Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is the latest rage in the hair restoration field. This nonsurgical treatment is a three-step process of drawing a patient’s blood, separating the platelet-rich plasma from the blood and injecting it into the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
Although the method is not completely understood yet, PRP does lead to the release of high amounts of growth factors. These growth factors have the ability to enhance the growth of existing hairs and stimulate the production of new ones. PRP can be done as a stand-alone treatment or combined with a hair transplant or other hair restoring treatments and medications.
Hair transplantation remains a very reliable solution for hair loss. All patients that receive the procedure can expect some new growth, with more than 90% of grafts typically taking. The downside of a hair transplant is that it is a surgical procedure, and most importantly, not everyone is a candidate. Often, patients are too early (young men) or not good candidates (many women), and that is why PRP becomes a great alternative.
Although PRP has many advantages, such as being nonsurgical and requiring little downtime, there are some disadvantages. First,it does require several treatments to receive the maximum benefit. Second,and most importantly, while many patients see new growth, some patients do not experience new growth at all, despite undergoing a complete series of treatments. Comparatively, with a hair transplant, virtually 100% of patients see new growth. This is why many hair transplant surgeons tell patients this is their best option, as long as they are a viable candidate.
In summary, for patients who are good candidates and are willing to have surgery, hair transplantation is the best option for the long-lasting results. For those unwilling or who are not good candidates for a hair transplant, PRP provides a new and exciting alternative to try.
With the holidays over, the new year beginning and not much sun, January is a great time to focus on ways to jump-start your skin. Lasers and broadband light devices offer the most up to date options. Here is a look at some of these treatments and what they can do for you.
Intense Pulsed Light for Mild Skin Damage
For those with early sun damage and signs of aging, IPL (intense pulsed light) devices are a great choice. In our office, we use the Cutera Limelight. These treatments remove the reds and browns that are the first signs of aging and sun damage. Procedures are done in the office with minimal downtime. Typically, 2 to 4 treatments are performed spaced a month apart. As with most laser treatments, sun avoidance before and after is important, making January a great time to start. Patients will notice a more even skin tone and color as well as a smoother appearance to their skin.
Fractional Laser Treatment for Moderate Skin Damage
With more advanced aging and the development of fine to moderate wrinkling, we recommend for most patients a fractional laser treatment. We use the Active FX/Deep FX from Lumenis, the Pearl Fractional from Cutera and the Sciton HALO device. These lasers remove a portion of the top-most layers of skin to allow fresh new skin below come to the surface. Treatments are still done in the office but are associated with a little more downtime- typically between 4-7 days depending on the device and the level of treatment. Some redness may persist for several weeks (requiring sun avoidance), but makeup can be applied by a week or sooner, and you can return to most activities. Patients will notice a softening of wrinkles in one treatment; moderately deep wrinkles typically will require more than one treatment.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing for Significant Skin Damage
Patients with significant sun damage and wrinkles may consider traditional full-strength CO2 laser resurfacing. This treatment provides unprecedented wrinkle removal and skin tightening. Downtime, however, can be 10-12 days. Patients can wear makeup by two weeks but will have some pink discoloration and will need to avoid the sun for up to 4 months. In addition, this treatment is reserved for those with lighter skin types as it can and often does cause a lightening of the skin. In general, we reserve full-strength laser resurfacing for those who are done with the sun, always wear makeup and are looking for maximal improvement.
For those with naturally darker skin, we offer the Syneron Candela Profound. This device deposits energy in the skin via tiny microneedles. This avoids injuring the more superficial, energy and light sensitive skin precluding any pigment issues and making this treatment safe for all skin types. The Profound offers skin tightening and some reduction in skin wrinkling. Patients may resume all activities within 48 hours as well as wear makeup. Some swelling can persist for up to a week.
January is a great time to rejuvenate your look. If you are considering making an improvement in your skin, consider consulting with Dr. Hamilton or one of our licensed aestheticians to explore your options.
More and more patients are learning about the benefits of PRP for hair loss and the list of studies showing benefit has grown. Traditionally PRP has been used as a non surgical treatment done in the office to stimulate hair growth. A more recent trend is to use PRP during the hair transplant to minimize hair shock and improve the overall result.
