As far as hair loss treatments go, there’s plenty of work to be done in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. A platelet rich plasma hair treatment, or PRP therapy, is a more recent option that’s been getting a lot of attention.
It is not uncommon for a new “miracle” method to pop up in the hair loss scene that promises immediate effects with little down sides. Is using platelet rich plasma for hair loss effective, or is it a lot of hype? Well, the PRP hair treatment success rate is helping this procedure stand out in the crowd.
Let’s take a closer look at why this approach to hair loss has become quite popular in recent years.
Table of Contents - Jump To with a Click!
- 1 What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
- 2 How is a Platelet Rich Plasma Hair Treatment Done?
- 3 How does a PRP Hair Treatment Work for Hair Loss?
- 4 How Long Before You Can See Results?
- 5 How many PRP treatments are needed?
- 6 Are There PRP Hair Restoration Side Effects? Is it Painful?
- 7 PRP Hair Loss Treatment Clinical Studies
- 8 Does PRP work with other Hair Loss Treatments?
- 9 How Much Does a PRP Hair Treatment Cost?
- 10 PRP Hair Restoration Reviews Provide Valuable Insight
- 11 Final Thoughts on PRP
What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is plasma from your own blood that has been enriched with platelets. Plasma is the liquid part of blood, and considered to be the medium for blood cells and materials that move about in the blood stream.
The Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are a common component of blood that secrete growth factors and proteins critical to important processes such as cell division, tissue regeneration, and overall healing. They also assist in blood clotting and are needed to control bleeding. Clotting is an essential tool that keeps you alive; without it, you can quite possibly bleed to death from a simple cut.
A Little History on PRP
Platelet rich plasma therapy was first discovered back in the 1970s, but it never became popular until the mid to late 1990s. This is when oral and plastic surgeons used it to achieve an enhanced level of healing after doing reconstructive surgery.
PRP then gained popularity with elite athletes when it was marketed as a treatment for injuries of the skeletal muscles. Despite the lack of evidence and few studies on the topic, the treatment, priced at USD $300 per injection, was aggressively marketed at sports celebrities.
The popularity of this method sparked further research into other avenues where this treatment could be applied. Hair loss was one of the first few domains in which the procedure was adopted and well accepted. In this sector, it was revealed that there is a significant probability of success with using the PRP hair treatment as a permanent and convenient solution to hair loss.
There has been extensive debate about the PRP hair treatment success rate for it to be considered as a method to treat androgenic alopecia, i.e. male and female pattern baldness. While there is no conclusive evidence that the PRP treatment for hair loss on its own is a breakthrough method that has finally solved the problem of balding, some studies have shown pretty promising results. A few of these studies are discussed further below in this article, and links are provided.
How is a Platelet Rich Plasma Hair Treatment Done?
So how is a Platelet Rich Plasma Hair Treatment carried out? Simply put, it involves extracting your own blood and separating out the platelets and plasma by spinning it in a centrifuge.
Once the red blood cells are separated, the plasma, now concentrated with platelets, is injected back into your scalp. The thinking goes that since platelets play a crucial role in healing, providing a concentrated dose to your hair follicles will stimulate hair growth and therefore, reverse hair loss.
How does a PRP Hair Treatment Work for Hair Loss?
Consider the radical idea that flooding a body part with platelets speeds up healing. PRP contains cytokines, which are small protein molecules secreted by cells of the immune system. Cytokines signal the cells around them to move towards inflammation, infection and areas of trauma. They have been shown to stimulate hair follicles and their functioning.
Hair loss is a result of hair follicles that are damaged, and often cut off from their supply of nutrients and proteins. This damage is caused by a variety of things that can interfere with the natural hair growth cycle. This includes illness, medications, and of course genetic pattern balding. Male pattern baldness is believed to be largely caused by the endogenous androgen hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). You can read more on DHT in this article on DHT and hair loss.
Platelets definitely play an important role in the healing of wounds, and hair loss indicates follicles in need of healing. It is therefore quite plausible that an injection of blood plasma rich in platelets will stimulate hair follicles and make hair grow, even in genetic bald spots.
In some cases, ECM or Extracellular Matrix (extracellular molecules secreted by cells that provide support to surrounding cells) may be added to the PRP to deliver even better results in hair growth.
So, Is PRP Effective for Hair Loss… For Certain?
There are a lot of components in our body and our blood that work in tandem in order to heal a wound. There hasn’t been enough evidence to say it’s 100% a definite fact that platelets play an outsize role in this process or that they alone contribute a significant effect in the healing process.
The claim that additional platelets stimulate growth and healing is therefore subject to debate. However, using platelet rich plasma for hair loss has met with success in quite a number of individuals who have experienced almost a full recovery from balding. As more people undergo the procedure, we will get a much clearer picture of the PRP hair treatment success rate.
How Long Before You Can See Results?
As with any hair loss treatment (excluding transplantation), it takes months for the follicle to strengthen and produce the visible results of a stronger healthier hair. The signs of new hair growth can usually be seen 4-6 months after the PRP injections. The hair continues to become stronger and thicker for up to 15 months after treatment, but continued PRP injections are required to maintain the results and avoid regression of the hair growth.
The results will occur with growth that is relative to your normal hair growth cycle. By the 12 month mark, you will have a good indication of how successful your PRP hair treatment has been.
