There are many cosmetic facials that aim to improve your appearance by using natural bodily processes, usually by stimulating collagen production with heat to tighten and lift skin. These facials work fine, but the biggest drawback is how long the benefits of those treatments last. Even the most revolutionary of collagen stimulating facials only last for a few months before your skin returns to normal laxity. But at Old Town Med Spa in Chicago, IL, we are proud to say that our PRP facials are unlike any other facelifting treatment you will ever receive.
There is a lot to unpack about PRP, so consider this your main resource for everything you need to know about PRP treatments. If you still have questions after reading through this information, the staff at our office are fully prepared to answer any additional questions when you come in for an appointment.
What Is a PRP Facial?
First and foremost, you should know that any PRP therapy is considered a medical treatment. While the general purpose of PRP is for cosmetic reasons, the exact methods of the treatment are highly scientific and involve using biological stimulants that other cosmetic treatments do not. For this reason, PRP treatments are only performed by trained medical staff.
So, what is this facial? PRP is a two-part method. For this facial, we use a topical application of PRP and follow it up with microneedling or fractionated lasers to aerate the skin to allow the PRP to fully sink into the skin. PRP treatments work with the body to fully stimulate the skin to promote healing and production of skin-lifting properties deep within the skin layers.
If the process sounds somewhat familiar, it might be because you’ve heard of PRP in another way. Another term for PRP is a “vampire facial”. Why? It has to do with what PRP actually is.
What Does PRP Mean?
PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. That’s right – platelet and plasma, as in blood. The term “vampire facial” makes a little more sense, right? In the case of PRP treatments, we derive the platelet rich plasma from your own blood. Using scientific methods, we draw a small amount of your blood to create a substance that is then applied topically to the skin. Using your own blood to create the PRP is a safe way to stimulate your skin’s healing properties.
How Does a PRP Facial Work?
Platelet rich plasma is full of growth factors that help promote a healing response on the surface and sub-layers of skin. By combining the topical PRP treatment with other facial techniques that are designed to stimulate collagen production, this medical facial treatment can produce long-lasting results.
For PRP, we usually combine the plasma with one of two different facial techniques. The first is microneedling, which punctures the skin with tiny sterile needles, which is thought to produce new collagen deep within the skin. The second is fractionated lasers, which use a small amount of heat fractured into microscopic arrays that are meant to stimulate collagen production. Either method is acceptable for PRP treatment.
If you are not a fan of aerating your skin or do not feel that your skin concerns warrant any minor invasive techniques, then we do have a third method. If your primary concern is skin texture, such as acne scarring, then we will apply the topical PRP and stimulate the skin using a gentle dermaroller. This method is effective for minor skin concerns and is largely preferred by those who do not like needles.
At your consultation appointment, we will discuss which method will work best for you based on your goals, your level of skin laxity, and your skin type. The ultimate choice of which method we use is decided by you.
What Does a PRP Facial Do?
By now you might be wondering what this PRP treatment is supposed to do. The overall goal of a PRP treatment is to tighten and lift skin. PRP treatments are regarded as anti-aging facials that help improve skin health concerns. Some of what a PRP facial can do include:
- Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
- Improving skin texture
- Increasing collagen production
- Refining pores
- Reducing acne scars
- Improving skin tone
Benefits of PRP Facials
In addition to the many improvements of your skin health, PRP also helps produce a healthy glow in the skin. Glowing, dewy, supple skin is generally seen as the peak of a youthful, healthy appearance, and PRP treatments produce this result without fail each time. A youthful appearance is the main benefit of PRP treatments, but there are other benefits to consider, such as how long PRP treatments last.
This is another area where PRP treatments are different from other kinds of facials or anti-aging treatments you might get at a medical spa. Some treatments, such as those that use fillers or only address the skin surface, can be completed within one appointment. However, for the best and longest-lasting results, you typically need to have multiple rounds of PRP treatments. This is a benefit of PRP because you will continue to see results for as long as two years after your treatments are over.
A final benefit of PRP treatments is the natural aspect of it. Because PRP is developed using your own blood, you are not introducing new or artificial products to your skin. This significantly reduces the risk of an allergic reaction. It also means that PRP is comparatively more gentle to the skin. Plus, PRP treatments are designed to promote healing above all else. PRP helps you use the tools your body provides – it just delivers these results more efficiently.
