What Is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?
Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.
PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual.
To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. Then the increased concentration of platelets is combined with the remaining blood.
Potential side effects and complications
Bruises and inflammation are the most common side effects. They typically appear immediately after the procedure and clear within four to five days. You’ll want to avoid sun exposure and harsh skin treatments during this time.
The good news is that PRP contains your own blood, so there’s little chance of cross-contamination or infection. Rare, but serious, complications include infection and scarring.
You may be able to extend the results of your treatment by:
- Avoiding direct sun exposure
- Wearing sunscreen every day
- Cleansing your skin with a gentle cream or gel product only (exfoliants may irritate your skin after receiving this procedure)
- Moisturizing your skin properly
- Avoiding any picking or scratching of your face