When it comes to skin rejuvenation, it seems like everything centers around using your blood. While platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been a mainstay in treating everything from acne scars to thinning hair and whatever else falls in between, its sister treatment, platelet-rich fibrin (PRF), is making a name for itself.
Like PRP, PRF relies on blood concentrates extracted individually and then put to good use.
Although the medical use of PRF only extends about 20 years (PRF has been used since the 1970s for medical treatment but only became popular in aesthetics in the last few years), it is purportedly a more advanced and supercharged version of PRP. With a long-standing history of treating various conditions in medical applications, dentistry, and orthopedics, PRF differs from PRP because it contains white blood cells, fibrin, platelets, and stem cells, whereas PRP contains just platelets. The additional elements in the matrix are believed to offer other benefits and help stimulate collagen production for younger-looking and healthier skin.
WHAT IS PRF?
PRF is a platelet fibrin-based injection that uses extracted blood to treat areas of the face that have fallen victim to common signs of aging.
Like PRP, the blood drawn is centrifuged slower, preventing it from separating into different layers, as with PRP. The benefit is that this method allows some white blood cells, stem cells, growth factors, and fibrin to exist in the concentrate, offering additional skin rejuvenating advantages.
PRF is a concentrate obtained by an individual’s blood injected into aging skin alongside a laser or microneedling treatment. The thought is that centrifuging the blood allows for the growth factors, fibrins, and platelets to be isolated, which in turn helps jumpstart cell growth and regeneration and improve the appearance of the skin.
Unlike injectable fillers, which provide instant volume, PRF injections work on more of a cellular level to jumpstart the collagen stimulation process. Since each patient has varying levels of platelets and growth factors in their blood, the results seen from one patient to the next can be variable. However, the results, which can take about six weeks or longer to surface, and full results are usually not visible until around the four-month mark, are incredibly natural, although they are not immediate and often require a series of injections. Also, the body’s ability to produce quality collagen influences the results.
PRP and PRF are often thought of as the same. But the two similar treatments have some varying points of significant distinction. PRF contains more ingredients and collagen-producing factors than PRP—plus, it includes considerably more growth factors, which purportedly yields far better results. Growth factors are an intrinsic element instrumental in collagen production and tissue regeneration. PRF also contains stem and white blood cells (PRP does not) for additional tissue repair. But the most significant difference between PRP and PRF is that PRF also has fibrin, which is responsible for keeping the injected growth factors in one specific place to work precisely where they are injected.
HOW DO PRF INJECTIONS WORK?
The beauty of PRF injections is that the matrix stimulates, regenerates, and repairs the natural production of collagen within the skin to help reinstate the natural plumpness of the skin.
Injecting PRF into an aging area of the face allows the specialized fibrin to create a healthier foundation of collagen and, therefore, youthful-looking and behaving skin.
Although some people believe PRF injections to be similar to synthetic fillers, they’re not. Each comprises different materials (PRF of blood, fillers of synthetic hyaluronic acid, or other volumizing agents). But beyond their biological makeup, PRF injections stimulate natural collagen production within the skin over time rather than providing an immediate dose of volume. As a result, PRF injections act more like biostimulatory fillers such as Radiesse or Sculptra than hyaluronic acid ones, but still, they are entirely different.
Before injecting PRF, your blood must be drawn (a simple and painless part of the treatment) before placing it into a centrifuge machine. While in the machine, the blood is spun (slower than with PRP) to create a matrix that contains a mix of skin-reviving and collagen-plumping platelets, plasma, fibrin, and white blood cells. Then, the solution is placed into a syringe and injected into areas of the face commonly affected by aging. PRP is often used in tandem with other skin rejuvenating treatments, such as microneedling and lasers, which create an open pathway for the PRF solution to penetrate the skin, resulting in more enhanced results.
Once the PRF solution is injected into the desired area, there is a slow release of growth factors that stimulate collagen within the skin. During a PRF treatment, the matrix is released slowly, which is believed to garner better results. PRP, for example, causes a sudden release of most growth factors. This slow release of growth factors helps to improve various skin and hair-related conditions affected by aging. For example, PRF aids hair growth in those suffering from androgenic alopecia and alopecia areata. PRF is also beneficial for encouraging the production of new collagen to ease the appearance of uneven skin, fine lines, wrinkles, minimal sagging, and enlarged pores.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR PRF INJECTIONS?
Many patients are considered good candidates for PRF injections and can benefit from the treatment. But some conditions may deter some people from undergoing treatment.
