ISLAMABAD: A fast growing cosmetic trend used to address aging and hair fall in Pakistan is one that puts a special ingredient to work: your own blood!
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, popularly known as a “vampire facial,” takes tiny particles of protoplasm from an individual’s bloodstream, turns them into concentrated injectable form, and uses them to treat a range of issues, such as aging skin, hair fall and joint pain. The procedure can also be used for sexual rejuvenation.
The method became popular in recent years after people, particularly celebrities in the West, started sharing photos of “vampire facials” on social media that showed their faces covered with spots of their own blood.
Now, Pakistani practitioners of the treatment say it is becoming “rapidly popularly” in the country to address symptoms of aging like fine lines and dullness.
“PRP has become quite popular in Pakistan in the last five to six years, and we perform 20 to 30 treatments a month,” said Dr. Mazhar Hussain, who owns and operates My Hair Clinic in Islamabad since 2004. The clinic also has branches in Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.
“They are relatively fast procedures as well,” he said. “They do not take hours and there is hardly any downtime, if done correctly and in keeping with international standards. They do not force you to be out of your social circle for an extended period. Some people may prefer to stay off the grid for a day or two, but even that is not required in most cases.”
Explaining the procedure, Dr. Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur told Arab News: “It’s a concentration of one type of cell, known as platelets, which circulate through blood and are critical for its clotting.”
The sample is then put into a centrifuge where it is separated into parts and made ready for use, said the doctor who operates a popular clinic in Lahore.
“The liquid plasma portion of blood contains many factors that are essential for cell recruitment, multiplication, and specialization that are required for healing purposes,” Taimur said. “We call them cell growth factors.”
The procedure is “short and seamless,” said Maryam Mahmood, editor of Pakistani lifestyle magazine Weekend.
“I was able to meet people the same day since nothing was truly visible,” said the journalist, who has used the treatment herself. “Unless you have incredibly sensitive skin or a very fair complexion, you don’t see any trace of the treatment when you go out.”
Mahmood was recommended the procedure by a dermatologist as she tried to address skin concerns like pigmentation and scarring.
“I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely life changing, though it’s a nice thing that should be done once in a while,” she said. “You can feel that your skin is more radiant, glowy, bouncy and even.”
Mehrbano Raja, who works in the development sector in Lahore, has used PRP as a treatment for hair loss.
“The doctor sort of sweet-talked me into it,” she said over the phone. “But the result? Well, it was so excellent that I kept going back.”
Raja saw results the very next day, saying there was a “drastic and undeniable” reduction in hair fall.