Skin is the largest body organ that is of paramount importance for our beauty and overall health.
For understanding about skin rejuvenation, the underlying mechanisms of its aging are to be clarified.
Being an “outer cover” of our body, skin is constantly exposed to external factors affecting its physiology. The main extrinsic factor of skin aging is low grade chronic ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure inducing damage of cells in different skin layers and reducing their physiological activity through the release of pro-inflammatory molecules that, in their turn, initiate chronic aseptic inflammation regarded as one of the key mechanisms of aging-associated skin changes.
Inflammation-associated molecules activate enzymes damaging collagen and elastin fibers forming extracellular matrix surrounding skin cells and responsible for skin elasticity and firmness. Atrophy of extracellular matrix atrophy in combination with decreased functional activity of skin cells result in age-related skin wrinkling. On top of that, decrease in the number of skin blood vessels represents additional mechanism of skin aging resulting in reduced supply of oxides and nutrients to skin tissues. In short, skin-aging mechanisms are follows:
- UVR-induced cell damage
- chronic inflammation
- damage of extracellular matrix proteins
- reduced blood supply to skin tissues
- oxidative stress
How can our blood counteract these mechanisms of skin aging?
Scientific studies have shown that our blood can be used as a source of biologically active molecules significantly enhancing regenerative capacity of tissues. These molecules are stored in the platelets - small bodies in the peripheral blood responsible for hemostasis and initiation of tissue repair mechanisms. Upon activation, platelets release variety of biologically active molecules, which results in:
- inflammation subsidence
- inhibition of enzymes damaging extracellular matrix
- skin cells stimulation
- upregulation of blood vessel formation (angiogenesis)
- stimulation of mesenchymal stem cell migration (these cells responsible for regeneration of connective tissue)
However, it is important to point out that pronounced anti-aging effect is only possible with very high platelet count. Normal platelet count ranges from 150 000 to 350 000 /µL and does not suffice for anti-aging treatment. In order to “unleash” the hidden anti-aging power of platelets, their concentration should be no less than 1000 000 /µL. This is achievable through two-phase blood centrifugation: 1 - separation of blood cells from plasma and platelets; 2 – platelets concentration - platelet rich plasma (PRP) with high amount of bioactive molecules for tissue regeneration.
Randomized clinical trial that included a large number of patients with the signs of skin aging confirmed efficiency of PRP for skin condition improvement.
Since PRP originates from the patient’s own (autologous) blood, it is safe and, as a part of customized treatment plan, can be easily combined with stem cell therapy and other procedures.