Platelet-Rich Plasma Facial ("PRP Facial")
What is a PRP Facial aka “Vampire Facial”®?
Before understanding what a PRP Facial is all about, it’s important to start with an explanation of PRP. PRP is a concentrated collection of platelets which is one of the components of blood. Platelets contain various growth factors that are important for cell regeneration and are extremely beneficial to the skin since among its many functions, it can stimulate the production of new collagen and strengthen elastin fibers.
PRP is obtained by taking a small amount of one’s own blood and spinning it down in a special centrifuge machine to separate out the red blood cells and concentrating the platelets.
The best time to deliver PRP to the skin is after a microneedling device is used on the skin. Microneedling devices create a controlled skin injury trauma in the form of tiny puncture wounds into the skin surface. As a result of this injury, the skin begins to protect and repair itself by thickening and producing more collagen. By applying PRP to the skin during the repair phase, allows platelets with all of its important growth factors to come to the rescue. In addition, these tiny puncture wounds allow a deeper penetration of the PRP to really speed up the healing of the tissue. At Trilogy Health, Dr. Ellyn Levine uses a motorized microneedling pen-like device equipped with super-tiny needles for her PRP Facial procedures.
It is this combination of PRP with microneedling that is known as the PRP Facial, or Vampire Facial®. The Vampire Facial® became famous after Kim Kardashian shared her bloody faced selfie on social media after undergoing this microneedling pen procedure using her own PRP.
What are the benefits of a PRP Facial?
The combination of PRP and microneedling creates new collagen and strengthening elastin fibers which can lead to:
- Decreased fine lines and wrinkles
- Improved skin texture and improved appearance of aging and sun-damaged skin
- Reduced pore size
- Improved appearance of surgical and acne scars
- Improved appearance of stretch marks
- Good option to reduce under eye bags
- Increased skin smoothness and hydration
- Low risk of hyperpigmentation, scarring or infection
- Safe for dark skin tones
- Suitable for thin and sensitive skin types
- Virtually no downtime even after the deepest of microneedling treatments.
Although most commonly used on the face, microneedling with PRP can be performed anywhere on the body where skin improvement is desired and can also be used on the scalp to encourage hair growth.
How is the PRP facial procedure done?
Before the start of a treatment, the skin is thoroughly cleaned. A professional strength numbing cream is then applied to the patient’s skin treatment area for at least 30 minutes. Shortly before the procedure is to begin, a blood sample is collected from the patient and PRP is prepared.
Dr. Ellyn Levine will then start the microneedling pen procedure and will adjust the depth and length of the needles to customize the skin treatment to meet each patient’s unique goals. The microneedling pen doesn’t inject anything into the skin, it only serves to “needle” the skin. Each area will be repeatedly needled and one’s PRP is placed before and after each pass to ensure distribution to the treatment area.
Vitamin C serum is usually used after the procedure to re-hydrate, heal, and protect the skin.
Does the microneedling process hurt?
Most will experience minimal to no discomfort.
What should I expect after my PRP Facial?
Despite some possible redness and swelling, your skin may look tighter and more refreshed immediately after your treatment.
- Pinpoint bleeding, puncture scabs, bruising, redness, dryness and swelling are the most common side effects and if occurs, often resolves within days following the treatment.
- Pain following the treatment is uncommon and often only temporary and easily controlled with over-the-counter medications.
What can I do or not do after my PRP Facial?
- Avoid sun exposure for at least 72 hours following the treatment. Make sure to always use a physical sunscreen such as Elta MD® with an SPF of 30 or higher when exposed to the sun.
- Avoid strenuous or vigorous exercise for at least 24 hours after your treatment. Sweat often contains harmful bacteria that could lead to adverse reactions or poor results.
- Creams containing retinols, topical antibiotics, hydroquinone, Benzoyl Peroxide and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) should not be used for 1 week after the treatment.
- You may gently wash your skin, without too much pressure, after 3 hours with lukewarm water to remove any serum and other debris from your skin.
- Avoid makeup for the first 24 hours after your treatment as it can increase the risk of infection. Furthermore, don’t apply any makeup with a brush during your recovery since dirty brushes may introduce bacteria.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water and consider using a cream or serum with hyaluronic acid to help restore and lock in moisture.
How should I prepare for a PRP Facial?
- Stay hydrated. Drinking a lot of water ensures your skin heals quickly.
- Avoid using harsh creams or lotions with retinoids, topical antibiotics, hydroquinone, benzoyl peroxide and AHA’s for at least three days before your treatment. This will help to ensure that your skin will be in its best shape to handle the treatment, as well as recover from it.
How often should I get a PRP Facial?
For collagen stimulation, it’s usually recommended that you start with 3 treatments, separated by a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks for optimal results.
For reducing the appearance of scars, an average of 3 to 6 treatments is suggested, separated by a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks.
Ultimately, exactly how many treatments and how long they will take will depend on how your skin responds to the procedure. You’ll likely see some improvement even after just one session, but only by completing a full treatment cycle will you achieve your full goals.
How effective is a PRP Facial?
Skin should start to increase its collagen production after 2-3 days after your procedure. However, most won’t see noticeable results for at least 1 to 4 weeks after their first treatment and can even take as long as 2 months to appear. The new collagen that is produced can remain for a few years.
Can the PRP Facial be combined with other procedures?
Definitely! PRP Facial is a minimally invasive treatment combinable with any number of cosmetic procedures such as cosmetic injections, chemical peels, laser facials or even radiofrequency microneedling.
What is the difference between a Microneedling Pen device and Radiofrequency Microneedling (“RF Microneedling”) device ?
A microneedling pen uses a motorized device to deliver tiny needles into the skin to create controlled punctate wounds in the skin without the use of any heat energy. RF Microneedling is also a motorized device that delivers tiny needles into the skin to create controlled punctate wounds in the skin but it does this using specially insulated needles to deliver high-intensity radiofrequency energy into the skin treatment area. This gives a uniform warming effect to the deep tissue, which helps to stimulate new collagen fibers to grow, leading to a robust and significant improvement to skin quality and texture than can be achieved with a microneedling pen. This treatment is also frequently combined with PRP to enhance the results. You can learn more by going to our Radiofrequency microneedling page.
What are the possible risks of PRP?
PRP is considered a low risk treatment since it uses a patient’s own blood for treatment. No serious complications have been reported related to PRP.
Who should not get a PRP Facial?
- Anyone with active cancer or not in remission for at least 5 years
- Anyone with a current infection
- Anyone on Coumadin or other blood thinners
- Patients with multiple medical issues may not be good candidates
How much does the PRP Facial cost?
Dr. Ellyn Levine at Trilogy Health will discuss pricing during your risk free consultation but first she will take a detailed medical history to make sure you are a good candidate for this treatment.
Dr. Ellyn Levine of Trilogy Health in San Diego, is committed to finding the best cosmetic treatments for her patients.
Why should you do it?
If you’re interested in a natural way to rejuvenate your skin, PRP facials are incredible! Simply contact Trilogy Health in San Diego and set up your free consultation with Dr. Ellyn Levine.