Blood therapy fights wrinkles

The days of aimlessly wandering the aisles of the chemist looking for skin tissue repair and anti­ageing treatments may be over – if you have cash at hand.

For about R3 000 you can pop into the doctor’s, have some blood taken from one part of your body and have it injected into another.

It’s called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, a treatment that is now being used to help rejuvenate the skin.

While some refer to it as Dracula botox, it is not the same as botox.

With PRP, blood is drawn from your body, then put in a filter and a centrifuge (a machine which separates substances) is used to prepare PRP.

Dr Kamlen Pillay, a doctor who administers PRP in Cape Town, said the only similarity between PRP and botox was that “they are both used for aesthetic purposes”.

It poses no risk of infection or allergy because the patient’s own blood is used, he claimed.

Dr Gavin Robertson, an orthopaedic surgeon from Cape Town, agreed that the treatment was “generally safe”.

“It is used for sports injuries ­because it has all the gross hormones and healing factors and there is a very low risk of infection,” he said.

Pillay said PRP could heal wounds, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, acne marks and sagging by inducing skin renewal.

But Deepak Narotam Patel, a clinical consultant at Discovery Vitality Wellness, said: “There isn’t a great amount of evidence which supports PRP use for ­wrinkles and the results of it are questionable.”

But he is aware of PRP treatment being used “extensively by reputable doctors” across the country to treat sports injuries.

Dr Duncan Carmichael from the Anti-Ageing Clinic in Cape Town, said PRP was a very gentle treatment. “Some people don’t see a difference and others see only a mild difference. It is for those who just want to put the most natural substance into their skin.”

Johannesburg resident Sarah Richards, who had the treatment done after seeing an advertisement at her doctor’s office, said she had the therapy done a month ago and was still pleased with the results.

“There was obviously a little bit of pain from the injection and it took a about three weeks to really see the difference, but it has helped with the wrinkles on my face quite a bit,” she said.

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