It seems as though everyone is talking about PRP, especially cosmetic patients. Costhetics has been listening. This is what we hear…

Recently, Costhetics learned that a randomised clinical trial titled Effects of Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection for the Rejuvenation of Photoaged Facial Skin and published in December 2018 showed PRP treatments “may have benefit for reducing the visible signs of photo-aging.”

A Quick Review of PRP

PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. Platelets are tiny cells essential to your blood’s ability to clot. They also release enzymes that attract stems cells to a damaged area to help it heal. First used in post-cardiac surgery transfusions to aid healing, platelet-rich plasma was ultimately approved for use in aesthetic enhancement treatments.

Here’s the journey platelets travel for a treatment:

  • The patient’s blood is drawn
  • The blood is separated in a centrifuge, creating a layer of plasma with a high concentration of platelets
  • The blood is reinjected using microneedling or a syringe, depending on the treatment modality

The thinking behind both medical and aesthetic PRP treatments is that they can accelerate wound healing and tissue regeneration. Pro athletes like Kobe Bryant give two thumbs up to platelet-rich plasma treatments for the relief of knee pain and inflammatory injuries. Aesthetic enthusiasts value PRP’s ability to help tissue regenerate, as well as its skin-nourishing concentration of vitamins, nutrients, and proteins. Sceptics say more study is needed.

Because the plasma comes from the patient’s own body, there is less risk of a negative reaction than with a foreign substance. Side effects are typically limited to temporary minor inflammation at the injection site immediately following treatment. In rare cases, patients have suffered tissue damage and/or nerve injury. It is, however, generally considered a safe approach to anti-ageing.

Experts Weigh In On PRP Treatments

Kim Kardashian embraced PRP treatments and posted selfies of her blood-covered face. It helped brand the treatment as a ‘vampire facial’ and gave it a tremendous boost in popularity. Some aesthetic practitioners, however, are still concerned due to a lack of solid scientific evidence that supports its usefulness. In Refinery29’s article Is Your Blood the Secret to Ageless Skin?, David L. Cangello, MD, FACS revealed he isn’t “…convinced that it works, but the demand and interest has grown to a point where patients are consistently requesting it,” He acquiesced to patient demand because, to date, there is “no known downside to using it on the face, and there is potential that it may have some benefit,” he said.

PRP: What Patients Say

The jury may be out in the medical community as to whether PRP really works, but a growing number of clinics are offering PRP treatments as a solution for:

  • Age spots
  • Wrinkles
  • Scarring
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Thinning hair

Patients are flocking to the treatments, but like the experts, their responses are mixed as well:

“While I didn’t have many wrinkles, dark spots, or acne scars originally, to really show the magical effects of this treatment, the fact that a cystic period pimple was able to RIP in just three days when it usually takes seven-plus was reason enough for me to believe in this star-studded skin-care fave. So much so that I’ll be returning…in just a few weeks for round two.” – Rebecca Norris, Nylon

In a July 2019 post on RealSelf.com, Bright2087 says, “I’m due to go back in for a second treatment in about 3 weeks, I’m having second thoughts. First of all, the bruising was significant, and it took—no joke—the entire four weeks for the bruising to fade. I feel like putting PRP in the too hard basket.”

“My skin is tighter, pores smaller, and there is definitely that ‘glow’ I missed before. The sun spots I was starting to get have also lightened significantly…I’m pleased with the results, despite not wanting to do it again. Rather than repeating the PRP facial in the future I may look into other options for improving my skin such as an IPL laser that may be more cost effective for what I’m looking for. ” – Melissa Riker, The Happy Homemaker

As for the woman who started the craze, Kim Kardashian told Allure Magazine, “It was really rough and painful for me. It was honestly the most painful thing ever! It’s the one treatment that I’ll never do again,” she said, adding. “Even though it wasn’t for me, I know it has so many benefits for your skin. Kourtney is a huge fan and I know a lot of other people that love it, too,” she said.

At least price isn’t an obstacle for Kim and Kourtney. As for the rest of us…

The Cost of PRP Treatments in Australia

As with other types of injectables, you’ll need more than one treatment to see full rejuvenating results even with the addition of platelet rich plasma. Generally, people need anywhere from three to six sessions, with a four-week break between treatments.

Patients love PRP treatments, but wish prices were lower, of course. Where you are, the amount you need, and the experience of your practitioner will all figure into the cost. Generally speaking, in Australia, the costs break down like this:

  • Initial consultation: $120-$150 (AUD) This fee is often taken off the cost of a treatment if you end up proceeding.
  • Single session: $400-$600 (Some practitioners offer package discounts)

PRP Treatment Offers No Miracles…Yet

It’s simply too early to know whether PRP treatments are destined to rise to the top of the anti-ageing therapies list or whether, like piranha pedicures, will ultimately fall out of fashion. We’ve been hearing about several serious clinical studies currently underway. “I think in the next 2 years we will see some serious randomised controlled studies coming out.” Dr Freddie H. Fu, Orthopaedics Today Europe Editorial Board member says in the article Platelet-Rich Plasma: Yet to Be Proven, But Studies Are On the Way. 

Costhetics will be on the lookout for those study results so we can report them to you.

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