If you’ve struggled with acne scars, wrinkles or sun damage, you’ve probably heard of microneedling – the treatment which uses controlled micro-injuries to stimulate your skin’s natural healing process.
Perhaps you’ve also heard of microneedling with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) – popularly known as the “vampire facial.”
This treatment might look like something out of a horror movie – but it’s growing in popularity due to its endorsement by celebrities like Kim Kardashian. (Here’s a link to the Instagram post shown above.)
The vampire facial takes microneedling to the next level, using your own blood’s special healing cells to improve your skin tone and smooth out any imperfections. Let’s take a look at how it works…
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?
In this setting, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is derived from a small sample of your own blood. PPR is used because it contains a variety of growth factors and other beneficial proteins.
On the day of your treatment, a small sample of blood will be drawn and then spun in a centrifuge for roughly 15 minutes.
Centrifugation causes the various components of blood – including platelets – to separate by density. Your clinician will then extract the PRP in order to harness its powerful skin-healing effects.
How Does Microneedling with PRP Work?
After a small blood draw, your clinician will apply a topical anesthetic to your face. Then they’ll pass over it with a microneedling pen or derma-roller. These devices prick tiny holes in your skin, stimulating its natural healing processes – and creating channels for the PRP. In addition, the tiny breaks in the skin stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin which allows for facial rejuvenation by reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles and scars.
The microneedling portion of the procedure typically takes about 30 minutes – giving your clinician plenty of time to centrifugate that blood sample into PRP.
Next, your clinician will massage the PRP into the treated areas of the skin.. This helps the platelets and beneficial growth factors in PRP penetrate deep into your skin so they can work their rejuvenating magic.
Finally, your clinician will apply a balm to your face to reduce redness and irritation. The treatment usually takes less than two hours in total, and it has little to no downtime. Many patients return to work the next day.
What Skin Conditions Can Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treat?
Microneedling (with or without PRP) can improve a variety of skin conditions, including:
- Acne scars
- Age spots
- Sun damage
- Scarring caused by injuries such as burns
Even if you’re lucky enough not to have any of these issues, you may want to consider microneedling with PRP to improve your skin’s tone, texture and overall appearance.
The treatment is usually well-tolerated in adults, and has very few side effects other than minor irritation for a couple of days. For best results,patients should avoid direct sunlight and minimize their use of personal skin care products for the first few days of recovery.
In sum, microneedling with PRPis a powerful treatment for a variety of common skin concerns.