Platelet-Rich plasma injections (PRP)
It is natural to lose hair: men and women lose an average of 50 to 100 hairs per day, most of the time without noticing. The loss of hair can be temporary or permanent, and although it is generally not a cause of medical concern, hair loss can be distressing. When this happens, several effective treatment options may be recommended, including platelet-rich plasma injections, a novel blood-based hair loss treatment.
Dr Eleojo Achimugu is a senior hair transplant surgeon at The Mae Clinic, a renowned hair transplantation treatment centre in London. In the first part of a two-part series on treatment options for hair loss, Dr Achimugu offers a comprehensive insight into how PRP injections are used for hair loss.
What does PRP do? Does it regrow hair?
PRP is a therapeutic treatment that utilises a concentration of the patients’ own platelets and growth factors to help promote hair regrowth and to strengthen existing hairs. PRP essentially taps into the body’s own natural ability to regenerate and heal.
Many studies support the effectiveness of PRP for hair loss, suggesting that PRP can help stimulate dormant hair follicles, slow down the rate of hair loss and cause hair to appear thicker by strengthening existing hairs. In some reports, PRP appears to even help support new hair growth.
In cases where there are missing hairs, patients have reported how their hair looks stronger and has grown longer after PRP. These factors contribute to an appearance of a denser scalp, after PRP. The results of PRP treatment are individual, most patients like PRP for its hair strengthening effects.
What is involved in the PRP procedure? How long does PRP treatment last?
We only offer PRP treatment following an initial consult for hair loss and formation of a bespoke hair-loss treatment plan.
PRP treatment itself is a relatively quick, out-patient procedure in which a sample of blood is obtained from the arm – the amount of this sample depends on the size of the area we need to treat. The blood is then carefully spun to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. This golden plasma obtained, contains a rich concentration of platelets and growth factors. The PRP is then gently injected into the area we need to treat using very fine needles.
For hair loss, PRP offers a non-surgical treatment option for both men and women with little downtime (approximately half an hour.) Many also consider PRP a natural treatment because it utilises natural growth factors from the patient’s own body and some choose this in-order to avoid the potential side effects that may appear with certain medications.
With PRP therapy, a course of treatment is initially required once a month for the first four sessions, after which the positive effects of PRP can be upheld with a maintenance treatment. Once a course of treatment has been completed, the results of PRP may last from six months to a year. Some maintain effects every three to twelve months. The time between treatment depends on each individual case, however, and one patient who has PRP might see a different result from another patient.
What makes a person eligible to have PRP treatment?
Most healthy people are eligible for PRP treatment. However, people with certain medical conditions must not be considered, and suitability for PRP will be determined at the initial consultation.
For patients for whom PRP is not beneficial, a bespoke treatment plan will be created during the same first consultation. An example of this is the use of alternative non-biological products in Mesotherapy treatments for hair loss.
Does PRP have side effects?
PRP treatment uses platelets and growth factors from the patient’s own blood, and as such, there are few side effects. The likelihood of experiencing an allergic reaction is minimal to non-existent.
After PRP treatment, the treated area may feel a little sensitive and look a little red, but this is temporary and usually settles quickly. The redness is not so obvious in most patients as the areas is covered by existing hairs.
What should people do and avoid doing after having PRP treatment for their hair?
PRP has little downtime, meaning that patients can resume all other activities immediately after treatment.
Regarding the treated area, patients should look after their scalp as usual but we recommend taking certain precautions, such as:
- Allow twelve to twenty-four hours after treatment before shampooing hair
- Avoid the use of any harsh chemicals in the treated area for the first three days following treatment
- Minimising sun exposure and taking the usual precautions in the sun
PRP can be a brilliant treatment option for both men and women who wish to begin addressing their hair loss. To achieve a synergistic effect and maintain natural-looking results, PRP injections can be used successfully in combination with other hair loss treatments or PRP can be used on its own.
Head on over to the second part of this series if you wish to find out about hair transplant surgery, another effective treatment option for hair loss.