So often, what's hot in skin rejuvenation involves new, cutting-edge devices—such as fractional lasers and radiofrequency or ultrasound applicators—to smooth, tighten, and tone, but currently what's new is old: microneedling. This technique uses acupuncture-sized needles to create tiny columns of injury that stimulate collagen production over time, and can be combined with other treatments, such as PRP, at Beverly Hills' Skin Care & Laser Physicians.
Stemming from ancient Chinese practices developed centuries ago, modern medical microneedling, also called collagen induction therapy (CIT), has advanced quietly over the past several decades with an increasing body of literature supporting its use in the treatment of acne and traumatic scars; fine lines; skin laxity; stretch marks; enlarged pores; uneven skin tone; and increased drug penetration into the skin. Dermatologists can now tailor the depth of injury to your skin and its needs. When combined with platelet rich plasma, aka PRP—a component of your own blood rich in growth factors, stem cells, and other signaling molecules—it can further boost microneedling's beneficial effects.
Importantly, medical microneedling—either with or without PRP—is more sophisticated and precise than the treatment offered in spas that use over-the-counter rollers administered by non-physicians. In the right hands, the procedure is cheaper and safer than many higher-tech therapies with less downtime. It is colorblind and cold, so it is safe for people whose skin darkens unevenly, like skin of color or people who suffer from skin conditions that flare with heat like melasma.
Microneedling was one of the hottest topics at a recent annual meeting of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), the largest group of cosmetic and medical dermatologic surgeons in the country. Dr. Amelia Hausauer, a board-certified dermatologist and the ASDS aesthetic fellow at Skincare and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills, explains, "Microneedling represents an intersection between regenerative and aesthetic medicine. Let's harness and augment your body's own ability to heal itself. Let's harness it in a way that makes your skin radiant and even-toned."
More than 80 million men and women in the United States have some degree of hereditary hair loss or balding, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. That's an estimated 50 percent of men—two thirds by their mid-30s, 85 percent by age 50—as well as 21 million women in the United States alone. Considering these numbers, finding innovative, new treatments is critical; platelet rich plasma (PRP) is one such therapy, generating lots of scientific buzz.
As a component of your own blood, PRP contains a high concentration of growth factors and signaling molecules that were originally used in orthopedics to heal athletic and other joint injuries, but more recently have found a home in dermatology because of PRP's ability to stimulate fibroblast proliferation and induce collagen and elastic fiber production. There is also mounting evidence that these same growth factors stimulated by PRP control the hair cycle and can be helpful in treating male or female pattern hair loss. This is a growing field with rapid scientific advancements, but hats off to any therapy, such as PRP, that has no medication side effects, no risk of allergic reaction, and potentially restores fuller hair like you once had.
The first "P" in PRP is the primary reason this treatment works so well. Platelets are the components in blood that travel to the site of a wound to stop bleeding and begin building new tissue. The body has a vast amount of these healing cells, which also go by the name of "thrombocytes": almost 14 billion can be found in 30 milliliters of blood.
Simply put, PRP involves a physician taking a small amount of your blood and spinning it in a centrifuge. This motion pulls the platelets from the red blood cells and other components. The process ultimately results in blood with a very high concentration of platelets. When injected back into the body, these platelets get to work repairing whatever needs repairing—and their numbers mean they are efficient and effective. Even incredibly small wounds, such as those caused by microneedling, are targeted for healing, which involves promoting new collagen. In the case of PRP for hair restoration, the concentrated platelets work to rebuild scalp tissue, which can have a regenerative effect on follicles that have stopped producing.
The body keeps platelet levels in balance to maintain optimal health—too many or too few in the bloodstream can lead to problems—but the number taken for a PRP treatment is small compared to the total count in the body, and the platelets are ultimately reintroduced into the system.
Anyone who's ever sustained an injury knows that healing takes time, and rejuvenating skin with mirconeedling and PRP, or using PRP for hair restoration, is a treatment that delivers gradual results. Patients should see incremental improvements that ultimately add up to positive, noticeable changes. Since the injections are made up of components taken from your own body and are made with precision and care, there is no need for post-treatment recovery or special aftercare instructions. Patients should avoid exposing the treated areas to sunlight without protection in the days and weeks after a session, but can otherwise go about their daily lives and routines.
As with any treatment, the team at Skin Care & Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills will lead a consultation to assess each patient interested in PRP for hair restoration or to pair with microneedling. Each patient's needs are different, so each approach will be uniquely customized to maximize results.
See the advanced approaches our Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills team uses to help you Relax, Refill, Resurface, and Reduce. Explore the contributions of Dr. Derek Jones and his team in making some of the most sought-after treatments accessible to the public.
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