Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, widely referred to as the vampire facelift or vampire facials, is a natural, non-surgical procedure, used to reduce the signs of ageing, brighten the face and make patients look more youthful and hydrated. The use of a patient’s own blood is where the nicknames Dracula or vampire facelift come from.
PRP facials involve taking platelets from a patient’s own blood and injecting them back into the skin, in the areas where the patient wishes for rejuvenation to take place. These platelets are found naturally in the patient’s own blood and are used for topical cell regeneration, by taking advantage of their natural healing properties, in order to help restore the youthfulness and radiance that is lost as a result of the aging process.
Using no artificial materials at all, and instead making use of the body’s own natural components, the PRP facelift has quickly taken the cosmetic industry by storm, providing a non-invasive, quick and natural way to make patients feel younger for longer.
How does it work?
This revolutionary modern procedure is carried out by extracting a small amount of blood from the patient and placing it into a centrifuge, which spins the blood and separates it into three parts. Here, the platelet plasma will be harvested. Platelet plasma is desirable, since it is a component typically used to help treat skin injuries and burns. This component is then injected back into the patient’s skin, where it will rejuvenate, brighten and help reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Once the platelets are injected into the patient’s skin, they will work to release their growth factors, which are proteins found within the platelets. These growth factors play an essential part in helping to heal damaged or diminishing tissue. They stimulate the other cells surrounding the area injected into, helping to plump them up and increase in volume. One particular cell that is stimulated is called the pre-adipocyte cell. This cell type has the ability to transform into a fat cell, making it highly beneficial for this procedure, as it helps to fill out the lines in the face and contour the facial area.
Likewise, another particularly important cell that is stimulated as a result of the procedure is the fibroblast cell, which is responsible for the creation of collagen. Most of us are aware that collagen is the element that gives people a younger, fresher appearance, which is why we notice wrinkles and fine lines as we age, since we produce less of it as we get older. As such, treatments that help stimulate collagen, like the PRP therapy, are great for those who wish to achieve a younger, more rejuvenated appearance, no matter their age!
Who can benefit from PRP therapy?
PRP therapy is a cosmetic procedure that is used to help treat a number of problems, such as facial fine lines and wrinkles, dark circles, sun damage, acne scars, crow’s feet around the eye area, and the sagging or drooping of the skin. Though most commonly used on the face, PRP therapy is sometimes used to help improve the appearance of sagging or wrinkly skin on the hands, feet, knees and elbows.
Though becoming increasingly popular in recent times, the PRP procedure is not just carried out for cosmetic reasons. In fact, PRP therapy has, for much longer, been used to help with medical conditions, including osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel, sciatica, skin lesions, and injuries to the ligaments or muscles. More recently, it has been used to help treat hair loss. Because the platelets contain a significant amount of growth factors, which help heal damaged tissue or skin, it is ideal for helping with many different problems.
Once these platelets are re-injected into the problem areas, the growth factors will be released and will, in turn, stimulate the surrounding cells, urging them to repair, increase in volume and rejuvenate the skin.
How is the procedure carried out?
During the initial consultation, Daniel Ezra will go through your medical history, as well as discussing what you hope to achieve and what you wish the desired result to be. The risk and benefits will be outlined. If suitable for the procedure, he will talk you through what happens and you will read and sign a consent form which outlines the treatment, ensuring you understand what it entails, as well as any potential risks.
About 10-20 minutes prior to the procedure, 10-20ml of your blood will be taken. This is carried out in a similar way as to when you have a blood test at the doctors. Your extracted blood will then be spun in a centrifuge, in order to separate the red blood cells from the platelet plasma. The platelet plasma is then harvested for injection into the areas that need rejuvenation.
If having the procedure on the face, all make-up should be cleaned off and an antiseptic is applied to the area where the injection will take place. Normally, a topical local anaesthetic is applied to numb the area. Next, the platelet plasma is injected into the chosen areas several times, using a small needle.
Once finished, you may be given an ice pack to help reduce the swelling of the treatment areas. You can leave straight after the procedure, but be aware that the face will be quite red and tender afterwards.
PRP therapy is a minimally invasive treatment involving only topical anaesthetic, which means there is no down time and you can resume normal activities right away.
There are very few risks associated with this procedure, though some swelling, bruising and redness is common around the treatment areas. Skin may also be puffy and itchy, and the patients may find themselves a little sore or tender. This should all subside within a 48 hours.
It is important to follow the correct aftercare advice provided. Your doctor may recommend taking painkillers to help reduce any soreness or pain, as well as placing a cold compress on the areas to help minimise swelling.
When washing the face (or other treatment areas) in the days following the procedure, it is wise to be gentle and take extra care to prevent added pain or irritation.
Results and repeat treatments
The results of the vampire facelift is normally visible after several weeks, and it will keep working to generate and boost facial collagen for up to three months after. After this time, the collagen regeneration will have reached its limit, though many people continue to notice the affects for up to two years afterwards.
That being said, patients who notice best results are those who undergo two or three repeat “top-up” PRP treatments, with six weeks between them. This helps to maximise the effectiveness, particularly in older patients.