Hair loss and thinning hair are common problems across all genders.
About 50 million men and 30 million women have lost at least some hair. It’s especially common after reaching age 50 or as a result of stress.
And there are seemingly hundreds of different hair loss treatments with varying levels of reliability and success. But some are based on much more solid science than others.
Maybe you remember seeing an image of Kim Kardashian’s face covered in blood, a gross requirement for getting a vampire facial. What would you do, if you knew that the same method by which vampire facials operate, using PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) extracted from your own blood, can combat hair loss via PRP Hair Therapy? Having gained popularity in dermatology about six years ago, PRP injections have the ability to stimulate hair growth in areas of thinning on the scalp.
PRP is a substance drawn from your blood and injected into your scalp that can purportedly help heal bodily tissues, including follicles from which your hairs grow. Although PRP is a relatively new approach, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that it can promote hair growth.
Our blood is made of two main components, red blood cells and plasma. The plasma contains white blood cells and platelets, which are rich in growth factors.
Growth factors, in a sense, play the role of messengers, signalling skin cells to function. In fact, they’ve been used in medicine to treat a range of health issues, including arthritis, signs of aging, etc. The good news for anyone with thinning hair is that growth factors can help stimulate the activity of the hair follicles and promote new hair growth.
What’s the procedure like?
The following steps are an example of a common approach to PRP injections for hair loss:
- A medical professional draws blood from a vein in the arm.
- They place the blood sample in a centrifuge.
- The centrifuge spins the blood, separating its components.
- A medical professional extracts the platelets using a syringe.
- A doctor injects the platelets into targeted areas of the scalp.
The entire process may take about 1 hour, and several sessions may be necessary. After receiving PRP treatment, a person can usually return to their regular activities without any limitations.
What to expect during and after the first session?
Depending on the severity of the hair loss and how much area of the scalp needs to be treated, it can vary from 20-50 tiny injections. The patient should avoid washing the treatment area for 48 hours. After that, it is all right to use hair and skin care products and continue with topical medications.
The treatment area may be sore for two or three days, and the patient may notice some bruising. Pain killers can help ease discomfort. In case of severe pain, the patient should notify the doctor’s office right away.
Hair dye or colouring treatments can resume one week after PRP treatment.
How badly does the injection hurt?
Pain is all relative. The pain scale for the injections is usually about a 4/10 for most people. The discomfort is transient and typically there is no pain after the treatment is complete.
How long does it last?
PRP is not a cure for conditions that cause hair loss. For this reason, a person would need to receive multiple PRP treatments over time to maintain hair growth results. The same is true of medications that doctors commonly use to treat androgenetic alopecia.
The doctor’s recommendations for how often a person should have PRP will vary depending on a person’s condition and the results of their initial treatment. The doctor may suggest having maintenance injections every 3–6 months once hair loss is under control.
The effect of treatment is most noticeable after at least six months. Repeat treatments may be necessary to maintain the improvement in hair growth and texture.
How to know if PRP hair therapy is for you?
A good candidate is someone who’s young, who’s noticing some thinning, with no health issues and still has a substantial amount of hair on their scalp. Early stage, mild hair loss patients see the most promising results.
Patients with active hormone imbalances or autoimmune diseases that may be a contributing factor to their hair loss are not good candidates. It is recommended that patients get a full panel of blood work, including thyroid function, testosterone levels, and Iron/ferritin levels tested before deciding if PRP is the right choice for them. Certain conditions like blood and platelet disorders, chronic liver disease, presence of an active severe infection, cardiovascular or hemodynamic instability and/or the presence of anticoagulation therapy (e.g. warfarin) would make PRP contraindicated. If the body has a hormone imbalance or other inflammatory response, the PRP will not likely produce the desired effect on hair growth.
As with any novel procedure, we are in the process of collecting long-term data to understand the possibilities of new and sustained hair regrowth with PRP. Today, PRP therapy is becoming a popular complement to hair transplants. Speak to our doctors for more information.
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