PRP is short for platelet rich plasma. PRP is obtained from your own blood that is drawn at the office at the time of procedure. The PRP or platelet rich plasma part is obtained by spinning the blood to separate the plasma from the red blood cells and white blood cells. Additional separation yields platelet rich plasma from platelet poor plasma. This part of the blood draw – the platelet rich plasma – contains platelets and plasma which has numerous growth factors that work in the body to stimulate and enhance repair and growth after an injury.
In cosmetic procedures, this growth factor rich product is used to help stimulate collagen and elastin renewal in the skin and to stimulate hair growth in the scalp.
PRP for skin treatments:
PRP is used alone or in combination with cosmetic procedures to enhance the outcome of the procedure – to increase collagen and skin renewal so that better results are achieved with wrinkles, sun damage and scars. PRP can be injected into the skin but at Charlotte Skin and Laser, we prefer to use PRP in combination with a microneedling or micro-fractional laser treatment like eCO2 (fractional ablative CO2 laser) or Viva (micro-fractional radiofrequency treatment).
The technique is to do the laser, energy or needling procedure first and then apply the PRP to the treated surface. The micro-holes created in the skin from the procedure allow the PRP to penetrate into the skin. When used in skin procedures, we prefer to apply an additional step when obtaining the PRP that makes the PRP form a gel like substance called platelet rich fibrin matrix or PRFM (Selphyl system). This creates a thicker product that is easier to use on the skin surface and that stays in place longer.
PRP for alopecia or hair loss:
PRP is also used to stimulate hair growth. Declines in density of hair occur naturally with age but hair loss can be accelerated by certain medical conditions, scalp conditions, and after periods of stress, illness, weight loss, pregnancy or other events. PRP is one tool that can be used to stimulate hair growth no matter the cause.
A series of 3-4 injections into the hair loss area are recommended at monthly intervals. More injections may be recommended for more severe hair loss. The PRP injections will be combined with other treatments for optimal results. The injections cause mild to minimal discomfort, and the injected area may be sore for a day or two, but no other side effects are expected.
Maintenance of PRP is recommended on a 9-12 months basis. Unfortunately, not everyone responds as well to PRP and some may not experience significant hair growth. There is no way currently to predict who will respond well and who will not. The non-responders or minimal responders are a minority.
In conclusion, PRP is changing the way we approach the treatment of aging skin, acne scars and hair loss. We are excited to be at the forefront of this exciting new technique that uses your own growth factors for renewal.