If you’re ready to vamp up your beauty routine—and you’re not squeamish about blood—platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy may take the bite out of aging. In sync with our ongoing love affair with vampires (think
Twilight and
True Blood),
PRP therapy harvests platelets from your own blood and uses them as a dermal filler. For years, PRP has been used by dentists to stimulate gum regrowth and by sports-medicine docs to treat tendon injuries, but now it is being used as an alternative to synthetic fillers.

The 20-minute procedure involves having one or two vials of your blood drawn. The vials are then placed in a centrifuge machine, which separates the platelets from the blood. It’s this nutrient-rich extract that is injected into
wrinkles, crow’s feet or scars.

Although platelets’ primary function is to clot blood, they also contain growth factors that are believed to increase tissue regeneration and collagen production. One treatment can run anywhere from $800 to $2,000, depending on the size of the area being treated. The results are visible after two to six weeks and last more than 12 months.

Because it’s natural and 100-percent biocompatible, PRP therapy is popular with anyone hesitant to use existing synthetic-, animal- or bacteria-derived injectables like Botox and Restylane, says Dr. William Middleton, a Toronto-based cosmetic surgeon.

Dr. Keith Burk, co-founder and medical director of Avaria Health and Beauty Corp. in Waterloo, Ont., adds that, unlike other injectables, PRP therapy is safe and effective for hard-to-treat problems such as neck and
under-eye crepiness and scars. Although PRP therapy can be used as a
lip plumper, Burk says that the results aren’t as dramatic as those achieved with traditional hyaluronic-acid products. He says that he has received positive feedback from patients (ranging in age from 30 to early 70s) who have had the treatment on their face. “They want to look younger and refreshed—not different,” says Burk. “The effects are subtle yet noticeable.”

More ways to plump up your skin on the next page …


Dr. Moonsang Choi, a Vancouverbased naturopath who has performed over 500 PRP procedures, concedes that the treatment has “incomplete credentials” as far as the scientific community is concerned. Yet, he says, the biochemical basis for it is irrefutable. “As more clinical evidence accumulates, PRP therapy will definitely establish a strong position in the field of skin rejuvenation.” According to Choi, those 40 and older are prime candidates for PRP, but younger skin can benefit too. “We start losing collagen in our mid-20s, so a PRP session every one or two years from that point on is a good preventive strategy,” he says.

All of these doctors emphasize that this treatment requires specific training and that they often use it in conjunction with other skin-rejuvenation procedures, ranging from Botox injections to laser resurfacing to facelift surgery.

Inside job

Stem the tide of time…

Celution Rejuvenation Therapy uses stem cells to produce
skin-plumping collagen.

Doctors use liposuction to collect adipose tissue from your thighs and abdomen. The tissue is placed in the Celution System machine, where stem cells are separated from the adipose. The extracted cells are placed in a syringe and injected into wrinkles or any areas of the face where more volume is desired. You may see results in as early as a week, and it lasts up to 12 months.

Stem cells have been used effectively in the past to repair burned or damaged skin.

You’ll have to jet to Asia or Europe for this pricey procedure (approximately $12,500). (Visit saisei-iryou.com for locations.) It is also used in Brazil for plumping buttocks and breasts, and some clinics offer a Premium PRP Injection combination with adipose-tissue-derived stem cells. In this case, platelets and growth factors are added to the stem cells to increase the fat-graft survival rate and promote collagen production. In North America, only PureGraft adipose injections are available. (The stem cells aren’t separated from the adipose.)

Read more
Plumping beauty products

Why you should be getting facial massages

Tips on getting a flawless complexion

Sensitive skin solutions

Test the latest celebrity hair and makeup trends with our Virtual
Makeover Tool!