Anti-aging treatments are becoming more bizarre by the minute. Fifteen years ago, microdermabrasion was deemed cutting edge and had to be supervised by a physician in most states. Now, you can purchase microderm machines, laser hair removal devices and professional strength chemical peels to treat yourself in your own home!
Skin care products have also advanced and are now using pure gold, sheep placenta, leeches and even sperm to smooth, tighten and repair skin. Personally, I'm not sure which sounds more frightening — the leeches or some random man's sperm being placed on my skin. As far as in-office procedures go, they are sounding more and more like a science fiction movie — pills that repair the frayed ends of your DNA, IV drips filled with ingredients to rejuvenate your entire body by boosting your HGH, Botox for a non-invasive breast lift and an injectable fat melter that takes away double chins
So, I wasn't surprised when I heard about using your own blood to rejuvenate your skin — heck, vampires have been doing it for centuries (if you believe in that sort of stuff). OK, it's not really the blood that improves the skin, but rather the growth factors that are located in our platelets — and this is not new news. The sports world has been using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) filled with growth factors for years to speed the recovery of injuries. What good is your $25-million-dollar star pitcher if he can't pitch?
Excited to learn about the treatment (and be subjected to it myself), I first watched someone have it done. I have to admit, it looked a bit painful. Don't get me wrong. I've lasered my hair, burnt off my skin and injected my own lips, all in the name of beauty. A little pain isn't going to stop me, but it did look like a bit of a bloody mess.
After going through rigorous training with my co-workers, it was finally my turn to have the procedure performed on myself — yay!
First, my skin was thoroughly cleansed and a numbing cream was applied (l'd be thankful for that numbing effect later). Next, my blood was drawn and the tubes containing it were placed in a centrifuge to separate the red cells from the PRP. Once completely separated, the PRP looks oddly similar to liquid gold, which I totally did not expect. It was a beautiful color and looked as if it possessed something important or powerful.
Rewashing my skin to remove the numbing cream, my treatment started by using a microneedling pen to 'open' the skin. Skin is our suit of armor, keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out, and I want as much plasma absorbed as possible. Once the skin is treated with a quick pass of the micropen, the PRP is placed on it and the micropen is used again to drive it deeper.
The treatment takes roughly 45 minutes to complete, and while it wasn't super painful (did I mention where I lasered my hair?), I was ready for it to end just about the time it did. Next, the remaining PRP was injected around my eyes and smile lines. Looking into the mirror, I looked an awful mess: red, bloody and slightly swollen. I was thrilled.
Proudly displaying my red face with the tiny marks left by the micropen to my husband that evening, I couldn't wait for my skin to start improving — and improve it did! My fine lines seemed to disappear in about a week with my moderate lines definitely improving within three weeks. The results just kept getting better, peaking at around three months. Don't get me wrong, I didn't look like I had had a face lift, but rather my skin was noticeably smoother with fewer lines. My jawline appeared tighter and those tiny 'laugh lines' around my eyes were softer!
Since my first experience, I've had an additional PRP treatment with the same results. If only we could figure out how to make it last longer, but then again, 15 years from now we might have discovered something even better!
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