All of us experience hair loss of some kind in our lifetime, however many people struggle with significant hair loss, known as alopecia, which can impact self-esteem and self confidence. Whether you experience mild or significant hair loss due to aging, genetics, or illness, it is possible to stimulate new hair growth to combat hair loss with platelet-rich plasma hair restoration treatments (*).
What is platelet-rich plasma (PRP)?
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) can be used for hair restoration, as an alternative to dermal filler and for skin rejuvenation treatments. PRP uses growth factors from the platelets of a patient’s own blood to help stimulate and signal the body to heal faster and promote collagen and hyaluronic acid production as well as tissue and cell growth and repair.(*)
How does Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) work for Hair Restoration to treat Alopecia?
When PRP is injected into the scalp it helps to increase blood flow to the area providing nourishment to the hair follicles.(*) As PRP communicates with stem cells in the hair shaft it initiates and helps to maintain hair growth, increases shaft size/thickness and decreases hair loss.(*)
Where does platelet-rich plasma come from?
PRP is produced by taking a sample of blood from the patient that is being treated and centrifuging it. This separates it into platelet poor plasma, platelet rich plasma and red blood cells. By doing this the platelet rich plasma can be concentrated to up to 13 times baseline.
The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the scalp to help stimulate hair growth in the areas where hair loss has occurred. (*)
Does PRP Hurt?
During the procedure a burning sensation may be felt. An anesthetic can be injected into the scalp prior to treatment and/or mixed directly with the PRP. Some patients may experience mild discomfort to the scalp for a few days after the treatment (*). Most patients do not require any mediation post-treatment however acetaminophen may be taken if you experience a mild headache (*).
What is Considered “Quality” PRP?
Several factors influence the quality of PRP. First is the quality of the patient’s own platelets. Those with a history of low platelets or known platelet dysfunction may not be an ideal candidate as these factors can influence the final platelet concentration. For most applications PRP should be 5-7x baseline. At ANEWU Medical Spa, P.C. we have a highly customizable closed system which allows us to vary the concentration of PRP based on the area or problem being treated and how much product is needed (*). This allows us to customize treatments for each patient and allows us to deliver a superior product compared to many PRP systems on the market potentially reducing the number of treatments a patient may need and improving overall patient outcome (*).
How many treatments will I need?
Individual results and expectations vary. Patients with more advanced hair loss or severe alopecia are still good candidates for PRP however they may require more treatments (*). Most patients have notable improvement in hair loss with just 2-4 PRP treatments (*). Each treatment is performed 4-6 weeks apart and most patients will see hair restoration results within 3-6 months from the first treatment (*).
A follow up treatment is generally performed 6-12 months from the last treatment and maintenance treatments are performed on an as needed basis (*).
- History of severe medication allergies or anaphylaxis
- History of active infection or uncontrolled diabetes
- Active or recent cold sores or shingles in the treatment area
- Anticoagulant use such as Coumadin, Plavix, and Pradaxa
- History of cancer or chemotherapy (requires clearance from oncologist)
- History of bleeding disorders or platelet dysfunction (high or low platelet count)
- History of lupus or porphyria
- History of severe or metabolic systemic disorders
- History of liver disease
- Use of corticosteroids or steroid injections within one month of treatment
Since PRP involves using a person’s own platelets, it is uncommon to experience an adverse event.
- Common side effects include redness, swelling, bruising and mild tenderness and itching. Occasionally redness may occur and could last a few days however it typically resolves within a few hours and swelling within 72 hours.
- Bruising is common and can be mild to severe. To minimize bruising it is best to discontinue anti-inflammatory medications, aspirin, alcohol, ﬁsh oil and Vitamin E for two weeks prior to treatment. Do not discontinue medications without consulting your prescribing physician first.
- If you have a history of cold sores or shingles at or near the treatment area an anti-viral medication may be prescribed to minimize the chance of an outbreak.
- In rare instances nodules may form and can be a long term side effect.
- When the tear troughs (area under the eyes) are treated it is possible to have chronic swelling called lymphedema which typically occurs as a result of how the individual’s body processes the product.
- Rarely, numbness at or near the treatment site may occur.
- Occasionally product may migrate away from the area where it was injected.
- As with any injection, infection is a potential but rare side effect.
- The area may be iced for 15-30 minutes.
- To reduce the likelihood of bruising Arnica Montana may be used either orally or topically both pre and post treatment.
- Refrain from exercise, strenuous activity, sun exposure or tanning for 24-48 hours.
- If PRP has been injected into the tissue do not massage the treatment area for 6 weeks unless instructed to.
- If PRP has been injected into the tissue refrain from having a facial for 6 weeks.
- Refrain from laser or intense pulsed light treatments for a minimum of 2 weeks after PRP has been injected and a minimum of 4 weeks after microneedling and upwards of 6 weeks-4 months after an Acupulse™ CO2 Resurfacing treatment.
- Refrain from chemical peels and waxing for 4 weeks after microneedling.
Alternative treatments include minoxidil, finasteride, or hair transplant surgery.
Before & After
What else can PRP be used for?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be used as an alternative to dermal filler for those looking for a natural alternative to dermal fillers as well as for those with a history of anaphylaxis where dermal fillers are considered a contraindication.
PRP can also be used used topically like a serum during or after skin resurfacing treatments such as microneedling and laser skin resurfacing treatments to help promote wound healing, collagen and hyaluronic acid production and to reduce downtime from these treatments (*).
Interested in PRP for hair restoration?
We can help!