Ever heard comments or questions like: "You look tired today", "Had a rough day?", "Are you ill?" _ even when you're not. It can be quite upsetting, when your skin appears dull and tired for no good reason.
Many people visit dermatologists for skin care advice and therapies in order to get an instant glow on their face. If you feel like you are one of the many whose face appears dull, here is some good news. The recently discovered concept of combining platelet-rich plasma with laser is quite effective in giving a new fresh look to the skin.
WHAT CAUSES THE SKIN TO APPEAR DULL?
You may not wish to hear this, but the key reason for a dull complexion is sheer neglect. If you are not getting enough sleep, drinking enough water or if you are exposing the skin to sun rays or not exfoliating your skin often enough, you're likely to end up with dull skin.
The other major cause is aging. Like all other parts of our body, our skin ages with age. As we get older the rate of natural exfoliation slows down. Below the age of 15, our skin renews every 14 days. However as we get to the age of 25 and above the skin takes double the time and exfoliates every 28 days. This resulting buildup of dead skin cells can leave the skin looking dull or grey.
WHAT THERAPY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections has been an effective treatment for dull skin for a while, but recently what's being offered is the combination of laser and PRP. These injections are not just to rejuvenate and give a glow to the skin, it can also be used for treating the eye area, improving skin tone and texture, wrinkled neck, back of hands and even hair fall.
PRP's key feature is derived from your body, your blood and your plasma so there's nothing artificial about it, making it a natural way of rejuvenating. PRP can be applied to both men and women, especially those aged 30 or above.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Platelets are very small cells in your blood that are involved in the clotting process. As they go in the clot they release a number of enzymes to promote healing and tissue responses including attracting stem cells to repair the damaged area. When used in injured or sun and time damaged tissue they can induce the skin to think there's a wound and remodel by repairing and replacing itself resulting in a healthier skin. PRP combined with fractional laser has showed increased amount of collagen and number of fibroblasts which means increased skin elasticity.
WHAT'S THE PROCEDURE TO EXPECT?
Basically the skin is numbed with a topical anaesthetic cream and a fraction of your own blood drawn off, spun down and then reapplied or injected to create improved tissue health. Before injecting the blood back, laser light and a small amount of calcium chloride solution is added to the syringe of PRP to produce platelet rich plasma. When the skin receives this solution, it feels there's a wound and so to repair the wounded skin the body reacts by stimulating collagen.
The procedure takes about 30 to 40 minutes, and can pretty much be classified as a treatment with no or minimal side effects because it's just removing and re-injecting your own blood. At present, two methods of PRP preparation has been approved by US Food and Drug Administration and the others are in the process of attaining approval.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO SEE RESULTS?
Even one session, costing between 18,000 to 25,000 baht, should be enough to see results. If you are aware of your skin texture and structure you may notice some early changes within a week. Otherwise, this is a gradual process and results start showing three to six months after the treatment, so it would be best to wait for three months after the session before making a judgement.
Dr Nantapat Supapannachart is an American Board-certified dermatologist and laser surgeon.
About the author
- Writer: Dr Nantapat Supapannachart