Like with much of PRP, the claims have gotten a little ahead of the science. PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. It is obtained from your own blood and extremely safe. It has been used now with success for a wide variety of medical conditions. For hair loss patients, PRP is high in growth factors that can help with hair growth. Studies have for the most part shown benefit with these treatments when injected into the scalp in the office to stimulate hair growth. We also have seen some nice results in our own patients, but also have some that have seen not as much of a response. While it appears that PRP can stimulate real hair growth for some patients, we are all still figuring out who are the best candidates, what is the right formula and how many treatments be performed.
A more recent trend is to use PRP for hair grafts during the hair transplant procedure. One recent study demonstrated less hair shock and better graft take when using PRP during the procedure. PRP contains high amounts of growth factors to help with healing and stimulate new grafts to grow. Future studies will be needed to confirm these possible benefits.
We are excited to be able to offer PRP during our hair transplant procedures for those patients interested. Other than a quick blood draw, there is no downside to this technique. The hair transplant is done in the same fashion, but the grafts are soaked in this growth stimulating serum prior to implantation. Hair transplantation is already a procedure with a high success rate. We look forward to seeing even better results as we incorporate PRP into our procedures.
Halo laser treatments offer a new option in laser skin resurfacing. The Halo laser combines fractional nonablative (1470 nm) and ablative (2940 nm) for quicker healing than with other fractional devices. Patients will notice improvements in skin color (reds and browns) as well as skin texture and fine lines.
Skin will appear more taut with smaller pore sizes.
Treatments are done in the northside office. Patients will arrive an hour prior to treatment for numbing cream. The device combines pulses with both wavelengths at once for a quicker treatment time. During treatment the skin will feel warm and ice packs are applied immediately afterward. Patients may drive themselves home. Recovery is quick with most patients able to resume activities and apply make-up within 2 to 5 days. Sun avoidance is important the first several weeks afterwards as well as before.
The Halo device utilizes its own proprietary dynamic thermal optimization technology (DTO) to measure skin temperature during treatment. This helps to ensure a more accurate treatment and a higher level of safety. Halo provides the most up to date fractional laser technology.
Some results will be visible within a week while others such a wrinkle reduction and skin tightening more like months. Patients will appreciate smoother skin with a glow like quality. Physician Assistant Sheryl New offers consultations to see if you are a candidate for this cutting-edge device.
While we are still looking for a credible non-surgical alternative to a facelift, there have been several technical advances in the past 5 years that have improved your options. That being said, most patients will need to consider undergoing more than one kind of treatment to get results anywhere near comparable to a facelift. Below we have listed some of the most popular and effective non-surgical facelift alternatives.
Fractional radiofrequency (RF) microneedling is a cutting-edge skin rejuvenation technique that we have previously discussed in our blogs. It involves combining tiny needles (microneedles) with RF energy to tighten and add volume to the skin. Because the needle marks heal quickly, there is minimal downtime associated with the procedure.
For our RF Microneedling treatments, we have started using what we feel is the most effective device – the Syneron Candela Profound®. This device has been shown to provide visible tightening in one treatment 100% of the time. I can think of no other device that has achieved this. It is also the only FDA-approved device in its field. Lastly and most impressively, it has shown in studies to achieve on average 30% of the tightening of a traditional facelift.
The new FaceTite™ procedure is another minimally invasive way to achieve skin tightening without surgery. As discussed in our previous blogs, this treatment can be combined with liposuction for great results in those not ready for a full facelift. Unlike the other options here, FaceTite™ does require a little more downtime and is done in a surgical suite.
Most patients often experience some volume loss with aging, and treating this with injectable fillers can be beneficial. Fillers are primarily used to camouflage visible signs of aging- softening jowls and filling creases. We can also use fillers to provide some lift- by filling up the volume loss just as you would with a balloon. While injectable fillers are only a partial solution, combined with other techniques they can provide a nice alternative to surgery.
Lastly, improving the skin can simulate some of what a facelift achieves. Smoothing the skins’ surface and removing creases will give you a more refreshed appearance. With resurfacing techniques such as laser and chemical peels, we can achieve in the office some of what is achieved after surgery. Which technique is right for you depends on your skin and the signs of aging that are occurring.
The best technique for avoiding a facelift is probably a combination of the above. Selecting the right ones for you starts with contacting us and scheduling a consultation with one of our aestheticians, nurses, or Dr. Hamilton.