Kate Beckinsale is ready to set the record straight about her flawless-looking skin: It's not because of Botox. "I haven’t had any!" the English actress told the Sunday Times in an interview about her upcoming film Jolt. "I’m not against people having it. [But] I do get pissed off. It’s sort of a given that I’ve had it, which I just literally haven’t. I’m frightened of paralyzing my face."
The 47-year-old credits her youthful glow, in part, to genetics. "My mum wouldn’t even get a facial, she is suspicious of anything like that, and looks f***ing radiant and amazing," she said. But the other part is a regular treatment that she does endorse, a type of procedure known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. "I do like PRP, when they take your blood [plasma and reinject it into your skin]. That’s a real thing, from your own body. But not with scary poisonous things!” she told the Sunday Times.
So what is PRP, and should people be considering it over Botox? Yahoo Life spoke with several dermatologists to get the answers. Here's what you need to know.
The procedure involves getting blood drawn, spun around and then reinjected into the face
"PRP for the face is typically combined with microneedling," says Dr. Norman Rowe, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York. Microneedling, according to Yale Medicine, is a process by which tiny needles are used to create small punctures where serums — or in this case, blood — can penetrate under the skin. Rowe says that after getting blood drawn, the sample is "put into a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma [PRP] from the rest of the components of the blood."
Dr. Dustin Portela, a board-certified dermatologist who runs a popular TikTok account with more than 1 million followers, elaborates on what this means. "As the centrifuge spins the tubes, the red blood cells and white blood cells separate from the platelets and the plasma in the blood," says Portela. "The platelets and plasma can then be drawn out of the tube and used for healing or cosmetic purposes."
Experts say to think of the plasma-rich protein as a "magical, rejuvenating serum"
Dr. Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, says what's left after the centrifuge is very powerful. "This magical, rejuvenating serum, derived from Mother Nature, is driven into the skin with small microneedles, which themselves create collagen by causing tiny trauma to the skin," says Gohara.
Collagen, a protein found throughout the body, is a part of what determines the skin's elasticity. Rowe says it's not the only thing that PRP may stimulate. "PRP can help with the production of collagen and elastin, the building blocks of skin," he says.
There isn't yet an abundance of evidence to prove that PRP works
Portela says that PRP has been used in many other areas such as "sports medicine and orthopedic surgeons for years" in order to "promote joint healing" but adds that it has begun to grow in popularity as a cosmetic procedure. "PRP has many reports for efficacy in healing and cosmetic purposes. However, this evidence is not as robust as many dermatologists would like to see it," he says. "Most of the reports are individual cases or small case series. The efficacy of PRP may largely depend on the method of preparation, which can vary from clinic to clinic. Additionally, the underlying health status of the patient may play a role as healthier patients are more likely to have healthier plasma."
Major risks include bruising, bleeding and infection
Gohara says that the main risks can be irritation or scarring, especially if the procedure is performed "by the wrong hands." Portela adds additional things to consider. "As with any procedure that breaks the skin, there is a risk of bleeding and infection," he says. "These risks are usually small, however. The product being used is coming from one's own body so there is not a risk of the body rejecting the product. There have been reports in the news about contamination between patients undergoing PRP, so I recommend this procedure be done under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist."
PRP and Botox are very different procedures but can work together "like peanut butter and jelly"
"PRP is a builder of collagen and elastin to thicken the skin and diminish wrinkles. Botox stops the muscles from moving, which stops the wrinkles from forming for the period of time it is active, usually three months," says Rowe. "These treatments are not mutually exclusive. They can and should be combined."
Gohara agrees. "PRP builds collagen and tightens and tones," she says. "Botox paralyzes muscles to reduce wrinkles. They should be used together, like peanut butter and jelly." Portela says that PRP comes with longer-term anti-aging benefits. "Our ability to produce collagen diminishes with age, which contributes to the appearance of lines and wrinkles," he says. "PRP can be a great preventative treatment by promoting healthy collagen and elasticity to the skin." But he notes that the procedure can be riskier, given that it is not standardized, like Botox.
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