Our body has an amazing capacity to heal wounds. It does this by using blood platelets to first clot the wound. From there, the platelets have various growth factors that facilitate tissue regeneration. New collagen is produced and sent to the wound to rebuild the skin.
These same mechanisms are the goal of many aesthetic skin rejuvenation treatments. At Dr. Barrera’s we really like microneedling as a method for skin rejuvenation and improvement. And to up the healing ante, we add platelet-rich plasma to the skin after the microneedling is complete.
What is microneedling?
At Dr. Barrera’s we use the SkinPen. It features nine microscopic needles that oscillate up and down. We can set the depth of the needle penetration based on the area we are treating. For instance, forehead skin needs more shallow penetration than the cheeks. As we move the SkinPen across the treatment areas, the nine needles penetrate down through the epidermis into the dermis. These tiny punctures are so small that they fully heal in just a couple of hours, but the body perceives the hundreds of punctures as wounds, and it initiates a wound-healing response. This involves remodeling the existing collagen in the treatment areas for instant skin tightening. But the real improvements come as new collagen production is triggered to “heal” the wounds, even though they are actually fully healed in a couple hours. This collagen bump runs for weeks, and it improves the skin’s firmness, texture, and overall appearance.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Blood platelets are the critical element in the blood responsible for wound repair. More specifically, platelets allow the blood to clot. They’re also powerful little growth facilitators, another part of their wound-healing prowess. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is what is left when the red blood cells are removed from your blood. What remains is plasma, blood platelets, and white blood cells. PRP has been used for years to speed the healing of joints, tendons, and muscle tissue in professional athletes. Now it can “heal” problems such as sun damage, acne scars and stretch marks, and the decreasing volume that is a part of normal aging.
How is a PRP treatment with microneedling done?
At Dr. Barrera’s, we start the PRP process by taking a small amount of blood from you, about the same amount used for a typical lab test. That blood is then placed in a centrifuge that spins at a high rate and separates the different components of the blood. Red blood cells are divided from the platelets, white blood cells, and the plasma (the clear fluid that makes blood liquid). This plasma now contains a higher than normal number of platelets (four times higher) and is called platelet-rich plasma.
Now we perform the microneedling and when we have completely covered the treatment areas we then take your PRP and apply it across the same areas. Thanks to the hundreds of microscopic punctures, the PRP can penetrate the epidermis and get into the dermis where the growth factors can really improve the skin.
Interested in microneedling with PRP for the New Year? Your facial skin is. Call Dr. Barrera at (713) 468-5200 to schedule a microneedling with PRP session.