PRP: A road map to the fountain of youth?

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YOU may have heard of PRP treatment, but what exactly is it?

PRP, which stands for platelet-rich plasma, is used to describe plasma containing platelet concentrations higher than those normally found circulating in your blood.

It is obtained and prepared from your blood in a centrifugation process, during which the different components of whole blood are separated. The blood in the tube separates into three layers: red blood cells, platelet-poor plasma, and the layer of interest, PRP.

How PRP works has to do with the many growth factors that are well known to have a role in the process of tissue repair, and the activation as well as rejuvenation of cells in your body.

Historically, PRP has been used for a variety of indications with effective results. In 1975 it was linked to corneal surgery. Over the last several years it has been incorporated as an effective treatment for gum regeneration, improvements in bone fracture healing and, in some cases, hair restoration.

Acne scarring is a permanent, disfiguring sequel with which PRP can also assist. Any type of scarring may cause depression, low self-esteem and some cosmetic discomfort. Face and neck rejuvenation, as well as scar (atrophic acne, traumatic, surgical) attenuation with PRP is a promising technique.

PRP works optimally when combined with another technique referred to as microneedling. Microneedling creates controlled epidermal and dermal microwounds to stimulate skin wound healing via the stimulation collagen remodelling. PRP contains autologous growth factors which act synergistically with growth factors induced by skin microneedling. This combination has been used in the treatment of wrinkles, scars, skin discolouration, and for stretch marks, which are best treated soon after noticing.

Research presented at the World Congress of Dermatology in Italy in June 2019 revealed that the scars of all the participants improved at least 50 per cent after an average of two and a half treatments. Over 80 per cent of the patients had 50 to 75 per cent improvement, and 65 per cent of patients demonstrated over 75 per cent improvement.

Progressive clinical improvement was observed with each successive treatment, according to the research. The full clinical effect may take several months to be realised, as new collagen deposition takes place gradually. The length of time that results last for varies, as it may take up to 18 months after the desired effect is achieved.

Unlike with laser treatments, there is no thermal injury to the skin with microneedling. This reduces the risk of post-inflammatory dyspigmentation, an advantage when patients with darker skin phototypes are seeking treatment.

Side effects are limited to transient redness and swelling for an average of three to seven days. Additionally, there can be secondary infections which may be prevented with proper precautions. There is no risk of rejection or an allergic reaction as the constituents are made from your blood.

The fountain of youth resides within you — in your blood. You can harness this natural approach to assist you with having more confidence in your skin.

PRP repairs more effectively, provided there is something to repair. Those not in need of repair may use the treatment as an anti-ageing prophylactic measure. There’s an indescribable feeling when you are assured in your appearance, which can translate positively to other areas of your life.

Dr Gabriella Diaz is a medical aesthetics doctor and registered dietitian who is the director at Finesse Nutrition and Esthetics (FINE) at 129 Pro, 129 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6. She can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected] and 876-522-8297.

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