Is blood your dermatologist's new best friend? The procedure I'm talking about infuses platelet-rich plasma into the skin. A small amount of blood is drawn from a vein in your arm and placed in a sterile tube that is spun down in a centrifuge to separate the different components-red and white blood cells on one end, platelets and plasma (the clear fluid) on the other. This plasma now contains a higher-than-normal number of platelets and is called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP.
So who cares? Well, platelets help tissue to heal and regenerate. Kobe Bryant has used PRP to heal wear and tear on his joints, and Kim Kardashian has used it on her face. When injected into specific areas of the skin, PRP theoretically acts as a matrix that promotes collagen production, parlaying into softer wrinkles, firmer skin, more hair, and in some endorsements, lifted breasts.
PRP can be infused back into the skin through little punctures from microneedles (a procedure commonly used for wrinkle reversal, plumping, and acne scarring), simultaneously with facial filler, directly into a problem area via syringe, or just smeared on with laser treatment.
But does PRP really work? When it comes to rejuvenation, blood might add a little extra oomph, in the context of microneedling procedures, fillers, or resurfacing lasers, but your hair can benefit most from it. New York City dermatologist Doris Day uses PRP to help thicken tresses along with oral supplements and her version of Rogaine.
"Platelets are a potent stimulator of anagen, the growth phase of our hair cycle," adds Vivian Bucay, a dermatologist based in San Antonio, Texas.
Tina Alster, MD, director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, sees results when injecting the blood components directly into the scalp. For rejuvenation, she capitalizes on the droplets of blood that naturally result from the microneedling process, adding potential antiaging benefits and eliminating the need for a blood draw.
There you have it. So don't be shocked (or grossed out) when your derm offers up your blood as your next beauty fix.
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