Using PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) for hair loss is quickly becoming a popular hair restoration option for both men and women. But the name alone is confusing. Further, the explanation for what PRP hair restoration is can feel uneasy.
But not to worry, we are going to break down what PRP hair restoration is and how it can benefit those of you suffering hair loss. The following guide is easy to understand, cites medical studies, and evaluates who should or shouldn’t try PRP hair restoration.
What Is PRP Hair Restoration – Platelet-Rich Plasma
In laymen’s terms, PRP, properly known as platelet-rich plasma, is the use of a person’s blood to heal or restore. While PRP is becoming popular in the world of hair restoration, the science got its start in the early 1980s in sports medicine.
In sports medicine, PRP doctors use a person’s own blood to help heal tendons and ligaments.
In the world of hair restoration, clinics like Starks use a person’s own blood to restore hair.
Most likely you aren’t a world-class athlete hoping to heal an injury faster, so this article will focus on PRP for hair restoration.
How PRP Hair Restoration Works
This may feel slightly unsettling but stay with us because PRP is an effective hair restoration procedure.
To start, your blood is drawn from your arm.
Next, that blood is transferred into what’s known as a centrifuge. A centrifuge is a machine that’s motion serves to isolate blood layers. In case you are curious, if you allow blood to settle on its own, the heaviest layers that contain plasma and platelets won’t settle appropriately.
The centrifuge will separate the blood’s layers in roughly 10 minutes. After which, there will be three essential layers remaining.
- Red blood cells
- Platelet-poor plasma
- Platelet-rich plasma
For purposes of hair restoration, we only care about the platelet-rich plasma.
Now that platelet-rich plasma is placed in a syringe. Doctors use the syringe to inject the platelet-rich plasma into the balding or thinning hair portions of the scalp.
Now that we know how PRP works for hair restoration, let’s discover if PRP “really works.”
Does PRP Hair Restoration Really Work?
Hair loss for both men and women is an epidemic. For some, it might feel vain to care about hair loss. But the truth is, hair loss can lower the quality of life for the person experiencing it.
For people looking to stop or treat hair loss, there are hundreds of concoctions all claiming to help.
That’s why research and science are central in the hair loss treatment decision-making process. PRP hair restoration is a medical treatment, fortunately, it has solid science on its side.
PRP Hair Restoration Studies
In 2015, researchers from the University of Rome and Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Rome conducted a study on the effects of PRP hair restoration on Androgenic alopecia.
The researchers defined “hair loss” through a valid medical diagnosis. The study eliminated anyone with hair loss due to conditions such as anemia, poor eating habits, syphilis, and a dysfunctional thyroid (we will get to why they did this, later).
The study used 23 male patients, all ages 19 to 63. The group’s subjects experienced male pattern baldness characteristics of either frontal, parietal, or vertex (or some combination of all).
The PRP procedure was carried out via Intraoperative injections of platelet-rich plasma into balding areas of the scalp.
Here’s what the results were.
The below images are pulled directly from the study.
PRP Study Results
After 3 months of the first PRP injections, a “significant increase in the mean hair count for the treatment area” was observed.
Additionally, microscopic evaluations showed thickening hair following only two weeks of treatment. The PRP treatments showed an improvement in small blood vessels around hair follicles.
Only four patients of 23 showed any regression in PRP hair restoration benefits. That was after 16 months. Those four persons were retreated successfully.
A more recent and relevant PRP hair restoration study was conducted in India in 2017. The results showed a 30% hair growth improvement for the subjects.
The science is in and it’s very good.
How Long Does It Take For PRP To Work?
PRP hair restoration procedures typically give monthly injections for the first three months. Following that, injections are spread out over months. The type of schedule a person is put on is subject to a medical professional’s opinion.
From a visual standpoint, notable differences can appear in as little as six months. Remember, hair restoration isn’t easy to see in its infancy stage.
Many patients need PRP treatments annually to maintain restoration.
PRP Side-Effects: Is PRP Safe?
To start, the fact that PRP uses your blood, you don’t risk getting any blood transferable diseases.
The most common PRP hair restoration side effects involve irritation near or at the injection point. For most PRP patients, they can resume their normal activities right after the procedure concludes.
Who Shouldn’t Try PRP Hair Restoration?
There are many conditions linked to hair loss. Some underlying conditions make PRP hair restoration a less effective or ideal option.
- You are diagnosed with a thyroid disease
- You are diagnosed with lupus
- You take blood thinners
- Those with anemia
If you fall into any of the above four categories, PRP restoration may not work for you. In every case, a medical professional should advise you on whether or not PRP is right for you.
PRP hair restoration is gaining popularity. The science behind the procedure validates it as a scientifically proven method to help counter male and female pattern baldness. There are few side effects to worry about as PRP is generally considered safe and effective.