Humankind has been on an endless search for the fountain of youth – younger and more resilient skin, an end to hair loss, remedies for achy joints. What if that fountain actually flows through your veins and arteries within your blood?
No, I’m not suggesting you go all vampire and start drinking the stuff. While blood in its totality most certainly plays a pivotal role in the healing process, doctors have been focusing on one particular cell found within blood – the platelet. They believe they have harnessed that long-sought-after healing and regenerative power in these platelets by extracting them as Platelet Rich Plasma otherwise known as PRP.
Think of platelets as tiny little emergency vehicles that rush to the site of a cut or injury to stop the bleeding by clotting and then working together to repair the damage and heal the wound.
It was in the early 1970s when scientists realized they might be able to extract and focus the regenerative power of the platelets. These “plate-like-looking cells” are loaded with proteins called growth factors. For the layperson, like me, a growth factor is a naturally occurring substance such as a protein or hormone, that is required for stimulation of living cells, and healing. Doctors experimented with extracting these platelets to aid in healing during surgery, specifically first in open heart surgery.
For the past almost four decades, the medical community has been perfecting PRP treatments and finding many different applications, including the aesthetics industry. And so we come to our potential fountain of youth.
I had heard of PRP injections within aesthetics and was curious about how they work, specifically for the area under the eye. The treatment sounded very high-tech. So, I took my notebook and headed to see the aesthetics experts at Dr. Joseph Russo’s Cosmetic Center, where I would learn how simple the treatment actually is.
I sat down to talk with Slone Mathieu, Customer Experience & Aesthetics Manager, at the cosmetic center. Slone is perfect for her job. She’s able to answer any patient’s questions because of her extensive knowledge, but she’s also incredibly calm and can put anyone at ease. It also doesn’t hurt that she looks like a supermodel and touts aesthetics as the reason for her ageless face. (I’m pretty sure mother nature gave her a good portion of that enviable bone structure.)
Slone was kind enough to sit with me and enthusiastically share not only some of the facts behind PRP injections but her own experience with the treatment. Slone had her injection in the most common place for PRP in aesthetics, which is under the eye. As you can see, her results are incredible.
Slone explained that aging under the eyes can be a challenging area to treat. PRP injections are a natural way not only to increase volume but also to help thicken delicate and aging skin, which then reduces the look of dark circles, bags, and hallowing. PRP injections are also a great introduction for someone who has never used filler since it uses your body’s own properties.
To create a PRP injection, a patient’s blood is drawn. That blood is then put into a centrifuge and spun until the platelet-rich plasma is separated from the rest of the blood (about 6 minutes).
That yellow material at the top is the golden fountain of youth. It is then withdrawn from the tube and prepared for the injection. See, you don’t have to be Rumplestiltskin to spin gold! 😉
The plasma is injected into the desired area, and then those little emergency vehicles get to work, joining together and stimulating growth, which in the long-term means collagen stimulation.
Dr. Russo’s office is also using PRP injections to regrow hair. The PRP is injected into the dying hair follicle, and actually stimulates hair growth! This one I had to see to believe.
As you can see from these before and after photos of actual patients at Dr. Russo’s Cosmetic Center, the results are real. I was sold and ready for my own PRP treatment. I wanted to fix the hollowness and darkening near my tear troughs.
For the PRP treatment, I saw the super awesome, Lori Phoenix, RN CHPN. Lori is an aesthetics nurse who doesn’t waste any time in getting the job done quickly, painlessly, and most importantly, with excellent results.
Before I could think of saying “Ow!”, Lori had already drawn my blood. She inserted the tube into the sterile centrifuge machine, where centrifugal forces pulled the more dense red blood cells to the bottom and that little bit of liquid from the fountain of youth to the top. She was then ready to inject me!
So, here’s what to expect from an undereye PRP injection. First of all, the needle itself did not hurt at all. Expect there to be some swelling and a little bit of bruising. For some, that can last two days, for others five days. In my case, I was rather swollen, but only for about 36 hours after the injection. Afterward, I had bruising, and that was completely gone after five days.
Here are my photos one-week post injection- no filters, no concealer (eek!). I can eaieas see my tear trough is filled in.
One other thing that is noticeable to me is hyperpigmentation under my eyes. To enhance my results, the awesome aesthetics team at Dr. Russo’s recommended I get a vi-peel , to reduce the shadowing caused by dryer winter skin and brown spots.
The peel really did help to show the difference the PRP made within the tear troughs. (You can still see some peeling from the vi-peel near my inner eye). Additionally, collagen reproduction generally starts to happen around two weeks. So, the benefits of the PRP injection were also starting to really kick in!
Generally, one to three PRP injections are recommended for maximum results. Slone suggested I would only need one, and I think she is right. I am definitely happy with the results.
As for PRP being the fountain of youth, the medical community has been using PRP injections to help speed recovery and aid in collagen building. Dr. Russo even uses it in surgeries.
I don’t think the fountain of youth is as simple as one thing. And everyone has a different goal.
For someone with a bad joint, PRP might be the Fountain of Youth to take away the pain. For others losing hair, PRP could take away some of the physical signs of the aging process.
Many men and women combine PRP injections with other injectibles to help bolster collagen production.
For me, I loved the combination of the PRP injection and the vi-peel. My eyes look rejuvenated and my skin glowed. For now, I’m going to call that combo my mini-fountain of youth. 😉
To schedule a consultation and determine a treatment planp just for you, contact:
Joseph A. Russo MD
Newton, MA 02459
Phone: (617) 963-0770