When she turned 40, Margot Kessler began plumping her fine lines with injections of lab-synthesized filler and softening her forehead furrows with Botox, the popular neurotoxin that works by paralyzing muscles. But recently, she started to feel as if these procedures were out of sync with her natural lifestyle.
“I work out every day. I don’t want [to eat] GMOs or pesticides,” the Bergen County, NJ-based mom, now 47, tells The Post. “I’m doing all this stuff for a healthy body, and I’m putting toxins in my face? It suddenly struck me as a disconnect.’’ So when Dr. Erica Walters at Park Avenue Skin Solutions in Tribeca suggested platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections from Kessler’s own blood as an alternative, she was open to the idea.
Derived by spinning a patient’s blood in a centrifuge and separating out the part that is full of growth factors (a process that takes 15 minutes), PRP is then injected back into the skin. It’s a step beyond the gruesome-looking “vampire facial” popularized by Kim Kardashian, in which PRP is applied topically. A series of three treatments spaced a month apart is recommended to stimulate collagen growth, improve texture and reduce fine lines. The cost is about $1,000 per treatment — don’t look to your insurance company to cover it — and while there isn’t the instant gratification of fillers, Kessler reports a marked improvement.
“After about a week I started to see a glow, and it just got better; by the third treatment, my skin was smoother and plumper,’’ she says.
Walters reports that many patients who have similar concerns as Kessler have been opting for PRP. “I’ve had a lot of people who don’t want to do filler or Botox anymore because they no longer want to put something foreign in their bodies,’’ she says.
Ellen Abramowitz, a 59-year-old branding consultant who lives in Fort Lee, NJ, visited the Park Avenue office of cosmetic dermatologist Neil Sadick in September for PRP injections.
“I’m a big proponent of doing anything you can to look fresher, and I’m always looking for something new,’’ she says. “The notion that this is natural was intriguing, and it turned out to be supereasy and not at all painful.”
Plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Silich, who recently opened Park West Medical Spa on the Upper West Side with orthopedic surgeon Tom Scilaris, points out that using boosters from your own body is part of a larger medical wave. “The big trend in medicine and cancer research now is ‘turning on’ people’s own immune systems,’’ he says. “PRP also ‘turns on’ your own body to improve the quality of skin, which is a better way to go than using fillers your body breaks down over the course of six months because it is reacting to something that shouldn’t be there.’’
PRP was initially used in orthopedics.
“It was first shown to be beneficial for healing tendon tears,’’ says Scilaris. Research published in July 2016 by the American Journal of Orthopedics concluded, “Current literature has exhibited that PRP injections are relatively safe and can potentially accelerate or augment the soft tissue healing process.’’ Complications can include local infection and pain at the site of the injection.
Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo says the number of patients asking for PRP at her Park Avenue office has tripled from a year ago, and she’s also now using the procedure to stimulate hair growth. “My patients like the fact that they can’t develop an allergic reaction because the injections come from their own blood,” she says. “As far as hair growth, this is the first procedure I’ve been able to suggest that has dramatic results and doesn’t need daily upkeep.’’
According to Sadick, pharmaceutical giants that have had a booming business producing fillers and toxins are quaking at the prospect of natural alternatives.
“Companies are fearful there could be a shift,’’ he says.
And perhaps they should be nervous. Many whose careers require them to look their best are starting to experiment with PRP. Midtown resident and actress Leesa Rowland opted for PRP with aesthetic nurse Jane Scher. “I don’t want fake fillers in my face now,’’ she says. “I did these injections in July and again in August. It’s more natural, and I look really vibrant on camera.’’
Kessler echoes the sentiment. “I feel like a retouched photo,’’ she beams.