Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Hair Loss
by Edison de Mello, MD, PhD
What is PRP:
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), derived from a patient's blood, is rich in growth factors that can stimulate hair follicles to slow down hair loss and possibly even spur new hair growth.
A study in the journal Facial plastic surgery clinics of North America, November 2018, also found PRP to be an effective treatment in creating greater hair density and thickness.
At the University of Connecticut, doctors found that PRP showed a benefit on patients with androgenic alopecia, including increased hair density and quality.
In an October 2017 research study published in the European Journal of medical research, doctors confirmed earlier research that suggests PRP promotes hair growth and increases hair follicles by inducing angiogenesis. The formation of new blood vessels brings growth factors to the scalp.
In addition, PRP has been proven effective in preventing hair fall, improving hair shaft, hair stem, and its caliber, increasing its shine, vitality, and flexibility - and declining hair splitting and breakage.
PRP has also been proven effective in promoting wound healing and as an alternative to facelifts because it increases volumetric skin while promoting skin rejuvenation, regeneration, and reconstruction – and improves wrinkling.
At Akasha, PRP injections can be paired with microneedling. This non-surgical treatment uses tiny needles to penetrate the skin and induce the body's wound-healing response to create new collagen. Although adding this procedure to your treatment plan will incur another expense, it may be worth it because current Evidence points to this combination is an effective treatment for androgenic and androgenetic alopecia (aka male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness).
Combining PRP with Topical Treatments for higher effectiveness:
We may also recommend that you pair your PRP with a topical treatment, like minoxidil (commonly sold as the brand Rogaine) or finasteride (aka Propecia), in addition, hair growth supplements, like Nutrafol, may also be recommended to use in tandem with PRP in order to boost hair growth. These products will add to the overall cost of your treatment plan.
How many treatments are Needed:
The typical treatment plan starts with a series of six monthly PRP injection sessions to truly reap the hair growth benefits of this treatment. Some providers offer a price break if you pay for a series of treatments up-front. Results also don’t last without maintenance treatments, so after your initial series, you’ll need to factor additional treatments every few months or so into your total cost.
AFTER SIX PRP SESSIONS
Doctors and researchers from the Department of Dermatology, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Spain published their clinical findings of six years’ experience utilizing PRP for androgenetic alopecia.
- In Men with androgenetic alopecia
- successful outcome in 71.4%
- stayed the same 21.4%
- worsening hair loss problems 7.1%
- In Women with androgenetic alopecia
- successful outcome in 73.4%
- stayed the same 16.3%
- worsening hair loss problems 10.2%
Research Conclusion: “PRP together with a periodical application protocol can be considered effective as a coadjuvant therapy in patients who no longer respond to pharmacological treatments.” (5)
Does the size of the treatment area Matter?
If you’re living with alopecia areata, which manifests as patches of hair loss or bald spots, the treatment area could be smaller than someone who is trying to address loss across the crown (which is often the case with male pattern baldness). More time spent administering your PRP injections may increase the cost of your treatment.
Why are PRP injection costs so high?
Since PRP injections require a lot of equipment and skill to perform, prices for this hair restoration treatment can be high. Your provider needs the proper equipment to process your blood in a centrifuge to isolate the platelets, in addition to proper training and understanding of this precise treatment option.
While many experienced aesthetic medicine practitioners can administer Botox injections in under 10 minutes, PRP injections take more time (including the time it takes to draw your blood and numb your scalp).
Does Medical insurance Cover PRP Treatment
We highly recommend that you discuss the cost with your medical insurance provider beforehand regarding PRP hair loss treatment to stimulate hair growth for hair thinning and alopecia, so that you won’t be blindsided later. By doing this, you will have time to save up before the treatment starts. With PRP for hair loss, less stress yields more hair growth, even without PRP injections.
A January 2021 study offers us an up-to-date overview of PRP therapy for hair loss and restoration in cases of alopecia. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33421285/)
“PRP is a safe and easy method for treating hair loss and has limited adverse effects. Optimization of this method depends on dosage, number of sessions and their intervals, and injection techniques. According to the results, the use of PRP due to its relatively high efficiency, low and tolerable side effects, and low recurrence rate can be a good method for the treatment of alopecia and hair loss.”
PRP hair treatment is one of the fastest growing hair restoration treatments currently available on the market and is likely only to become more popular with time.
Edison de Mello, MD, Ph.D., is the founder and The Chief Medical Officer of the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine - a leading center in integrative Medicine. Dr. de Mello is also the founder and Clinical Director of AkashaNaturals.com - a nutritional supplement company emphasizing the "less is more approach."