Having a full head of hair is a wish shared by most of us. No one wishes for hair loss and unfortunately, both men and women can be affected.
For the androgenic-type of hair loss, finasteride medication has been helpful. For all the other types of hair loss and alopecia, no real successful treatment exists other than surgery, with the various options of scalp reduction procedures.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) might be helpful for men and women with thinning of their hair, alopecia and various forms of baldness.
PRP has been around for more than ten years and has been used with the athletes to restore damaged cartilage and bone.
Recent studies have demonstrated a potential therapeutic effect of Platelet-Rich plasma (Selphyl in Canada and offered at both Visage Clinics) in promoting wound healing. I have used Selphyl PRP since 2012 and I have seen amazing accelerated healing after breast and nipple-areola surgery, after facelift surgery, after laser resurfacing and after nipple reconstruction and skin grafting.
Even more recently, it has been showed by world-renowned Brazilian plastic surgeon Dr. Uebel that platelet plasma growth factors lead to a significant improvement in hair density and stimulation of growth when the hair follicles (in hair transplantation) were pre-treated with platelet-derived growth factors. The thought is that the growth factors within – and released by – platelets may act on the stem cells found at the base of the hair follicles.
PRP or platelet-rich plasma is a preparation of platelets in concentrated (centrifuged) plasma taken from the patient himself/herself (small amount). It is a simple in-office procedure with no downtime. Once centrifuged, the plasma is reported to be 300% to 700% enriched with platelets concentration to more than 1 million platelets per microliter. Platelets are important not only for coagulation but they also secrete several growth factors (proteins like platelet-derived growth factors, insulin-like growth factors, epidermal growth factors, keratinocyte growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, etc.) and other cell-to-cell activation molecules.
Epidermal growth factor is important for skin rejuvenation and its appendages, i.e. hair. Vascular endothelial growth factor is important to create new blood vessels and new blood vessels mean more blood flow and healthier hair (same theory as those hair brushes designed to promote blood flow to your scalp). PRP also was shown to enhance human skin fibroblasts that are responsible for healthier and stronger collagen synthesis.
An excellent article published in 2012 discusses PRP in the mouse model and the study showed:
- PRP greatly stimulated hair growth
- PRP greatly increased hair follicle survival
- PRP greatly prolonged the anagen (growing) phase of the hair follicle
- PRP decreased the amount of bleeding when used during a procedure (hair transplant, laser resurfacing, skin graft)
- Activated PRP increases proliferation of dermal cells (where hair follicles are found)
It is therefore very promising for the human hair; a stimulation of hair growth, a decrease the rate of hair follicle death (apoptosis) and ultimately the maintenance of a youthful hair pattern.
The indications for the human scalp hair are still being awaited. That being said, it seems intuitive to follow the indications for skin which are 3 treatments of PRP Selphyl per year, 6-8 weeks apart.
Dr. Marc DuPéré