“I find that clients are extremely grateful for a non-filler option,” says Kelly DeWolfe, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse at Chicago’s lofty Elevare MD medi spa as we talk about the futuristic beauty benefits that brides are tapping in the form of PRP (aka Platelet Rich Plasma) or “starter filler,” as DeWolfe affectionately refers to it. She finds the treatment, which utilizes the power of one’s own body, especially helpful for clients searching for a natural alternative to injectables and brides “who aren’t ready to make the dive to true fillers.”
What Is PRP?
“It’s like a nutrient-packed drink for your skin,” DeWolfe explains of the clear substance, which when injected can stimulate collagen and revitalize skin’s surface with stunning results that are constantly under study for their seemingly miraculous healing qualities. “Often brides are seeking a refresh to look and feel their best on their wedding day—they don’t want to look different, they just want to glow—and that is what PRP will do.”
During a session, blood is drawn from the arm with a tiny butterfly needle then placed in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the clear plasma or PRP (aka starter filler). The starter filler can then be injected into a desired area via cannula (imagine a hair-thin safety needle that can’t puncture delicate blood vessels) to maximize comfort and minimize the chance of bruising. DeWolfe notes that because the substance is coming straight from your own body, “the chance of any unwanted effects is almost zero.” A sizeable benefit which isn’t always the case when choosing between mysterious filler ingredients that can often share the same basic components as plaster. Yes, plaster.
Starter Filler vs Traditional Injectables
“Many people fear the overdone look that has become so common,” says DeWolfe of traditional options. “While some of my clients transition to real filler at some point, others are happy with starter filler indefinitely.” She adds that unlike artificial injectables, brides should expect to plan ahead. “Starter filler does not offer the instant gratification of traditional filler. PRP works over time so I recommend starting at least six months before the big day—a stand-alone treatment will provide results, but the most dramatic change comes with a series of three or more.” And with negligible downtime and the biggest risk being bruising (which thanks to DeWolfe’s ballerina-light hands, isn’t an issue), there’s no need to fear the needle. Short term effects include immediate plumping that simulates the look of facial filler, which dissipates over the next one to two days. Long term, one can expect an improvement in skin texture, fine lines, and radiance.
Where It Works
DeWolfe reports that even clients in their 20s often notice crepiness of their lower eyelid skin, which can often be softened with the procedure. “Tear troughs are my absolute favorite for starter filler,” she admits. “The PRP will help rejuvenate the skin, minimizing fine lines and dark circles. Like magic.” And for anyone hoping to master feathered arches for their big day, eyebrows are another area that can see significant results. “If you aren’t ready for microblading, PRP will help give your brows a little extra fullness by optimizing the health of the follicle,” says DeWolfe.
For a complete rejuvenation process for face, neck, and décolleté, a round of starter filler can be paired with Vivace Microneedling (microneedling with radiofrequency) which uses tiny gold-tipped needles to create superfine channels in the skin that can easily absorb PRP when applied on the surface after each pass. Since both Vivace and starter filler use PRP, a client can knock out both sessions with only one blood draw. “We typically include starter filler with our PRP microneedling treatments, clients appreciate the extra touch and we love the improved results,” says DeWolfe of the appointments she describes as “truly synergistic.”
For those who want to believe, PRP offers an opportunity to recover rather than remold, reducing the usual aesthetic risks. At its core, starter filler is a modern alternative for brides willing to play the long game.