Hair loss can be one of the most frustrating and crushing conditions to face as people see their beauty and hair declining away slowly as months pass by leaving them wondering if it will ever stop. Some will reach a state of hopelessness and accept this as their new reality. Others will fight to preserve what they have, often naively through creams, lotions, shampoos, supplements and whatever the latest and greatest is recommended by their salon. This rarely if ever works creating long-lasting despair and lower self-esteem as people reach their wit’s end. Fortunately, there are clinically effective solutions available including one of the most promising non-surgical treatments called platelet-rich plasma or PRP for short.
What is Hair PRP?
Platelet rich plasma or what is commonly called PRP is a concentrated blood extract that contains your own cells and growth factors from your blood. This solution is taken from the patient and injected into the areas of the scalp where hair loss and hair thinning is present.
How Does Hair PRP work?
Platelet rich plasma or PRP works by first taking blood from the patient’s arm which is very similar to routine blood work. Typically, 60-120 ml’s of blood will be drawn depending on how extensive the hair loss is. The blood is then spun down in a centrifuge to separate the plasma from the red blood cells and the white blood cells. The plasma and the platelets are then extracted and the red blood cells are discarded. The plasma/platelet solution is then spun in the centrifuge again for a much longer time to concentrate the platelets into a therapeutic dosage for treatment. Once the second spin is completed, the top 75% or more of the plasma is discarded and the remaining portion left is known as the platelet rich plasma or PRP. This solution is rich in growth factors and regenerative signaling proteins.
What are the Benefits of Hair PRP?
- Stimulates hair growth
- Nourishes the hair follicle
- Recruits stem cells
- Increases hair thickness
- Strengthens the hair root
- Slows hair loss
Where can I get Hair PRP?
Hair PRP treatments for hair loss and hair thinning are available at Atlas Health Medical Group in Gilbert, AZ and the surrounding communities of Chandler, AZ, Mesa, AZ and Queen Creek, AZ by licensed and skilled Physicians. Or you can simply search online for “PRP hair loss treatments near me”
Does Hair PRP really regrow hair?
Yes it does but let’s examine this further to see what the science says. First, we must understand if PRP for hair loss is clinically effective and if so does it regrow hair. In one of the largest studies to date on PRP treatments for androgenic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness) researchers treated 64 patients with 2 rounds of PRP within the first 3 months and evaluated results 6 months after the last treatment. They found that 98% of the treated patients had improvement and 47.65% had clinically documented improvement. (1). Additionally, a meta analysis was completed on PRP treatments for hair loss. Meta analysis is when researchers examine many studies on the same subject matter and look for overarching themes and universal truths if any. In this case, the meta analysis examined 7 different studies totaling 194 patients overall on PRP for hair loss. Ultimately they concluded, “ A significantly increased number of hairs per cm2 was observed after treatment with PRP.” (2).
How does Hair PRP compare to Minoxidil and Finasteride?
A large scale meta analysis of 22 studies that looked at different treatments for androgenic alopecia (the most common type of hair loss) found that, “Relative effects show PRP, finasteride 1 mg (male), finasteride 1 mg (female), minoxidil 5%, minoxidil 2% and dutasteride (male) are approximately equivalent in mean change hair count following treatment.” (3) Basically, all treatments used alone as a monotherapy produce about the same results.
That leads us to wonder what happens when different treatments are combined. A study took a look at this question and provided valuable insight. First, they divided the participants into 2 groups of either finasteride orally or minoxidil topically for the treatment of androgenic alopecia (AGA). The participants received treatment for 6 months in their respective groups. Then after 6 months of medication treatment the participants received PRP injections on one side of their scalp and placebo injections on the other side for both the minoxidil and finasteride groups. The researchers waited for another 6 months after the PRP treatment and re-evaluated both groups. They then discussed the outcomes and stated, “Based on this study, we conclude the following: (1) the administration of PRP associated with ongoing medication is effective on the evolution of AGA; (2) the application of PRP improved the mean hair parameters, and that was statistically signiﬁcant versus base-line at month 6; (3) both minoxidil or ﬁnasteride with PRP improved hair regrowth; and (4) PRP in combination with minoxidil showed a greater improvement than PRP with ﬁnasteride, at 6 months.” (4)
What is the success rate of Hair PRP?
