PRP: Is This Treatment The Right Choice For My Hair Loss?
If you are balding, you have certainly considered different options to stop your hair from receding, thinning or even falling out. Nowadays there are many options available, but little to no proven methods that actually show significant data to stop your hair from falling out.
Luckily more and more research has been conducted over the last years to combat hair loss and hair thinning in both male and female hair.
One of the newest techniques is called Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment, where a gel is made from a patient’s blood and injected into their scalp to stop – and maybe even reverse – the hair loss.
Keep in mind though that this treatment is not considered to be a miracle cure for your hair loss or hair thinning and does not work on dead or inactive hair follicles.
The treatment has shown significant improvements for those who started with it when they started noticing hair shedding or an increase in hair loss or hair thinning.
Is PRP The Right Choice For Me?
The treatment mainly aims for people with thinning hair and those, who suffer from androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness). Unfortunately, the treatment is not suitable for everyone since it strengthens the follicles that are still active.
If you have already lost your hair, or have significant bald patterns on your scalp, this treatment is not for you. If you still have hair, though, and you see that it starts to thin, you should consider undergoing this treatment.
However, PRP is considered as a complementary procedure to other surgical and non-surgical hair restoration procedures and should not be used by patients that have severe medical conditions for example skin diseases, chronic liver disease or cancer, metabolic or systemic disorders, or any type of platelet dysfunction syndrome.
Always consider with your doctor first before you start any treatment.
If your overall healthy and have consulted with your doctor about the treatment, you’re good to go. If PRP is not the right choice for you, you can still fight your hair loss with different methods, such as Laser Hair Therapy or using supplements, shampoos, and conditioners or even consider investing in a hairpiece for thinning hair.
What is PRP?
The treatment takes around two hours and involves taking blood from the patients, which is then put in a centrifuge to separate the plasma and the platelets from the red blood cells.
This technique can also be found in the treatment for wrinkles and fine lines for the face as well as for several sports-related injuries. It has been used in orthopedic surgery to aid the healing of bones and tissue for several years and has been recently found very helpful in stimulating hair growth in the early stages of hair loss and hair thinning.
How Does PRP work?
Platelet-Rich-Plasma treatment works fairly simple: After blood has been drawn from the patient, it is then centrifuged in order to separate the blood cells (which carry oxygen, fight diseases, and infections) from the plasma (which contains water and numerous nutrients) and the platelets (which repairs damage and injuries).
Platelets are known for their growth factors. If required, the patient receives local anesthetics to make the treatment as painless as possible for the patients. In most cases, the scalp of the patient is prepared for the PRP injections with a derma roller.
This simple tool, which is also called micro-needling, has mainly gained popularity for several skin treatments, such as acne scars, wrinkles and fine lines, but can also be used as a combined treatment with PRP. While using a derma roller, the skin is stimulated and helps with skin repair and cell regeneration.
Keep in mind, though, that not every PRP treatment is combined with this technique.
After all the preparations, the plasma, which is rich in platelets, is then injected on the scalp of the patients (or rubbed on the skin after a derma roller treatment) in the areas where the patient suffers from hair loss.
The treatment is supposed to stimulate either newly implanted or inactive follicles into an active growth phase. The platelets promote the tissue regeneration and healing and can thus be effective in stopping hair loss and hair thinning.
In addition, PRP hair loss treatment is a completely safe and non-surgical option for stimulating hair regrowth. It is great in combination with other hair growth methods and is very fast and simple.
What Results Can I Expect From The Platelet-Rich-Plasma treatment?
The results may vary. Scientists have conducted numerous, but still pending, clinical studies on the expectations and results from the PRP hair loss treatment, but overall the results are very positive.
You should keep in mind that PRP treatment is not a cure for hair loss and there can be no guarantee that it works for you, since results depend on numerous factors such as the underlying causes of your hair loss and hair thinning, genetics, and other health factors.
In most cases, it is advised to use the PRP treatment as a complementary procedure to non-surgical or surgical hair treatments, such as hair transplants, shampoos, a healthy lifestyle as well as the (mostly daily) intake of several vitamins to promote and stimulate hair growth.
Since the PRP hair loss treatment is mainly used for hair thinning and male balding, shampoos like Lipogaine Big 3 have shown significant and great results for regrowth and should, therefore, be considered as a complementary treatment next to PRP.
This shampoo contains numerous active ingredients, which makes it an effective all-around hair loss shampoo. It also contains Biotin, which is an essential vitamin that helps with the overall health of skin and nail cells.
