Epub 2015 Jun 5. PMID: 26044392.
Split Face Comparative Study of Microneedling with PRP Versus Microneedling with Vitamin C in Treating Atrophic Post Acne Scars | PubMed