Having a full head of hair is a wish shared by most of us. No one wishes for hair loss; unfortunately, both men and women can be affected. For androgenic hair loss (sometimes called “male pattern baldness”), finasteride medication has been helpful. For all the other types of hair loss and alopecia, no real successful treatment exists other than surgical scalp reduction procedures.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) appears to be a helpful hair loss treatment for Toronto men and women with thinning hair, alopecia, and various forms of baldness. I will explain what it is, what it is used for, and evidence of its effectiveness in this post.
PRP has been around for more than 15 years and has been used with the athletes to restore damaged cartilage and bone. Recent studies have demonstrated a potential therapeutic effect of PRP in promoting wound healing. I have been using PRP since 2012 and have seen amazing results not only when used for hair thinning, but to accelerate healing after breast and nipple-areola surgery, facelift surgery, laser resurfacing, nipple reconstruction, skin grafting, hair transplant surgery, and many other procedures. Learn more in this blog post.
Even more recently, world-renowned Brazilian plastic surgeon Dr. Uebel showed that platelet-derived growth factors lead to a significant improvement in hair density and stimulation of growth when the hair follicles were treated with platelet-derived growth factors before transplantation. 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 is a concentration of platelets in a small amount of plasma taken from the patient’s own blood. It is a simple in-office procedure with no downtime. Once centrifuged, the plasma is reported to be 300% to 600% enriched with platelets concentrated to more than 1 million platelets per microliter. Platelets are important not only for coagulation, they also secrete several growth factors (such as 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. New blood vessels mean increased 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 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)
PRP therapy is therefore very promising for the stimulation of hair growth, decreasing the rate of hair follicle death (apoptosis), and ultimately the maintenance of a youthful hair pattern. For these reasons, VISAGE offers a PRP Clinic for all PRP applications such as hair thinning, and skin and vaginal rejuvenation. We also use PRP to enhance all fat transfer procedures including the Brazilian butt lift.
Here are my PRP treatment recommendations for hair loss patients:
- Hair thinning and restoration: a minimum of 3 PRP treatments per year spaced 4 to 8 weeks apart.
- Hair transplant: 1 PRP treatment 4 weeks before the procedure, then 3 treatments spaced every 2 months, then a treatment every year.
We are very excited to offer PRP to our Toronto clients for slowing down hair loss and for improving hair growth and follicle survival post transplantation. To find out more, contact us using our online form or by calling (416) 929-9800.
Dr. Marc DuPéré