Biotin itself is available as a vitamin supplement and should be considered for all those, who struggle with hair loss and thinning, as a daily intake. It can greatly reduce hair shedding and promotes hair regrowth.
Your skin and your fingernails will also improve over time if you decide to take Biotin as a vitamin supplement on a daily basis.
Also, the treatment can also be combined with medication, such as the DHT inhibitor Propecia and Minoxidil, the latter can be found in the over the counter medication Rogaine.
As with any medication, you should always consider talking to your doctor first, before you consider any supplement therapies for your treatment. Every treatment depends on the patient itself. Therefore it is always good to get a good check up on yourself first before you do anything.
As Dr. Komal Sharma states on MyDermacy, the PRP treatment “gives quite good results in hair growth and improvement of thinning […].
It contains natural growth factors, which induce hair growth, and being body’s own product is well accepted by the body, but sessions are required to see effective growth.”
As Dr. Sharma states, multiple sessions are required to show improvements on your hair loss and thinning, since it is certainly not a miracle cure and should not be considered as a one-time solution to get full and thick hair.
How Many Treatments Are Required?
Overall it is recommended to have at least four sessions of PRP hair loss treatment to see successful results. Those sessions are ideally spaced 1 to 4 weeks apart for best results.
The sessions may vary though and depend on the patient, doctor and the general factors such how many areas of the scalp are affected by the hair loss. Some reports state that the PRP treatment is most effective when it is spaced four weeks apart over the course of 9 to 12 months.
Other studies and also personal experiences have reported that there was a significant improvement noticeable after only a few sessions.
The first results are already noticed after the initial treatment. The patient will experience a reduction in the amount of hair loss and hair shedding. It is important to keep in mind that normal hair shedding is around 20 – 50 hairs a day.
Therefore it is impossible to completely stop your hair from falling out since it is a natural process. The aim of the PRP hair loss treatment is not to completely stop hair loss or hair shedding but a great reduction of it.
However, in the first weeks after the first treatment you should already start to notice improvements of hair loss, your scalp health (for example less dandruff), thicker and fuller hair. As stated above, PRP requires multiple sessions over the course of several weeks and months. Results should, therefore, not be expected within the first days of your initial treatment.
Remember, your hair growth is naturally slow. On average, hair grows about ⅛ of an inch per week.
Patience is the key when it comes to the PRP treatment, therefore it is advised by many doctors to undergo this treatment over the course of 9 to 12 months to regrow thicker, fuller and healthier hair.
Potential PRP Treatment Side Effects
Since PRP treatment involves your own blood, you should not experience any negative side effects.
Although it is a fairly new treatment and more studies need to be conducted in order to show significant results, these two studies have noted that PRP did not only have a positive effect on male and female pattern hair loss, but has also shown no major adverse side effects.
Depending on the treatment and pre-treatment with a derma roller, you may experience minimal pain, pinpoint bleeding (due to the injections of either the derma roller or injections) and a “tight” feeling on your scalp, which should only last around one day.
Only a few patients have complained about a mild headache the day after the treatment.
During the treatment, you might experience slight pain if your doctor has not used any numbing agent on your scalp. If you are very sensitive to pain and (or) needles, you should ask your doctor for local anesthetics to make your treatment as painless as possible for you.
Although the Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment is not the right choice for everyone, it can achieve great results for anyone who suffers from mild hair loss and hair thinning or hair loss in the beginning stages.
As explained above, for the treatment to work, your hair follicles need to be active and still alive, since the platelets in your blood have a growth factor, but are not able to regrow dead follicles.
Several studies have been conducted or are still conducted and have shown significant improvements in hair loss and thinning, although FDA approval is still pending.
But with the great results of PRP, in combination with vitamin supplements, a healthy lifestyle and the right hair care, the treatment will most certainly be approved. If you consider to undergo this treatment, be advised to research for a doctor in your area who might be able to help you out.
In any case, you should always consult a doctor first before you undergoing any treatment, but safe preparations can be done by yourself.
You can ask yourself the following questions: Do I have the right hairstyle that does not put any strength on my follicles? (e.g. braided hair), do I use the right products? Do I take vitamin supplements to support my immune system, skin, nail and hair? Am I eating the right diet?
There are many things to consider. So if you start noticing that your hair is thinning, it is always advisable to first check for the underlying cause of your hair loss before you do anything drastic. Hair loss can have several reasons, some are reversible, some irreversible.
You can check out our tips to see where your hair loss comes from, what you can do (from home) about it, and what other possibilities are available if you cannot opt in for a PRP treatment.