What to Expect During PRP Treatment
What should you expect during PRP treatment? We want you to understand the exact steps that are involved in this treatment, from your very first appointment to your very last. As a medical treatment, PRP has a few more steps than other cosmetic facial treatments. Here we will break down the process into two parts: the initial appointment and the treatment appointment.
At your initial appointment, we will first walk you through everything you need to know about PRP therapy, what to expect from the treatment, and will go over any questions or concerns you might have. We will discuss your goals for treatment to make sure that PRP is right for you.
Our staff will also examine your skin, and in particular your level of skin laxity, consider other skin concerns you might have, and evaluate your overall skin type. This information will help us explore which of the two aeration methods are best for your particular treatment.
Your treatment appointments are where the magic happens. No matter how many treatment appointments you have, the steps for each appointment are the same.
Step One: Cleanse and Numb
Once you are in the treatment room, we will gently cleanse your face of all oils and impurities and then apply a topical numbing cream. The numbing cream is used regardless of which treatment method is part of your treatment plan. We allow the numbing cream to sit on the skin for about 45 minutes or until the face is fully numb. This is done for your comfort, as there are areas of the skin that are particularly sensitive to pressure.
Step Two: Blood Draw
We usually draw blood on the day of your appointment so that the PRP produced is as fresh and possible. While your skin is numbing, our nurse will draw a certain amount of blood: just enough to be sure there will be enough platelets to isolate when we create the plasma. Creating the PRP in our lab takes about 10 minutes.
To make sure your blood draw will make enough plasma, it is important to be hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your treatment and on the day of your treatment. The better your plasma, the more effective the treatment.
Step Three: Aeration
The next part of the process is to prepare the skin to receive the full benefits of the PRP. This is done by aerating the skin, either by microneedling, fractionated lasers, or with a dermaroller. This part of the treatment process is where you might feel a small amount of sensation, particularly where skin is thinnest, such as in the forehead and around the jawline.
Step Four: Applying PRP
You might be surprised to learn that the finished PRP product is actually clear – not red. This is because plasma that has been isolated holds no color. As it is, when we apply the PRP to your skin, it will feel like a thick serum is being applied. We allow the PRP serum to sit on the face for a few minutes and then gently cleanse the face again.
Overall, a full PRP treatment appointment lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. Appointment length varies depending on how many areas are being treated and the exact methods that are being used.
After the treatment is over, you will be given post-treatment instructions. Be sure to follow each of the recommended guidelines, as your skin will be vulnerable for several days following the treatment. The post-treatment instructions include:
- Avoid direct sun exposure for 3 days
- Avoid excess sweating for 3 days
- Do not use skincare cleansers or creams for 2 days
- Do not wear make-up for 2 days
If you follow the post-treatment instructions, there is no reason why you cannot resume most normal activities immediately following the PRP treatment. As long as you are out of the sun and not sweating, you can go back to life as normal.
Some patients find that their skin is sensitive to the touch for the first two days following treatment, especially if the microneedling method was used. Any lingering redness usually disappears within 28 hours following the treatment. You might consider applying ice to your face for 10 minutes every hour on the day and in the days following the treatment if you are experiencing sensitivity.
Within the next 4 to 7 days, you will experience some minor shedding. This is completely normal and expected after a PRP treatment. You can think about it like a snake shedding old skin to reveal gleaming, pretty new scales. In the same way, the small amount of shedding will reveal glowing, healthy skin within a week following the treatment.
You can expect to see results as early as one week following the treatment. You will see most improvements for skin texture within 3 weeks after a treatment. You will notice improvements in skin laxity and other anti-aging benefits in the next 2 to 8 months.
We generally recommend three treatments spaced one month apart to produce the best results. You will continue to see results following these PRP treatments for up to 2 years. Depending on your skin concerns, we might recommend maintenance treatments once or twice a year to keep the results of the treatment consistent.
Who are ideal candidates for PRP treatments? There are no age limitations or medical restrictions, so PRP treatments are appropriate for anyone who has skin concerns that can be addressed by this type of facial. If you have scarring in the cheeks, wrinkles around the eyes, fine lines around the mouth and forehead, and skin laxity around the jawline, then you are a good candidate for a PRP facial.
Interested in the amazing beautification benefits of PRP facials? Contact Old Town Med Spa in Chicago, IL to schedule your initial consultation today! Our expert staff are prepared to answer any questions you may have about PRP facials and other services that we offer. We look forward to the opportunity to help you achieve your ideal appearance!