Sometimes referred to as ‘vampire injection’, platelet-rich plasma can be injected into a person’s face for facial rejuvenation to reduce wrinkles and other signs of ageing. REUTERS PIC

PLATELET-RICH plasma or PRP therapy is quite common these days; not just for medicinal purposes, but also for cosmetics and aesthetic reasons.

Basically, PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation.

PRP is a concentrated source for a number of growth and cellular signalling factors which play a crucial role in the biology of healing. Scientific studies suggest that PRP can be used to improve regeneration in tissue injuries.

For example, PRP can be injected into the body to repair damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints — it promotes tissue repair and accelerates healing. It can also treat lumbar spine disc pain, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder pain and instability, tennis and golfer’s elbow, hamstring and hip strain, knee sprain and osteoarthritis.

In recent years, the use of PRP has extended to the fields of cosmetics and aesthetic care, particularly for facial rejuvenation. Sometimes referred to as “vampire injection” by the media, the PRP, which is drawn from a person’s blood is injected back to his or her face. The facial skin is tightened, wrinkles are reduced and the face looks more vibrant. The technique has created a new wave in the current cosmetics and aesthetic trend.

In Islam, the use of blood and blood derivative products in the field of medicine and cosmetics is a controversial topic. Awareness within the Muslim community gives rise to the question of permissibility in the use of blood and blood derivative products from the Islamic perspective.

The mufti of the Federal Territories has provided an Islamic explanation on the matter. Based on Islamic jurisprudence, seeking and undergoing treatment to cure diseases and illnesses is generally permissible.

However, the permissibility is bound and influenced by certain requirements. One of the requirements is highlighted in the tradition of Prophet Muhammad, which was narrated by Abu Darda. The Prophet said: “Allah has sent down both the disease and cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves medically, but use nothing unlawful.”

This is supported by another hadith that said: “The Messenger of Allah prohibited unclean medicine.”

Both prophetic traditions require that all medicines being used to treat diseases and illnesses are not in the category of unclean or containing impurities. In Islam, blood and blood derivative products are considered unclean, thus are prohibited from being consumed and used for medical purposes.

However, the restriction on the use of blood and blood derivative products as medicine may be lifted under certain conditions.

FIRST, there is no alternative available to replace the medicine to treat a disease or illness; and,

SECOND, it is confirmed by medical experts that the medicine derived from blood is medically effective to cure the disease.

The conditional permission is recorded by Islamic scholars in their books. However, it is critically important to point out that the mufti of the Federal Territories has also reminded us that the conditional permissibility does not include the use of PRP for cosmetic purposes. This is based on the argument that cosmetics and beauty care, including combatting the sign of ageing, are not recognised as a crucial need according to the Islamic point of view.

Indeed, Islam encourages everyone to embrace the ageing process as part of a journey in this world. Every person should walk through it in full contentment towards God. The physical signs of ageing such as wrinkles and grey hair are forms of self-reflection for humans.

Allah has mentioned in the Quran: “Did We not grant you life enough for whoever would remember therein to remember... (Surah Fatir, Chapter 35, Verse 37).” As we age, it would do well for us to remember more about death.

The writer is a research officer, Centre for Science & Environment Studies, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia

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