Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure that’s primarily used to minimize the signs of aging.

During a standard session, a dermatologist uses a special roller or device with needles to prick the skin and stimulate new collagen production. Because of this, microneedling is also known as collagen induction therapy or percutaneous collagen induction.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), as an injection or topically, can be added to the session for an additional cost. It may improve the healing and decrease the duration of redness and swelling seen after microneedling.

Microneedling with PRP has been shown in some studies to improve outcomes in those undergoing microneedling for acne scars, but the evidence is currently inconclusive.

Read on to learn more about the benefits, costs, and possible risks of adding PRP to a microneedling treatment.

Traditional microneedling is used to treat everything from age spots and wrinkles to scarring and certain forms of hyperpigmentation. PRP may boost these effects and help you achieve your desired results faster.

Although microneedling can be used to treat scars and stretch marks on other areas of the body, most studies with PRP and scars seem to be focused on treatment of the face.

The term vampire facial is typically used to refer to microneedling with PRP used topically, afterward.

Most patients are good candidates for this type of the procedure, with few contraindications to treatment existing.

It may not be the best option for you if you:

  • are pregnant
  • use or recently used Accutane for acne
  • still have active acne resulting in new scarring
  • have certain skin conditions, such as facial eczema or rosacea
  • scar easily
  • have a history of poor wound healing
  • have undergone skin radiation in the last 12 months

Your doctor will evaluate your medical history to determine if you’re a good candidate for microneedling with PRP.

Microneedling with PRP is considered an elective aesthetic procedure. Medical insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures, so you’ll have to pay for the procedure out of pocket.

Some estimates put a microneedling treatment with PRP at around $750 per session, but prices may vary depending on location and provider.

By comparison, a typical microneedling session for the face costs about $300. Keep in mind that the higher cost reflects the base cost of the microneedling with the addition of the PRP treatment.

As with other types of microneedling, you’ll need more than one treatment to see full results. Most people need anywhere from three to six sessions, with one session done about every four weeks. Given this, your total cost could end up being between $2,250 to $4,500.

Microneedling with PRP isn’t cheap, but it’s less expensive than more invasive surgeries. You can also talk to your provider about potential ways to offset any anticipated costs. Some offices are willing to work with you. They may be able to arrange:

  • payment plans
  • membership discounts
  • third-party financing
  • package pricing

Although this is a minimally invasive treatment, it’s important to find a medically trained professional to perform the procedure and guide you through the process. Ideally, this should be a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon.

It’s a good idea to conduct “meet-and-greets” with prospective doctors before booking your session. Ask them about their experience and certifications at this time.

A qualified doctor will also have a portfolio of before and after images of clients they’ve worked on to give you an idea of the anticipated results.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your treatment. This may include:

  • avoiding unprotected and excessive sun exposure or tanning several weeks before your appointment
  • drinking lots of water in the days before your appointment
  • arranging a ride home from your appointment (which may not be entirely necessary depending on the office’s protocol)
  • arriving with a bare face (you may cleanse that morning, but you should avoid wearing makeup or moisturizer)

Microneedling with PRP is a quick process compared to other cosmetic procedures.

Before

Arrive at your provider’s office at least 15 minutes before your appointment. This will give you time to finish up any last-minute paperwork or payments.

When you’re ready, your nurse or doctor may give you a gown to change into. After cleansing your skin, your doctor will apply a topical anesthetic. This will need to set for at least 30 minutes before microneedling begins.

Some offices may ask you to apply the anesthetic before you come into the office.

During

The actual procedure involves two steps. The microneedling portion lasts about 30 minutes, depending on the areas treated. During this time your doctor will roll a professional-grade derma roller or FDA-approved device on the desired areas on your face.

A syringe of blood will be drawn, usually from your arm, while your face is numbing. The blood is then put into a centrifuge, which separates the PRP from other components of the blood.

The PRP solution is then massaged into the treatment area, usually after microneedling. The microneedling treatment creates small controlled micropunctures in the skin, allowing for penetration of the PRP.

In the past, PRP has been injected into the skin, but it’s becoming more of a common practice to use it along with microneedling.

After

Once the procedure is finished, your doctor may apply a serum or balm to help soothe any redness and irritation. You may also have the option to put on makeup to camouflage any temporary side effects.

Unless an adverse reaction occurs, you’re free to go home at this point. Although many people are comfortable enough to drive home, arranging a ride home in advance can help alleviate any uncertainty.

Bruises and inflammation, including swelling and redness, are the most common side effects. They typically appear immediately after the procedure and clear within four to six days.

You’ll also want to avoid sun exposure and harsh skin treatments during this time. It’s important that you don’t rub or pick at your face. Sun protection is also very important.

The good news is that PRP contains your own blood, so there’s little chance of cross-contamination or infection. Rare, but serious, complications include infection and scarring.

If you have a history of herpes simplex, or cold sores, it’s also possible that you may have an outbreak from having this procedure done. Let your provider know if you’ve ever had cold sores.

Recovery for this procedure is relatively minimal. You can go back to school or work the next day if you wish.

There may still be some redness and other signs of minor irritation, but you’ll want to avoid applying too many products to your skin.

Simply cleanse once a day and moisturize as needed. If desired, follow with a lightweight foundation or powder to minimize redness. Your doctor may also recommend or provide products to help your skin recover.

You’ll want to avoid alcohol-based products and exfoliants during the recovery stage. Proper sun protection is also very important.

Until your skin has completely healed, avoid rigorous activities that might cause excessive sweating and heat production. Examples include running, playing tennis, and heavy workouts.

Sweating may cause additional irritation, and rigorous activities may increase the risk of swelling or bruising. This usually should be avoided for at least 72 hours after your treatment.

Using PRP alongside traditional microneedling treatments may improve the scars on your face, but the evidence is still inconclusive.

Although research is inconclusive about its effectiveness in facial rejuvenation, the downsides to adding PRP to microneedling appear to be minimal, aside from cost.

More studies need to be conducted on the utility of PRP and microneedling. It’ll likely take several treatments to see results.

After you finish your course of treatment, you may need to follow up with your doctor for potential maintenance, depending on the indication for your treatment.

If your doctor determines that you need a maintenance session, be prepared to spend the same amount per session as you did for your initial treatment.

Your first step is to schedule a free consultation with a prospective provider. At this point, you’ll want to ask them questions you have about the procedure, as well as discuss any associated costs.

Once you start undergoing treatment, you’ll need to follow your provider’s instructions for each session. The treatment sessions are usually spaced out a few weeks apart. Skipping sessions will ultimately curtail the anticipated results.

You’ll also want to touch base with your doctor if any unusual side effects develop post-treatment. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop excessive bleeding, swelling, or signs of an infection.