Patients that experience any of the following conditions may not be suitable candidates for the procedure:
- Active cancer
- Undergoing chemotherapy
- Current smoker
- Unrealistic expectations
- Those with immunocompromised systems
- People on high doses of blood thinners
HOW MANY PRF INJECTION TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Every patient is different, and some may require more injection treatments than others (a consultation will provide a more accurate number of required treatments).
Since PRF is a slower-release treatment, most patients need several treatments for optimal results. On average, three or four injection sessions about one month apart are recommended, but some patients need more than six injection treatments. Of course, the degree of aging and the skin’s collagen quality will dictate how many treatments are required.
Most patients begin to see the initial results of the treatment after the first six weeks or so. Since collagen production is a cumulative act, the more diligent you are with the treatments, the more collagen the skin begins to produce. From there, maintenance treatments every three to 12 months are typically recommended.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A PRF INJECTION TREATMENT?
The benefits of PRF injections, which are a more advanced version of PRP since the matrix to be injected contains platelets, fibrin, stem cells, and white blood cells, are endless and often make for an excellent alternative to those who don’t want synthetic dermal fillers or are not deemed suitable candidates. However, it is important to know that the main benefit of the treatment is collagen production, not volume. Instead, PRF injections help ease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing out uneven skin texture, rejuvenating the skin overall, and tightening up minor laxity. Some patients choose to couple PRF injections with dermal fillers to further erase the appearance of deeper folds and wrinkles.
Besides creating younger-looking skin, PRF can also help improve the look of acne scars and hair loss.
Some of the main benefits of the treatment include the following:
- Wide range of use: PRF injections can be done pretty much anywhere on the face or body where hyaluronic acid filler is injected
- Smoothing out lip lines, nasolabial folds, and hollows under the eyes
- They are safe since they use your blood and don’t rely on synthetic materials
- All-natural solution since it uses your blood
- Helps with hair loss
- Rejuvenates and revives the skin
- Aids in wound healing
- Minimal side effects
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING AND AFTER PRF INJECTIONS?
The main goal of PRF injections is to rejuvenate the skin and reinstate a natural yet youthful suppleness.
To better distribute the PRF matrix into the skin, the injections are often done with a treatment like microneedling, which creates an open pathway for the growth factors.
While PRF can also be administered topically, the effects are substantially more dramatic when injected, likely due to the deeper penetration.
PRF injections have possible downsides, side effects, and risks, just like all aesthetic treatments and procedures. Some common side effects of the therapy include minor redness, swelling, and bruising at the injection site. It’s also essential to be fully educated on what PRF injections can and cannot do so that you do not have unrealistic treatment expectations.
HOW MUCH DO PRF INJECTIONS COST?
PRF injections vary in cost from provider to provider, and those in large cities often charge more.
To determine the cost of your PRF injections, call our office to schedule a consultation where we will put a custom program together to correct your current concerns and create a customized skin plan.
All dermal fillers are safe for use, but of all the possible injectables used in aesthetics today, PRF fillers are the safest. That's because PRF uses your blood and does not rely on using any synthetic substance. For those patients who are against having dermal fillers injected into their faces or are not candidates for the procedure, PRF injections make for a good and safe alternative. In addition, since your blood is used, you know what is injected into your skin.
PRP and PRF rely on a blood draw that is then centrifuged into a unique solution that is either applied topically to the skin or injected. With PRF, the centrifuge spins the blood at a slower speed and for a shorter amount of time so that the blood's contents are not separated into different layers. PRP uses a faster centrifuge speed to separate the elements into different layers for easy extraction. Also, no anticoagulants are used with PRF, making it 100% natural.
PRF also contains a higher amount of platelets than PRP as well as fibrins and white blood cells.
The nice thing about PRF injections is that the treatment has no downtime. Immediately following the treatment, you are safe to resume your normal activities. However, we recommend avoiding strenuous exercise and activities and limiting sweat on the skin for 24 hours. It's also essential to apply ice to the treated areas for the first few days post-treatment and keep the skin well hydrated, especially if you are receiving additional treatments along with your PRF injections.
Some patients report minor redness, swelling, and bruising along with tenderness in the treated areas, which lasts a few days at most.
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If you’re ready to reclaim youthful skin and get your skin on track to healthy, now is the time to book a consultation with Charette Cosmetics. A one-on-one consultation with our experienced aesthetician will determine how to achieve your best PRF injection results. We can also customize a package specific to your skincare needs so that you can obtain the best results possible.
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