I am excited to now offer PRP treatment for hair loss. It is important to note that this will work in areas of thinning hair or in alopecia areata. It will not work on someone who is totally bald in an area with absolutely no hair growth at all.
Hair loss can affect either just your scalp or your entire body. This article will focus on hair loss of the scalp. This most commonly presents as hair gradually thinning on the top of the head. In addition, men will often have a receding hairline at the front, in the shape of an M. (ie recedes in the center). It affects up to 80% of white men and 40% of women.
Less commonly, it can present as a circle of hair loss, usually about the size of a quarter (alopecia areata). This can also occur in beards and eyebrows. Prior to this occurring, there can be itchiness or pain.
Some times there is a sudden loosening of hair due to a physical or emotional shock, which is most noticeable when brushing or washing your hair. Chemotherapy for cancer, depending on the drug, can cause total body hair loss. If there are patches of scaling, with redness or maybe oozing and swelling, followed by hair loss, this could indicate ringworm according to Mayo Clinic.
Check this video where I discuss hair restoration with PRP.
Causes of Baldness
There can be a variety of causes and often we do not fully understand the reason why baldness occurs, however here are some risk factors:
- Family History – There is no question that baldness definitely tends to run in families. It progresses with aging. We all know men, who had very early age onset of baldness. Some rapid and progressive cases even occur in their early 20’s.
- Hormonal Changes – such as pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and hypothyroidism
- Side-Effect to Medication – including chemotherapy (interestingly, a cooling cap may lessen this effect), hypertension drugs, etc
- High Stress Situations can cause thinning of the hair and also large weight loss
- Certain Hair Treatments with harsh chemicals or constant pressure on the hair from pulling it very tight for long periods of time.
- I suspect that both diabetes and smoking will lead to decreased hair growth due to decreased blood flow.
How PRP is Done
It is a very simple process. A single 22 ml tube of blood is taken (very similar to having a blood test done at your doctors or at a lab). The blood sits in a special tube and is mixed with certain chemicals to activate the platelets. (The kits I use are totally disposable so you don’t have to worry about “getting an illness” as occurred in some Mexican clinic that has gotten a lot of attention on social media).
Your blood is then spun and this allows the separation of platelet-rich plasma. I then inject it into your scalp in all the locations where the hair is thin. A very small needle is used for the injections so it should be very tolerable. (Ideally, avoid any aspirin or Bufferin for a week before to avoid any risk of bruising).
You can wash your hair immediately after the treatment, and blow-drying can be done on a cool setting. Avoid harsh chemicals for a day on your scalp. You should be able to swim the next day since the injections are placed in the scalp and cannot be washed out. You can also work out the same day, but it is probably best from a swelling standpoint to wait until the next morning.
From the moment you walk into the office, you should be done in less than 45-60 minutes, perhaps even less.
This week Berman Cosmetic Surgery is offering 3 PRP treatments including medicated mousse and vitamins package for only $1997 instead of $2400!
How Often Should I Do The Injections?
I recommend you do them once per month for 3 months. It will take time to see the effect. Then I would suggest every 6-12 months. There is no danger in doing it more often. Depending on the cause, I will determine how long you will need the treatments. There is no danger in stopping the sessions, and you can stop whenever you want.
Does PRP Work? Is There Medical Evidence?
Yes. There are plenty of scientific studies supporting PRP for hair growth. Here are some sample papers:
In Stem Cells Translational Medicine (2015, Nov;4 (11): 1317-1323, they reported a randomized placebo-controlled study which was very well done. It was a small study with 20 patients (males ages 19-63 years old) which they followed for 2 years.
They were able to demonstrate both a significant increase in hair growth and hair density (we want more hair and also thicker hair and these are two completely different variables) Very significantly, there were no side-effects. Of the 20 patients, there were 4 patients, who by 16 months, had reported progressive hair loss, so they were reinjected with 3 PRP sessions.
In the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2017, Sept; 16 (3): 374-381. They reviewed 6 studies of 177 patients. They demonstrated both an increase in hair and in hair thickness.
A more thorough study was reported in 2019, in the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Journal (2019, June 11). They retrieved 132 papers and 11 articles matched their inclusion criteria. This included 262 androgenic alopecia patients. They found a highly significant increase in hair number (p less than .00001) per sq cm and increased hair density.
What is lacking is a large double-blind study with many more patients. However, it is unlikely that there will ever be funding for such a study, especially when one considers that there are almost no risks to trying out PRP at a reputable medical facility. Moreover, there are several companies that make the equipment needed to do PRP for the scalp.
How We Think PRP Works To Stimulate Hair Growth
We really don’t understand it fully. We do know that there a lot of granules in platelets that release numerous growth factors including platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, epidermal growth factor, interleukin-1.
These may act on the stem cells in the bulge area of follicles, leading to neovascularization (increased blood flow is almost always very important and helpful). This study demonstrated an increase in small blood vessels around the hair follicles in the treated area.
Click to get $400 off your 3 PRP treatments including medicated mousse and vitamins.