Microneedling is a cosmetic treatment that uses a roller with fine needles to prick the skin. This device stimulates extra collagen production, which can help heal scars and reduce signs of aging.
Microneedling with plasma-rich platelets (PRP) uses part of the blood from the person having the procedure to rejuvenate the skin.
In this article, learn more about the procedure, including its benefits and the possible risks.
Microneedling with PRP is a cosmetic treatment that stimulates collagen production by rolling fine needles over the skin and applying platelets, which are one of the components of blood.
The addition of PRP from the blood may make microneedling more effective. The liquid in blood is plasma, while platelets are solid. Platelets help blood clot, so they are vital for healing wounds and injuries. PRP is plasma in which the concentration of platelets is higher than that of other components of the blood.
A practitioner will take a blood sample and then use a spinning tool called a centrifuge to separate the PRP from the rest of the blood.
PRP contains proteins, including growth factors and cytokines. These proteins help skin tissue repair itself.
First, a practitioner will use a microneedling tool to prick the skin, making tiny holes in the skin’s surface. They will then apply PRP to these tiny holes to encourage collagen production and cell reproduction.
People may consider having microneedling with PRP if they want to treat certain marks or blemishes on the body or face for cosmetic reasons. Practitioners may use microneedling with PRP to treat:
- acne scars
- surgical scars
- wrinkles and fine lines
- sun damage
- large pores
- uneven skin texture
The addition of PRP to microneedling may speed up the healing process and stimulate skin renewal, potentially producing better results than microneedling alone.
The authors of a 2016 study looked at the benefits of adding PRP to microneedling for acne scars.
In a trial of 50 people with acne scars, microneedling with distilled water led to a 45.84% improvement in acne scars. Microneedling with PRP improved acne scars by 62.20%. None of the participants reported any lasting side effects from the treatment.
According to a 2019 review of PRP microneedling for acne scars, various studies showed that the addition of PRP to microneedling:
- improved acne scarring
- provided higher patient satisfaction
- decreased the amount of downtime that people needed after the procedure
Researchers still need further evidence to confirm these findings, however.
The number of treatments that a person receives will vary. People may need repeat treatments to see results from microneedling with PRP. Larger scars or burns may take longer to respond to treatment.
If people are receiving PRP microneedling treatment for signs of aging skin, they may wish to have repeat treatments.
Microneedling with PRP can also take a few weeks to show results, as the body takes time to produce collagen. As a result, people can expect to keep seeing improvements in their skin in the weeks following their treatment.
People with acne scars may notice a gradual improvement in the skin in less than 9 months.
Recovery from microneedling is usually quick. People may experience some soreness and tenderness immediately after the treatment. The area may also have redness, and there may be some mild bruising, which usually clears within 4–5 days.
Other side effects can happen while the skin heals, including:
- milia, which are white papules in the skin
- a mild flare-up of acne
Taking acetaminophen can help relieve any discomfort or painful side effects.
Microneedling creates small holes in the surface of the skin. In rare cases, this can introduce bacteria into the skin and cause an infection. In some cases, it may cause cold sores from the herpes simplex virus.
PRP treatment is usually safe, however, because it uses the person’s own blood for the procedure. People should follow the aftercare instructions that their practitioner provides to reduce the risk of any complications.
If people experience any severe pain or side effects after treatment, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Microneedling with PRP may not be suitable during pregnancy or for people with certain conditions or other risk factors, including those who have:
- used or are using isotretinoin to treat acne
- active acne
- skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea
- a history of scarring or bruising easily
- a platelet or blood disorder
- had major surgery within the last 6 months
- a chronic illness
- an infection on the face, such as herpes
If people fall into any of these categories, they should consult with their doctor about the safety of microneedling with PRP treatment.
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People can also lower their risk of side effects or complications from microneedling with PRP by seeing a board certified dermatologist.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommend that people consider the following points before undergoing a cosmetic procedure:
- find out how regularly a practitioner performs the desired procedure
- ask to see before and after photos of people whom the dermatologist has treated
- find out what qualifications and experience a dermatologist has
- check that they are board certified
- discuss the likely results of the procedure
Microneedling with PRP may be more costly than microneedling alone, and some people may have good results with just regular microneedling treatment.
People can discuss potential treatment options with their dermatologist to find the treatment that best suits them.