Botox vs. PRP Therapy: Substance Makes a Difference


You can go to your local aesthetic physician’s office and receive Botox injections as an alternative to the traditional facelift. People who are not keen on surgical procedures often do. But what if you’re not into Botox either? You have another alternative in PRP therapy.

PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy is an injection therapy just as Botox is. But the two therapies are decidedly different in two ways: their substance and mechanism. Moreover, the latter is defined by the former. In other words, the two substances involved in the injections determine the mechanisms behind how those injections work.

If you are confused, hold on. The following paragraphs describe the two procedures and how they work.

Botox Injections

Botox injections have been around in aesthetic medicine since the late 1980s. The cosmetic Botox procedure itself was given FDA approval in 1989, following several years of rigorous research. A new but similar procedure was approved by the FDA in 2002.

A Botox procedure involves injecting what is known as the botulinum toxin into the key areas of the face. The botulinum toxin is a neurotoxic protein produced by the same bacteria that causes botulism. There are eight different types of botulinum toxin, two of which are used in aesthetic medicine.

The Botox Mechanism

If you know anything about the botulinum toxin, you know that it is toxic – hence the name. So why would anyone want to use it in aesthetic medicine? Because it does wonderful things for making the skin look more youthful. The toxin essentially causes flaccid paralysis in muscle tissue, which causes the muscle tissue to relax.

Botox injections can improve the appearance of the skin by relaxing the muscles associated with wrinkles. Take crow’s feet, for example. Properly located Botox injections can relax the muscles around the eyes and thus cause the wrinkles to fade or completely disappear. The thing about Botox injections is that their benefits are only temporary. People who rely on them for aesthetic purposes need to have the shots on a regular schedule.

PRP Injections

PRP injections are relatively new to aesthetic medicine. They do not need FDA approval as long as a clinician takes care to utilize only autologous, minimally manipulated biological material. Let us define the terms to make this a bit more understandable.

Autologous biological material is material harvested from the person being treated. Your own blood is autologous to you. It is not autologous to someone else. As for minimally manipulated, the FDA defines it as material that has not been significantly altered from its natural state.

Salt Lake City-based Apex Biologix explains what this all means for aesthetic medicine. The procedure calls for blood drawn from the patient. That is the autologous component. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge in order to isolate platelets. Afterwards it is injected at various sites around the face. Because nothing else is added and the platelets are not altered in any other way, they are considered minimally manipulated by the FDA.

The PRP Mechanism

PRP therapy’s mechanism is one of signaling the body to do some sort of work. In the case of aesthetic medicine, the signal is for the body to start producing more collagen. This mechanism works because a lack of collagen is partly responsible for wrinkles. Loss of collagen means reduced elasticity in the skin which, in turn, causes wrinkles. Replace that collagen and wrinkles should fade or disappear.

Now you know the difference between Botox and PRP therapies. They are distinctly different, based on the substances used and the mechanisms behind those substances.