Our bodies are incredible systems. When we get injured, our blood immediately rushes to the affected area, delivering with it a ton of different molecules that stimulate tissue regeneration. PRP and PRF are two treatments that harness the body’s natural healing power in a targeted manner, to stimulate healing and renewal.
Both have become popular treatments for hair loss and skin rejuvenation. But what’s the difference between them? And which is better? In this post, we’ll explain it all with a PRP vs PRF showdown.
What is PRP?
PRP is the first-generation version of this unique injectable treatment. The term PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma, a material that’s created by centrifuging the patient’s own blood. Through fast spinning and the addition of anti-coagulant, we’re able to separate plasma from other blood constituents. The result is a concentrated liquid that’s rich in platelet, which are cells with anti-inflammatory and healing abilities.
Nowadays, PRP treatments are primarily used for hair restoration. Research shows again and again that PRP injections are very effective at activating the hair follicles and stimulating new hair growth, especially when it comes to hormonal hair loss. PRP is also popular as a skin rejuvenation treatment and has wound-healing applications.
What Is PRF?
PRF stands for platelet-rich fibrin, and it’s the second-generation version of PRP. Like PRP, PRF is also created by drawing and then centrifuging blood. The key difference is that with PRF, the blood is spun more slowly for a slightly longer period of time, without any coagulants or additives.
This results in a slightly different constituent breakdown. Instead of pure plasma, PRF is a fibrin matrix that includes more platelets (and platelet-derived growth factors), more white blood cells, and fibrin, which is a connective protein that forms a mesh-like network that holds all of those beneficial constituents.
PRF treatments were first investigated for surgical recovery, especially in dentistry. That’s because PRF is able to stimulate both tissue and bone regrowth, for better recovery after dental operations.
As a beauty treatment, PRF is quite young, but it’s especially promising as a natural, minimally invasive solution for deep wrinkles, skin texture, and hollow or dark under-eyes. Its potential in treating hair loss is very promising, as well, although research is still being conducted.
PRP vs PRF Comparison
So how do PRP and PRF compare? These are the main consideration factors:
With both PRP and PRF treatments, the patient’s own blood is first withdrawn. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge, and as it spins, its main components are separated.
More blood is withdrawn with PRP. It’s then centrifuged at a more rapid speed and coagulated with an additive, which separates plasma rich in platelets and other growth factors.
For PRF, the blood is centrifuged more slowly, without any additives. The result is a material that’s even richer in platelets and also includes other components that stimulate growth and healing.
Both materials are then injected into the skin in a targeted manner, using a needle or, as we prefer at Discovery Laser, a microneedling device that allows for better control and distribution.
The key difference between PRP and PRF is the composition. Both contain platelets, which are cells that contain the growth factors that stimulate the healing cascade that’s behind both PRF and PRP’s incredible effects.
With PRP, those platelets are found in plasma which is a clear liquid component of blood. An anticoagulant is added to the plasma, to prevent clotting and keep it injectable. Unfortunately, that anticoagulant can compromise some of PRP’s healing effects. It also speeds the release of the platelets once injected, which reduces their capacity to impact the skin.
With PRF, on the other hand, the platelets are found in a mesh-like protein. The number of platelets is higher, and they also contain a more diverse collection of growth factors, which helps stimulate healing and tissue regeneration more thoroughly. Since there is no coagulant in the blend, the fibrin releases the growth factors slowly, for a longer period of action.
Because of PRF’s higher number of different growth factors and the slower release into the skin, it’s the stronger treatment and has more robust results. Research so far suggests that it’s the better option for tissue healing, although direct comparative studies in vivo are limted.
In the aesthetic realm, both PRP and PRF were effective at fading acne scars, but PRF had the greater impact of the two.
When it comes to stimulating hair growth, there have yet to be any comparative studies. Research on PRF as a hair growth treatment is incredibly exciting and promising, but the level of evidence isn’t there yet when compared to PRP. While we suspect that PRF will come out as the winner in the long term, PRP definitely has more data to justify its usage.
Which Is Better, PRF or PRP?
So which one is better, PRP or PRF? On the one hand, PRP has been around for a lot longer so its efficacy is very well-established, especially when it comes to stimulating hair growth. On the other hand, PRF is the exciting newcomer that holds greater potential, thanks to its higher quantity of healing components and slower release of growth factors.
If you’re interested in anti-aging and facial rejuvenation, we think PRF is the better treatment. We eagerly await more data on PRF for hair loss, but until that’s available, we think it makes more sense to start with a PRP hair treatment, which is backed by more research.
Finally, it’s important to consider your specific concerns, budget, and how many treatments you’re willing to undergo. Maybe you’ll have an easier time achieving your desired results with a laser facial, Botox injection, or RF microneedling session.
You can always get in touch with our team at Discovery Laser. We’d be happy to learn more about your needs and concerns, and recommend the treatment that’s most likely to give you the results you want, whether it’s PRP, PRF, or something totally different!