Dynamic Duo

Microneedling, PRP combo revitalizes skin (and even removes stretch marks).

Reba*, a 44-year-old Florida native and mother of two, is passionate about all that the Sunshine State has to offer. She spends most of her weekends with her children at the beach, a local spring or out on the boat.

The only problem is that ever since she gave birth to her children, she’s been self-conscious about the look of her belly in a bathing suit.

“Both times I was pregnant, I developed really bad stretch marks,” Reba explains. “While I was pregnant, they were red and purple, and I was told they’d fade away over time following the pregnancies, but they never did. They just changed color.

“They became white, and I had them on my stomach obviously and even my thighs. They almost looked like tiger stripes, and I was always very conscious of them. I wouldn’t say I was embarrassed by them, but I knew it wasn’t my best look.

“Being outside and in the water as much as I am, it’s something I’d wanted to take care of for a long time. But I didn’t know what could be done about it. Then one day a few months ago, my sister showed me an article she read in Florida Health Care News about microneedling.

“It was about this amazing skin treatment that reduces fine lines and wrinkles and things like that, but the article said this treatment was also great on acne scars and stretch marks. When I saw that, I thought, Maybe I should give it a try.

Liquid Gold

The article Reba read was about a treatment available at the Dean Wellness Institute, which is the Vero Beach-based practice of Melissa Dean, MD, who also holds a master’s degree in metabolic and nutritional medicine.

Dr. Dean specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which is considered the most natural and effective solution for hormone-
related issues, and adrenal support therapy. Her clinic also offers IV therapy and aesthetic treatments such as neuromodulators, hyaluronic acid based fig lers, and, of course microneedling with PRP.

After reading the article, Reba made an appointment for a consultation with one of Dr. Dean’s aesthetic consultants. There she was able to ask questions about the treatment, which begins with Angela or Becky drawing blood from the patient. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge, where the PRP, or platelet rich plasma, is extracted from the blood.

“We do a typical blood draw, and once that blood is in the centrifuge, there’s a kit we use that separates the red blood cells from the plasma and the PRP,”
Dr. Dean educates. “What you’re left with is what we refer to as liquid gold.

“That’s the plasma with all the growth factors, which is the PRP itself. We then put that into a syringe and we disperse it like a lotion across the targeted area while we’re performing the microneedling.”

Microneedling is a process that uses tiny needles to promote collagen induction therapy where the body produces new skin cells and strategically stimulated collagen that can be targeted for problem areas. During the microneedling process, Becky or Angela make multidirectional passes that cover the entire face, neck and chest while focusing more on areas that need more attention.

“When performing microneedling, the body’s response is to send growth factors from inside the body to the site of the microtraumas,” Dr. Dean explains. “With PRP, we’re now applying growth factors to the outside of those microtraumas as well.

“By itself, microneedling is an excellent skin rejuvenation tool. By combining it with PRP, which contains natural growth factors obtained from the patient’s blood, the rejuvenation process is enhanced exponentially.”

No Downtime

The entire treatment, including prep, blood draw, and procedure lasts only about an hour. Dr. Dean emphasizes that it’s not what some might think.

“People hear the word needles and they sometimes think we’re talking about an injection with a big needle; it’s not that at all,” she says. “The microneedling pen we use contains about two dozen fine-tipped needles. And depending on the area we’re treating, we can set different depths at which the needles penetrate the skin.

“For the forehead, for example, there’s not a lot of fat in that area, so we don’t go very deep there. But with areas such as the cheeks, legs or abdomen, where there’s a little more fat, we can go deeper. We also go deeper when trying to eliminate scars. But if we’re just getting rid of fine lines and wrinkles, we don’t need to go as deep.”

“And that’s what most people come in for – fine lines, wrinkles and skin tightening. That’s because as we age our bodies don’t produce as much collagen. But by combining microneedling with PRP, we can produce some of that missing collagen.

“And there’s no downtime with this treatment. I’ve personally had it done, and the effects are like that of a slight sunburn. Someone can leave here after a treatment and literally go right back to work or to another appointment without any concerns.”

Dr. Dean says the remaining PRP is often sent home with the person undergoing the procedure to be used as a lotion during the healing process. Reba did that and says the results are far beyond what she expected.

“First of all, I want to say that the procedure was not painful at all,” Reba says. “I thought it might be a bit painful, but Becky numbed the area she was treating so all you feel in that area is a bit of vibration.

“It was recommended that I get three sessions a month apart, although I noticed those stretch marks fade after one treatment, and by the third they were no longer noticeable. My skin is also a lot softer and smoother.

“When I first decided to try this, I didn’t know what to expect, Becky really walked me through the process and explained step by step what they were doing. I am so happy with my results and glad to see it really works. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone! I mean, who couldn’t use a little extra collagen. I highly recommend Dr. Dean and her staff. They truly are exceptional.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.
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    • Dean Wellness Institute

      Dean Wellness Institute has been serving Vero Beach, FL and the surrounding areas for over 15 years. Their wellness institute is focused on providing a holistic approach to wellness and improved health. They work closely with their patients to ... Read More

    • Melissa Dean, MD

      Melissa Dean, MD, specializes in internal and general preventive medicine and is an expert in treating menopause and andropause. She has been trained in diabetes management, hormone replacement and nutrition. She earned a Bachelor of Science in... Read More