“Vampire facials” are everywhere on social media, from celebrities to influencers.
The idea of using blood to help you look younger may sound straight out of a horror movie, but the actual science behind it might surprise you!
Considering using microneedling with PRP to help achieve your skin goals? Skin Pharm wants you to have all of the information you’ll need to decide whether this treatment is right for you. In fact, it’s far less scary than it sounds.
What is microneedling?
Behind the idea of microneedling with PRP is the overall concept of microneedling on its own. It isn’t a new idea, either. Microneedling, as we know it started in 1995, but some records show its use all the way back to 1905 (although the tools and process have evolved since then).
It has been the subject of numerous studies for conditions and symptoms, including hypertrophic scars, acne vulgaris, skin rejuvenation and melasma.
The process of microneedling is done using tiny, sterilized needles. While people are more familiar with the traditional rollers, the technology has changed and we now have pen options. These pens allow for customization in the puncture depth and can be used on even smaller, more specific areas than rollers can.
The basic premise of why microneedling works come down to the reaction that those tiny needles can create. Although we know that we’re puncturing the skin on purpose, the body doesn’t. That means that the body doesn’t see microneedling as a cosmetic procedure to help improve its appearance. It sees it as a wound that needs to be healed.
As part of the healing process, collagen and elastin are sent to the site of the “injury.” This helps to plump and build up the skin and is part of why scars happen. For such purposes, collagen and elastin are also the major components behind why skin looks firm and youthful.
Essentially, we’re “tricking” the body into sending us what we need to boost the skin’s health and appearance by making it think it’s under attack. Ingenious, right?
In most cases, like here at Skin Pharm, we use a topical numbing cream on the skin before we begin the process. That makes the needles, even though they are small, feel like minimal pressure or only mild discomfort during the procedure.
The provider performing the microneedling will decide on a depth for the needles, between 0.1 and 2.5mm. The whole thing takes around an hour, from start to finish.
What is microneedling good for?
Because of the way that microneedling works, it may be effective in treating and managing a number of different concerns, including:
Acne and acne-related scarring
Hair loss and thinning hair
Hyperpigmentation – dark spots on your skin, including melasma
Large, visible pores
A reduction in the skin’s firmness and elasticity
Fine lines and wrinkles
A lot of the other options for treatment of many of these concerns can get pricey, like laser therapy (which can be up to four times as expensive as microneedling). Those with naturally darker skin tones may also find microneedling to be more beneficial than those other treatments, as the skin’s pigmentation can be impacted by the heat that comes with them.
Each has a different, equally vital job to perform, which is why you can experience issues if you have too few (or too many) of any of those components.
Platelets, for instance, are essential to being able to clot our blood when we get injured. They are constantly circulating through the bloodstream, just waiting to be needed.
Between platelets and plasma, they are in charge of much of the healing process. There are also cytokines and other growth factors that also play a role in its effectiveness.
How does microneedling with PRP work?
Now that you know a little more about what PRP is and how important it can be to wound healing, how does PRP get out of your body and onto your skin?
Microneedling with PRP starts with having your blood drawn. Your advanced practice provider will do this while you’re numbing!
Once your blood has been drawn, it’s placed into a centrifuge. These machines spin the blood around quickly, separating the red blood cells from the platelet-rich plasma, which we refer to as “liquid gold.”
This isn’t red in color, like you may think from seeing those pictures on social media. PRP is actually light yellow and clear.
We take that separated PRP and use it with our microneedling pen, which allows it to be inserted into the skin. This is what makes microneedling with PRP so incredibly effective. No other skincare product is able to be placed into the skin in this way, and no other product stimulates the healing process the same way either.
Once the microneedling process is finished, the remainder of the PRP is applied directly to the outside of your skin. That allows it to work from the outside, as well, creating a healthy, radiant, youthful glow as it continues to work under the skin, too. In some cases, PRP can also be directly injected into the area for more significant issues like deeper wrinkles.
Specific benefits of microneedling with PRP
Whether you’re afraid of needles or not, most people wonder if the benefits are really worth all of that trouble. The answer is yes, they absolutely are.
Here are just some of the benefits that people have seen from undergoing the procedure:
Helps reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles
Evens out the skin tone
As you can see, those are many of the same benefits as microneedling with PRP. However, PRP also helps to speed up the healing process while also stimulating the skin to repair and renew itself quicker, so you can get those benefits in a potentially shorter period of time.
In many cases, microneedling can take more than one session to be effective, whether using PRP or not. This is especially true for people with more prominent scars that they are hoping to reduce.
The recovery process
After the microneedling with the PRP process is over, what should you expect?
Immediately after the procedure, your skin will experience some mild redness and irritation. However, by the following day, most people report only slightly tight skin and very minimal residual redness!
That’s just part of the amazing benefits of the PRP.
Over the next 48 hours, as your skin continues to heal, you may also notice mild flaking, dryness, swelling, and scaling. Make sure to use the post-procedure skin care products given to you, and wait to apply makeup for at least 24 hours.
Within a week, you’ll be able to return to your previous routine.
Are there any risks with microneedling with PRP?
While microneedling is usually very safe and PRP only uses your own blood, there are always risks associated with anything that can puncture the skin.
It’s important to always follow the aftercare instructions, though, to minimize the risk even further. If anything unusual occurs, including significant pain or oozing, contact your provider as soon as possible to be evaluated.
In addition, certain conditions may make you at a higher risk for developing problems, so microneedling with PRP is not generally recommended for:
People who are using (or have used) isotretinoin to treat acne
People with active breakouts or flare-ups
People who have certain skin conditions
Those with a bleeding or platelet disorder
Those who have had recent surgery (within in the past 6 months)
Microneedling with PRP is truly one of our favorite treatments. By using the body’s own platelets to help speed up the healing process and microneedling to encourage collagen and elastin production, you can overhaul your skin and achieve your skin goals. Skin Pharm would love to be part of that process!