updated 24 Dec 2010, 02:14
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Fri, Dec 10, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
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Get some new blood into your skin-literally

WHEN HE was the world's No.1 golfer, Tiger Woods had four injections of platelet-rich plasma in his left knee after surgery. The treatment consisted of drawing the patient's blood and turning it in a centrifuge to extract the platelets and use them to heal wounds. The therapy helped Woods make a spectacular comeback before he was hit by scandal.

Today, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is touted as the latest in rejuvenation, particularly in improving the skin's appearance.

"Because you use your own blood, it does away with any possible allergy to foreign products. We get your blood, approximately eight to 10 cc, using a special test tube that separates the platelet from the red blood cells. This platelet concentrate looks like clear jello and is activated with calcium," explains Dr. Raissa Francisco of Skin Dermatology and Laser Center at The Spa at The Fort.

"We make tiny injections in the skin. It gets red in the process, but you don't go home with a bloody face. The body interprets the pricks as wounds. The platelets signal the wound healing process to begin. They recruit the natural stem cells, the progenitor cells of your body," she says.

Platelets help to control bleeding and remedy damaged blood vessels and cells in the body. They contain substances called growth factors that recharge cells and help in their recovery. The growth factors, when released, drive the creation of collagen (an essential skin building block), tissue repair, and growth of new capillaries to make the skin look healthier.

Aging skin has decreased collagen production and lesser ability to retain moisture. "After a session, the skin is smoother and tighter," says Francisco. The cell growth and new collagen enable the skin to retain its moisture and improve its firmness.

Francisco says the procedure initially requires three consecutive sessions done fortnightly. PRP therapy is also recommended for fine lines under the eye, wrinkles, nasolabial folds, crepe-textured necks, acne marks and blotchy skin.

Compared to other conventional anti-aging procedures, PRP lasts longer-about a year-while others last only for a few months.

"PRP is recommended for those who want textural change. Some people don't have jowls, but are exposed to the sun at a young age. They have fine lines. The skin is rough. They would be good candidates for PRP. It can also be used on the hands, which show age. Women take care of their faces but neglect the hands. It's also used for balding pates, but I'm more confident about the results for the face," says Francisco.

The side effects are minimal-swelling for three hours and puffy eyes. Nonetheless, there's no downtime like in other anti-aging procedures.

Like other centers, Skin Dermatology and Laser Center has been offering other advanced anti-aging procedures, says Francisco, a member of the Philippine Dermatological Society. There are treatments using radio frequency or electromagnetic energy that penetrate the lower layers of skin without injuring the upper layer. That energy activates heat and causes a slight wounding, which tells the body to heal itself, facilitating the compression and tightening of existing collage, and activiate new collagen and elastin.

The tip of the new-generation machine is also more comfortablewhen used on the patient. "The procedure is good for lifting sagging jowls and cheeks and a crepe-like neck," says Francisco. Since new collagen takes four to six months to mature, the results are visible, yet subtle.

Spot reducing without undergoing the knife is also a major concern. The center's new procedures target subcutaneous fat and help get rid of it. They require fewer sessions than other procedures, with patients losing an average of four centimeters in the initial session, Francisco says.

Skin Dermatology and Laser Center is located at The Spa at The Fort, Bldg. 8, 908 Bonifacio High Street, Taguig. tel. nos. 403-8000, 856-5858, and 856-3053.


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