What is PRP treatment?
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment has become a buzzword in the aesthetic industry, yet is something that may not be properly understood by many patients. Perhaps that’s because it’s often, confusingly, known as the ‘vampire’ or ‘Dracula’ treatment.
Correctly prepared and used, PRP treatment is anything but the gruesome images suggested by the ‘vampire’ description.
PRP harnesses the power of your own body to rejuvenate and revitalise your skin. It does involve using your blood, but only a very small amount. That tiny amount (about 11ml) is removed and processed to separate out the part containing the platelet-rich plasma (the PRP), which is injected into the skin of the treatment area.
There is no other treatment like PRP. It is natural, effective, and affordable, and it gives amazing, long-lasting results.
How does PRP work?
Your blood consists of red blood cells, platelets and plasma.
The plasma is rich in antibodies, enzymes and proteins.
These proteins contain the growth factors responsible for healing wounds and regenerating new tissue.
PRP makes use of the proteins’ growth factors to repair and rejuvenate your skin, helping to reverse the thinning of the skin that happens as we get older.
The quality of the plasma being injected largely depends on the way it is harvested – in other words, the device or system used to extract it from the blood.
What happens during the PRP procedure?
For your PRP treatment, the treatment areas and the precise quantity of PRP needed will be defined by your treatment plan (which we prepare with you in your consultation for the procedure).
We start by drawing a small amount of blood (11ml) from your arm, in the same way that a blood sample is taken at the doctors, which we put into a specially-prepared test tube.
The test tube is placed in a centrifuge that spins at a precise speed for 10 minutes to separate the red blood cells from the plasma.
We then inject the plasma, with its concentration of platelets, into the defined treatment areas.
This usually takes 10 to 15 minutes and involves a series of tiny injections under the skin with a very fine needle to minimise any discomfort.
We can also use an anaesthetic cream or injections to further minimise the possibility of pain or discomfort during the procedure.
More frequently asked questions about PRP
How should I prepare for PRP?
Remember the saying ‘You are what you eat’?
This is true for the make-up of your blood: what you eat and drink can be detected in your blood.
So, to get the best from your treatment, we recommend that you start by improving the antioxidants in your diet.
Foods rich in antioxidants include goji berries, nuts, cranberries, blueberries, kale, grapes (red or purple) and olives.
You can also take an antioxidant-rich supplement, to further increase your body’s ability to repair itself.
As well as this, we advise that you
– avoid taking any aspirin, Ibuprofen or any other NSAIDs for 2 days before PRP treatment – to minimize bruising – unless you need to take aspirin for blood thinning purposes (in which case, you should continue to use as prescribed)
– do not drink alcohol the night before your treatment
– do not smoke: smoking makes it more likely that you will have disappointing results from your treatment.
What are the risks of PRP?
There are few, if any, risks associated with PRP, because the treatment only uses your own blood.
The main potential for an adverse reaction to the treatment is from the injection.
Depending on how you react to the needle, you may have some slight pain, bruising or bleeding at the injection site for a short while.
More serious risks from inflammation, scarring or infection may occur, if the treated skin is not kept scrupulously clean. Some patients may experience increased or decreased skin pigmentation.
However, during your consultation for the treatment and before you sign the consent form, we will explain in detail all the specific risks of PRP for particular skin areas.
How many sessions of PRP will I need?
You should see some improvements in your skin after your first PRP treatment. The best results, though, will be in the following 6 to 12 months.
Depending on how your skin responds to the initial treatment, we may recommend further treatment after 1 or 2 months.
After your PRP treatment
Immediately after the treatment session, you may notice small pinpricks in your skin where we injected the needle.
Any tingling sensation in the treatment area after the procedure is normal, and should dissipate after a few hours.
You may also have some slight swelling and redness at the injection site, for several hours.
We recommend that, after PRP treatment, you:
– do not wash your face for 4 hours
– do not apply makeup or moisturiser for 24 hours.