This varies depending on many factors such as severity, specific condition, genetics, nutrition, stress etc. The most common type of hair loss is called androgenic alopecia, commonly called male or female pattern hair loss, which affects more than 80 million people in the United States alone. (5) In 2018 a large review of the scientific studies regarding PRP and androgenic alopecia (AGA) hair loss was completed. Researchers examined 12 studies of PRP and hair loss overall and concluded, “PRP has demonstrated therapeutic effectiveness for AGA in 10 of the 12 reviewed studies.” (6). They further detailed that the 2 studies of out 12 reviewed that showed no statistically significant results only completed 1 or 2 treatments overall, and that the 10 studies that showed effectiveness completed at least 3 treatments overall. This provides valuable insight for treatment protocols and patient expectations. Basically, it’s probably not worth your time and money if you aren’t willing to complete a series of at least 3 treatments. Another study looked at PRP and androgenic alopecia over the course of 12 months by evaluating hair loss through a hair pull test, hair density per cm squared areas of treatment in the scalp, and overall patient satisfaction. The hair pull test is a quick and easy way to provide an approximation of brittleness, weakness, fragility and active hair thinning. (7) At the 3 month follow up patients had 75% improvement in hair pull test and 19.9% improvement in hair density. The 6 month follow up showed 37.5% improvement in the hair pull test and 9.2% improvement in hair density. Finally, the 1 year follow up showed 25% improvement in the hair pull test, 7.4% improvement in hair density and 71% satisfaction overall with the hair PRP treatments. (8) A smaller study also evaluating androgenic alopecia in just men found that after receiving 4 PRP treatments patients averaged a 31% improvement in hair count. (9)
How much does Hair PRP cost?
This can vary to some degree depending on the doctor, clinic, anesthesia route, and if they are using sedation to perform the procedure. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay $500-$1,000 per treatment. Request an itemized quote or bill if a clinic is charging more to see where the hidden costs are.
How long does Hair PRP last for hair loss?
This question is still being explored and research is underway to fully understand the answer in much more detail. Currently, evidence is suggesting that the results will last 6-16 months before hair loss resumes. For example, a study evaluating alopecia areata found that patients receiving 3 hair PRP treatments had 100% hair loss remission at 6 month follow up and 60% complete hair loss remission at the 1 year re-evaluation. (10) Another study found that hair density and number of hairs pulled (hair pull test) steadily improved after treatment and began to decline between the 6-12 month point but still remained better overall than before starting treatments. (8)
Is it too late to restore my hair?
This really depends on where the person is overall in their hair loss. Beginning treatment in the early stages of hair loss is always going to produce better results and help preserve the hair you do have. If the area of the scalp is already completely bald and has been that way for a long time, there is not much PRP will do for you and hair transplant may be your only option left. If hair is present in the areas of concern of the scalp but they are just smaller, thinning out, and less dense, PRP has a very good chance of helping.
What types of hair loss does PRP work for?
- Men / Women with thinning hair or hair loss
- Androgenic Alopecia related hair loss (male or female pattern baldness)
- Alopecia Areata
- Telogen Effluvium (stress related hair loss)
Can I continue taking minoxidil with Hair PRP?
Yes, this will not interfere with the PRP treatment. If you are taking it topically in a cream, solution or foam we advise taking a short break for 1 week after receiving the injections to let the scalp recover before resuming your normal regimen.
Can I continue taking finasteride with Hair PRP?
Yes, this will not interfere with the PRP treatment. If you are taking it topically we advise taking a short break for 1 week after receiving the injections to let the scalp recover before resuming your normal regimen.
Is Hair PRP the same as stem cells?
The short answer is NO! PRP involves highly concentrated platelet cells, which are a completely different cell type then stem cells. There is some basic evidence that PRP influences, signals and recruits stem cells within your body to a minor degree but the full extent of this interaction is still being fleshed out.
How can I make Hair PRP more effective?
PRP is most effective with consistency. This typically means 1 treatment per month over the first 3-4 months and maintenance treatments every 6-12 months depending on the case and severity for best results. There are many elements that should and need to be addressed by your doctor for stopping hair loss and increasing hair growth outside of getting hair PRP treatments. The typical starting point in this regard is a daily minoxidil regimen for both men and women and low dose finasteride for men. These are the only two FDA approved medications for hair loss currently on the market. (11). Beyond medications, people should also address diet, lifestyle, stress, sleep, hydration, hormonal imbalances, and medication side effects as potential contributing factors to hair loss.