Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) shows promise as an adjunctive treatment for atrophic acne scarring, according to recent research. However, experts say that with all PRP combinations used in acne scarring, treatment regimens, research protocols and clinical results remain highly variable.
Lack of standardization has hindered dermatologists’ assessments of adjunctive PRP and platelet-rich products as a whole, says Michael Hesseler, M.D., founder of Arch Dermatology Institute in St. Louis, Mo.
“It’s been diffcult to interpret the literature that’s available because of this lack of standardization,” he notes.
Many studies show that adding PRP to other modalities used to treat acne scars can be helpful. A meta-analysis of seven studies that was published online in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed that adding PRP to fractional laser treatment, microneedling or dermabrasion often provides significantly better improvement in acne scars.1 Due to the small number of studies that met inclusion criteria, however, these authors could draw no conclusions about specific combinations.
Conversely, a review by Hesseler et al. concluded that adding PRP to fractionally ablative CO2 laser improves acne scars, patient satisfaction and postprocedural symptoms.2 However, results regarding PRP with microneedling were mixed, and significant between-study heterogeneity precluded further analysis of microneedling or laser combinations. The review appeared online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Drs. Hesseler, Shyam and Huang report no relevant financial interests.
Dr. Tanghetti is a consultant for Cynosure, DEKA, Quanta, Cartessa and Aesthetics Biomedical but owns no stock in these companies.
1. Hsieh TS, Chiu WK, Yang TF, Wang HJ, Chen C. A meta-analysis of the evidence for assisted therapy with platelet-rich plasma for atrophic acne scars. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2019 Sep 10. doi: 10.1007/s00266-019-01471-w. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Hesseler MJ, Shyam N. Platelet-richplasma and its utility in the treatment of acne scars: a systematic review. J Am Acad Dermatol.2019;80:1730-1745.
3. HuangIH, Huang YC. Comment on “Platelet-rich plasmaand its utility in the treatment of acne scars: a systematic review.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 Sep 19. pii: S0190-9622(19)32761-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2019.09.024. [Epub ahead of print]