How many PRP treatments are needed?
On average, most patients will require an initial 3 treatments approximately 4-6 weeks apart. Another treatment is then recommended in 12 months. Many doctors recommend that a patient only continue with the PRP hair treatment if results are noticed by then.
Is PRP Hair Treatment a Permanent Solution?
Going forward, most patients receiving successful results will need to continue with PRP hair treatments regularly, with an average of twice a year, every 6 months. Advancements in PRP hair restoration and the technology used to perform it will likely effect the cost and the frequency of treatments as the process evolves.
Are There PRP Hair Restoration Side Effects? Is it Painful?
It is an attractive option. The procedure is not surgical, and there are few of the risks associated with major surgical procedures. Some patients have reported minor pain as a result of the injections, but overall PRP is a pretty painless procedure.
It does not involve any chemical agents or drugs, but platelets and plasma from your own body. So there’s the peace of mind of knowing that if you go with a PRP treatment for hair loss, side effects are pretty much eliminated.
While concrete evidence on the efficacy of this method is still being gathered, hair restoration clinics have marketed PRP therapy as a simple, non-invasive procedure that is “natural”, in that it does not use artificial chemicals or drugs, and shows quick results. Most clinics do offer disclaimers that PRP therapy can be painful and is a new procedure with unproven efficacy and whose long term effects are not yet known.
However, do keep in mind that PRP therapy is not for everyone. Before you rush into your nearest clinic asking for PRP to cure your hair loss, you do need to undergo some tests to determine if you are susceptible to side effects, if any. Platelet rich plasma therapy for hair loss is still an experimental procedure and it does need to be repeated for at least a few sessions.
PRP Hair Loss Treatment Clinical Studies
A 2014 clinical study on PRP hair treatment published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery found PRP treatment for hair loss to be an effective treatment option for androgenic alopecia. The test group had 11 people, of which 9 showed improvement as a result of therapy.
While 11 people is still a bit small for a test group for showing the efficacy of any medical procedure, 9 out of 11 is still a pretty fantastic success rate. This sets the stage for further PRP hair loss treatment clinical studies that may prove the benefits of PRP therapy in a more conclusive manner.
Another interesting study was conducted in the department of Dermatology at South Valley University. It compared the effectiveness of PRP with the FDA approved drug minoxidil, using 90 test subjects with alopecia areata (patchy hair loss).
The study concluded that a PRP hair treatment was actually more efficient for treating alopecia areata than minoxidil. This, along with the recent findings regarding the drug ruxolitinib for alopecia areata, is positive news for anyone diagnosed with alopecia areata.
Does PRP work with other Hair Loss Treatments?
So if you are looking for a method to treat hair loss, here are the facts. There are no proven methods that can 100% regrow lost hair. Most medical processes are aimed towards managing and preventing further hair loss.
The 2 pharmaceutical drugs that have been proven to be effective are finasteride and minoxidil. Both drugs require daily and continued use. You can read about the best minoxidil I have ever used in this Lipogaine review. Another method delivering results for hair loss is the low level laser treatment. PRP hair treatments can strongly supplement these methods through follicle stimulation and healing to achieve greater chances of success.
Among surgical methods, hair transplantation is a permanent solution and one of the most commonly used procedures. It involves removing healthy hair follicles from one part of the body and transplanting them in an area of baldness. When PRP is used in conjunction with this procedure, it helps the grafted hair follicles to survive and thrive in the early stages after transplantation.
Platelet rich plasma therapy for hair loss is a new method that addresses hair loss through a completely different process than drugs and surgery. For this reason, it is believed that when used in conjunction with either a finasteride and minoxidil daily routine, low level laser treatment, or hair transplant, a PRP hair treatment can significantly boost your chances of successful hair restoration.
How Much Does a PRP Hair Treatment Cost?
The Cost of PRP hair restoration will vary from clinic to clinic, and will also depend upon the amount of patient hair loss and how complex the procedure is. On average, a single PRP hair treatment will cost approximately $1300 USD.
Please keep in mind that $1300 is an average and the cost can range anywhere from $600 – $2000 USD, and in some cases more. Also keep in mind that this is the cost of one treatment, but the total cost of PRP hair restoration will be significantly more for all treatments.
PRP Hair Restoration Reviews Provide Valuable Insight
The personal experience of people who have had PRP therapy for hair loss can tell us a lot about the PRP hair treatment success rate. Reviews can also give us insight into what the procedure entails from start to finish, and can help us decide if it’s something we’d like to proceed with ourselves.
A simple internet search for PRP hair loss treatment reviews can provide us with a great deal of information. One of the best sources for PRP hair restoration reviews online currently is on the PRP section of the ‘RealSelf’ website.
It’s certainly worth a look if you’re seriously considering a platelet rich plasma hair treatment for yourself.
Final Thoughts on PRP
The evidence to back up the promises of PRP hair restoration is building up slowly but steadily. The potential is big, but the jury is technically still out on the effectiveness of undergoing a Platelet Rich Plasma Hair Treatment.
If you’re not getting the results you want from your current hair loss treatment routine, or if you are looking to take things to the next level, PRP hair restoration may be for you. Thousands of people have overcome their doubts about trying out a new treatment and enjoyed a near full recovery from hair loss. If you are willing to take a chance, a full head of hair may await you at your nearest professional hair restoration clinic.