The Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) is a Utah-based training company that teaches doctors how to use stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) procedures to improve patient health. There are numerous applications for both procedures, including PRP injections to help improve the look of aging skin. In this regard, PRP injections are closely related to collagen production.
PRP injections involve drawing blood from the patient through a standard procedure. That blood is then processed in a specialized centrifuge to separate out the platelets. The resulting product is then injected at the treatment site for the purposes of stimulating the body to do what it normally does naturally, but at a higher level. This brings us to collagen production.
Since the early 1970s, doctors have known that blood plasma contains certain growth factors and nutrients the body uses to heal itself. In a scenario involving PRP injections, the growth factors are concentrated along with a higher concentration of platelets. Injecting the material encourages the body to produce more collagen and this is what helps improve the appearance of aging skin.
Why Collagen Matters
Collagen is a structural protein found in the connective tissues of most animals. In fact, it is considered the primary connective tissue due to it being the most abundant protein found in mammals. As much as 35% of the whole-body protein content in mammals is collagen. Unfortunately, the body does not produce collagen at a constant rate during a person’s lifetime. Collagen production diminishes as a person ages.
This matters in terms of the skin because collagen levels directly affect its appearance. Skin elasticity is a perfect example. It is elasticity that allows the skin to return to its normal position after being stretched. The skin relies on abundant connective tissue (a.k.a. collagen) to maintain its elasticity.
As a person ages, skin elasticity is lost commensurate with diminished collagen production. The result of the loss of elasticity is easily seen in wrinkles, sagging, and even those dark bags and circles under the eyes. Simply put, the skin just doesn’t look as young and fresh as it once did because its elasticity is diminished.
How PRP Injections Help
Doctors trained by ARMI learn all about collagen and why it helps improve the appearance of aging skin. They learn about concentrated platelets and their associated growth factors. They also learn about what happens to the PRP material once it is injected at the treatment site.
Upon injection, the PRP material initiates slight inflammation. Despite what many people believe, inflammation is a good thing. It tells the body that healing needs to happen. What has been termed by some doctors as a ‘healing cascade’ is quickly initiated as a result of the injection.
Platelets begin organizing and releasing enzymes that act as calling signals to stem cells. Those new stem cells arrive, then they begin to differentiate and replicate. Here’s where the collagen comes into play. The body recognizes that the skin needs more collagen. It then tells some of those stem cells to differentiate into collagen cells. As the collagen matures and multiplies, it strengthens and tightens the skin. Elasticity is improved along the way.
In summary, PRP treatment for aging skin is all about collagen. The more collagen, the tighter and more youthful skin appears.
Aesthetic physicians have been using PRP treatments to improve the appearance of aging skin since the 1970s. Over the course of more than 40 years, they have defined and redefined a procedure that is easy to implement, relatively safe, and quite effective for a lot of people.