By Lisa Profera MD
Confused by all of the claims made by various skin rejuvenation systems? Afraid of toxins found in many skincare products on the market? Not sure what is best for your needs? Well, you have many choices, one of which is to use your own plasma for a more natural path toward a better complexion.
PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, refers to the layer of plasma (extracted from the patient’s own blood) which contains platelets, stem cells, growth factors, and collagen. PRP is like “liquid gold” for your skin. It can be used on the surface as well as injected into the deeper layers to achieve amazing rejuvenation results inside and out.
Microneedling is a facial procedure done with a sterile device that produces micropunctures into the skin surface (after your face has been numbed). This triggers the tissue to produce new collagen and elastin by 300%. This technique will enhance the anti-aging effects of topical PRP application even further. Deep injections of PRP can increase your collagen up to 800%. This can be used in conjunction with or instead of hyaluronic acid fillers. It can reduce the appearance of stubborn wrinkles and lines while smoothing acne scars and other imperfections.
When done correctly, microneedling with PRP can be a safe and highly effective means of restoring your skin. There are a few techniques out there; don’t be afraid of images you might find on the internet. When someone has had a “Vampire Facial” and appears bloodied-up, know that this is wrong. Microneedling, when done correctly, should not be that traumatic. Your face may be a little red and feel tight for a few days, just like after a mild sunburn. You can go to work and even wear make-up the next day.
I prefer to use the FDA-approved Eclipse system for microneedling with PRP. The patient’s blood is drawn at the time of service and is spun in a specially calibrated centrifuge in tubes designed to carefully separate out the red and white blood cells from the golden plasma. A microneedling pen creates very small punctures that allow the PRP to seep into the epidermis. I am also able to customize the depth according to the patient’s needs and tolerance level. This minor trauma to the skin, in conjunction with the activated platelets and 30+ growth factors found in the plasma, triggers fibroblasts to lay down new collagen and elastin, thus restoring structure that has been lost due to the aging process. As we age, we lose collagen and elastin, and we also have less capillaries and blood flow to the skin’s surface. Our skin not only becomes thinner and looser, but our complexion becomes grayer and duller over time. Our own plasma contains endothelial growth factors, which trigger neovascularization. New capillary formation can increase luminosity of the skin, just as we see with a child’s rosy complexion or the glow of a pregnant woman.
The numerous growth factors released by the activated platelets include PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor), FGF (fibroblast growth factor), EGF (epidermal growth factor), KGF (keratinocyte growth factor), VEGF (vascular endothelial cell growth factor), TGF-B (transforming growth factor beta) and over 20 more. You are most certainly not going to find all of this in any skincare product! These growth factors stimulate new skin and blood vessels while enhancing tissue repair and wound healing.
There is little downtime for this procedure, and because it is your own blood product, there is no risk of allergic reaction. Your skin makes new collagen, elastin, and blood vessels, and your cells are re-vitalized naturally over the next 3 months, creating a youthful glow. Skin texture becomes smoother and firmer. Wrinkles, scars and pores are diminished as well. Depending upon the desired result, 3-6 treatments may be recommended, each spaced 3-4 months apart. Enhanced appearance may last up to 18 months. Once the desired effect is achieved, I recommend maintenance treatments once or twice a year.
As with many other things, the skill of the person performing the technique, the quality of the equipment, and the guaranteed sterility of the needles is very important. There are some systems out there that do not adequately separate out the cells, which may lead to more inflammation and less optimal healing. There are also products out there that are not necessarily guaranteed to be sterile. This increases the risk of infection. The smart consumer should do her research.
When done correctly, microneedling with PRP can be a safe and highly effective means of “making-over” your skin. Using your own plasma to rejuvenate your skin is cutting-edge technology that provides a compelling alternative to chemical peels and synthetic products. By rebuilding your skin matrix and increasing the number of capillaries in your skin, people will notice your new youthful GLOW!
Lisa Profera MD | Owner and Founder of PROJUVU MD Aesthetics and Lifestyle Medicine
Originally from New York, Dr. Profera received both a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and an MD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. After completing residency at the University of Michigan, she worked as a primary care pediatrician in Ann Arbor for twenty-three years. She is passionate about integrating the best practices of Aesthetics and Rejuvenative Medicine to help patients look better and feel better. She believes in “projuvenation”; being proactive about rejuvenation and defying the aging process both inside and out. Dr. Profera and her husband live in downtown Ann Arbor and they have two daughters in college. Projuvu on Facebook
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