About 50 million American men and 30 million women have male- or female-pattern baldness. It can begin early in life, but is much more common after the age of 50, when more than 50 percent of men will experience some kind of hair loss.
However, an emerging treatment — platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy — appears to help regrow lost hair. And, there are virtually no side effects from PRP.
How does PRP therapy work?
Physicians began using PRP therapy about a decade ago to speed up the healing process in damaged joints after injury or surgery. Practitioners then began using PRP in aesthetics after researchers found that high concentrations of platelets in plasma cells help promote hair growth by prolonging the growing phase of the hair cycle.
During the treatment, Melanie draws a small amount of your blood and spins it in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and plasma. She then injects the plasma, which helps repair blood vessels, promote cell growth and wound healing, and stimulate collagen production. Melanie injects plasma into the scalp where hair loss has occurred. Typically injections are done every eight weeks, and the injection schedule will depend on your genetics, pattern and amount of hair loss, age, and hormones.
How does PRP therapy compare with other options?
Other treatments for hair loss currently on the market are often more problematic for many patients. There are two FDA-approved medications for treating hair loss: Finasteride and Minoxidil. But you must take these drugs consistently over time and results can be inconsistent.
Each drug also sometimes has side effects:
- Minoxidil may cause dryness and itching on the scalp.
- Finasteride may cause sexual dysfunction in men.
- Hair transplant is another option, but it requires cuts in the scalp, long recovery and is very expensive.
Because it is a surgical procedure, doctors typically recommend hair transplantation only for those who have dramatic hair loss. A transplant is also more costly and leaves scars. Melanie can perform PRP therapy prior to transplantation, which can provide better results with more dense hair growth.
What makes you a good candidate for PRP therapy?
PRP is safe and effective for many people. However, you should not have PRP therapy if you fall into either of these groups:
- If you have an underlying disorder such as thyroid disease or lupus, you aren’t likely to have good results because these conditions will continue to cause hair loss over time.
- If you are on blood thinners, your platelets won’t work as effectively and the procedure is not as effective.
PRP therapy works better if your hair loss is recent. It is more challenging to “wake up” hair follicles that have been dormant for a long time. To see if you may be a candidate, schedule a complimentary consultation with Melanie.
The Week Prior: Avoid ‘Blood Thinners’
To minimize the chances of bruising avoid the use of:
- Vitamin E
- Fish Oil Supplements
- & Any over the counter supplements that thin the blood
- If in doubt regarding prescription medication, consult with your physician
- Tylenol may safely be used during this time
The Day Of Your PRP Hair Restoration Treatment:
- It is best to wash hair and thoroughly cleanse the scalp before each treatment
You will leave Flawless with the Vampire ‘Masque’ (or PRP Mask) still on your scalp. This is a combination of your PRP and very small amounts of blood from the MicroNeedling.
- This material needs to remain on for a minimum of six hours following treatment, though overnight is best for optimal results. A general itchy feeling is to be expected.
- The next day you may rinse your scalp with tepid water or wash with a gentle shampoo.
What Can Be Expected:
- For the first 1-3 days, the skin will feel dry and tight
- You may experience some light flaking in the treated areas from the MicroNeedling. This is to be expected and will resolve within a day or two
Researchers See Promising Results
In a 2014 study, researchers in India looked at men with male-pattern baldness who used both approved medications but saw little change in their hair growth. After four PRP treatments, they had about 30 percent more growth in thinning areas.
A 2017 study out of Italy also found male patients had increased hair and density in areas where doctors used PRP therapy.