Natural Aesthetics from a Naturopathic Doctor
Aesthetics are commonly associated with fillers and Botox injections, and while these both have impressive results and benefits, there are other aesthetic procedures that are one hundred percent natural.
Commonly known as PRP, platelet rich plasma, is a natural aesthetic solution that comes directly from your blood. The use of PRP has been coined by the media and beauty industry as the ‘vampire facial.’ PRP is derived from separating the platelet rich plasma from the rest of the blood and injecting it into various places throughout the face. Platelets are tiny fragments of cells that are rich in multiple growth factors that initiate wound healing.
PRP is sometimes referred to as ‘liquid gold’ because of its powerful regeneration abilities. PRP can, directly and indirectly, regenerate skin and other tissue by attracting stem cells and fibroblasts that initiate a complex healing cascade. The result of PRP is more collagen and hyaluronic acid, two substances that we naturally lose with age. Collagen forms the framework of the skin, giving it integrity while hyaluronic acid fills the space between the cells and fibres, giving it volume. With more integrity and volume, the skin appears as it did at a younger age. PRP therapy has been used for its regenerative capacity for many years in sports medicine, dentistry, plastic surgery, dermatology and aesthetics.
Platelet Rich Fibrin, or PRF, is a newer take on PRP. It is a similar treatment, except for how the blood is prepared (slower speed and no anticoagulants). This preparation results in more intact platelets, and the fibrin matrix is maintained without the anticoagulant. The fibrin matrix acts like a web that holds on to the platelets. The platelets are released more slowly, over 7-10 days into the area where the PRF is injected. This slower release of growth factors initiates a healing cascade that takes place over the next couple of months. One of the benefits of PRF versus PRP treatments is less bruising as no anticoagulant is used. The IV Health Centre has chosen PRF as its preferred treatment option.
One of my favourite uses for PRF is its combination with micro-needling. It is well established that a series of micro-needling treatments can improve the texture, appearance and thickness of the skin. New research shows an additional benefit when PRF is micro-needled right into the skin. There have been some remarkable split-face studies that compare the use of micro-needling alone versus micro-needling with PRF/PRP to treat acne scarring. While both treatments significantly improve the appearance of participants’ skin, there is a significant improvement on the side of the face that received the combined treatment.
PRF has minimal risk of side effects; some of those side effects may include bruising, swelling and mild pain at the injection sites. However, this is significantly reduced with topical anesthetic, ice, and arnica to speed the recovery.
This personalized anti-ageing practice is explicitly tailored to each individual as it uses your body’s growth factors in a smart way to stimulate regeneration where it is desired. As with all treatments, results may vary. Be sure to book an appointment with your Licensed Naturopathic Doctor and discuss how this treatment may be right for you.
-Dr. Nicola Bennett, ND