Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment is a promising new regenerative treatment for hair loss. It harnesses the power of platelet-stimulated hair growth to give you thicker and healthier hair. PRP is a three-step process that involves drawing blood, separating the platelets, and injecting the platelets into the scalp. Research shows that localized platelet injections increase the number of hair without adverse reactions (1), (2), (3).
If you want to regrow hair in certain areas of your scalp at an affordable cost, you may consider PRP therapy. But before you make a decision, find out what exactly PRP therapy is, how it works, and its cost, results, benefits, and possible side effects. Scroll down to know more!
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What Is PRP Treatment For Hair Loss?
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment helps stimulate hair growth in areas where your hair is thinning. This new-age hair regrowth treatment is a minimally invasive procedure carried out by licensed dermatologists. In this procedure, platelets are extracted from the patient’s blood and injected into the scalp. The platelets then work on the hair follicles to strengthen and revive them and trigger hair growth. PRP, unlike hair transplant, is not very costly and requires no downtime for surgical recovery.
Scroll down to find out how this procedure is carried out.
PRP Procedure – How Is PRP Done?
The procedure of PRP or platelet-rich plasma therapy for hair is quite simple. It is a minimally invasive three-step process:
- Step 1 – Draw Blood: A licensed medical professional draws blood from your arm and stores it in a sterile, airtight tube.
- Step 2– Separate Platelets: A lab technician puts the tube in a centrifuge and spins it for 10 minutes. This separates the red blood cells or RBCs (that settle at the bottom of the tube), serum (top layer), and platelets (middle layer).
- Step 3 – Inject Platelets: The platelets are drawn from the tube with the help of a syringe. The doctor then injects the platelets into the scalp wherever there is hair thinning and balding.
Clearly, it is a simple process. But, how does it work to help revive the hair follicles and stimulate hair growth? Let’s find out in the next section.
How Does PRP Stimulate Hair Growth?
PRP treatment for hair works on the same principle as wound healing. When you have a wound, the platelets in your blood release numerous growth factors and other biochemicals that help activate fibroblasts, collagen, and other factors to build a new layer of skin. The activated platelet-rich plasma injected in the scalp helps release the following growth factors to treat hair thinning, hair loss, and baldness:
- Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)
- Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
- Epidermal growth factor (EGF)
- Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
These growth factors boost the cell proliferation (cell growth) of the dermal papilla, differentiation (forming specialized cells, for e.g., skin cells), and chemotaxis (movement in response to chemical stimulus), increase permeability, reduce inflammation, and prevent hair cell death (apoptosis).
The growth factors in PRP also act on the stem cells that are found in the bulge area of follicles. This results in neovascularization and folliculogenesis, which is extremely important for hair regeneration (2).
Basically, PRP hair treatment helps recruit all the growth factors and biochemicals required to improve follicle vascularization, inhibit cell apoptosis, prolong the hair cycle or anagen phase, boost hair regrowth, improve blood supply, and reduce inflammation. However, more research is required to establish the exact mechanism of action of PRP treatment for hair.
Now that you know all about how PRP treatment works, let’s check out what kind of results it delivers.
PRP Results – Before And After Treatment
PRP treatment for hair loss has been quite successful for many people. Here are a few snapshots of people who have undergone PRP treatment showing their hair before and after PRP treatment results.
Cost Of PRP Treatment
The cost of PRP treatment ranges between $1500 to $3500 for the first three sessions. Thereafter, each session will cost you around $400. However, the cost depends on:
- Geographic location
- Equipment used (roller or injection)
- The reputation of the treatment center
- The doctor’s expertise
- The facilities at the treatment center
If you want to give PRP treatment a shot, we recommend that you research the treatment facility, their success rate, their doctors, and compare the prices at various treatment centers in your city. But, how many sessions do you need to see a visible difference? Scroll down to find out!
How Many Sessions Of PRP Treatment Do You Need?
PRP treatment for hair loss is not a one-time treatment. You need to undergo at least 4 sessions to see full growth. You will start seeing a difference in hair growth and thickness right after the first session.
Many users need to go back for a session of PRP treatment every 6 months. The number of sessions also depends on whether you are eating right, taking the supplements prescribed by the doctor, and taking care of your hair after the initial sessions. However, PRP treatment is not suitable for everybody. Check out the next section to find out if it will work for you.
On Whom Does PRP Treatment Work?
PRP or platelet-rich plasma treatment for hair loss works best on people who have started experiencing hair fall recently. There are many studies on people with androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness showing promising results. Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that is affected by hormones. Two studies were done on people with alopecia areata – an auto-immune disorder that causes hair thinning and balding – also showed that PRP therapy may be an effective treatment for the same (4), (5). However, more research is required to prove the same. Also, remember that PRP treatment does not cure balding.
If a part of your scalp has started thinning out recently, talk to your dermatologist to see if PRP treatment is the best option.
PRP therapy is a budding and effective hair loss treatment. But, is it a permanent solution for hair loss and balding? Find out in the next section.
Is PRP Hair Treatment A Permanent Solution?
No, PRP hair treatment is not a permanent solution. After the initial 3-4 sessions, you may not have to go back for another 6 months. Your hair roots will become stronger, and you will experience reduced hair fall. Overall, you will see a visible difference in your hair growth and thickness. However, you may have to go for a session after 6 months of the initial treatment. Sticking to the doctor-recommended PRP therapy sessions can prevent a second initiation of the therapy and keep your hair healthy.
PRP treatment may require several initial sessions and 1-2 sessions every year after that. But for those looking for a cost-effective hair loss treatment, PRP treatment has many benefits. Check them out in the next section.
Benefits Of PRP Treatment For Hair Loss
- Minimally invasive. You do not need to undergo surgery.
- It is a quick procedure.
- It is cheaper than hair transplantation.
- You can see the results right after the first session.
- It uses your own cells, thereby reducing the risk of transferring communicable diseases and allergic reactions.
- It is non-scarring.
- It does not require any recovery time.
- It can also be used to regenerate eyebrows or men’s facial hair.
- It improves your appearance and quality of life.
But every coin has a flip side. PRP treatment, like any other treatment, has a few risks that you must be aware of. Scroll down to find out all about them.
Are There Any Risks Associated With PRP Treatment?
PRP treatment for hair loss is a minimally invasive procedure. However, you may experience the following adverse effects:
- Mild pain at the site of injection.
- Headache and mild swelling.
- Itching and tenderness on the scalp.
- Slight bleeding at the site of injection.
Hair loss and hair thinning are medical conditions that affect many people around the world. PRP treatment is an effective and cheap hair loss treatment conducted by licensed dermatologists. Many research studies have backed it, saying that it improves hair density, hair count, and the health of the hair shaft significantly.
However, more research is required to find out why and how PRP works and how it affects different people. If you are experiencing hair fall, consult a dermatologist to find out what your options are. If changing your lifestyle, eating well, and taking supplements can work for you, there’s nothing like it. If that does not work, your doctor may recommend either PRP treatment or hair transplantation, depending on the stage of hair loss.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Why am I experiencing hair fall after PRP treatment?
You may start experiencing hair fall 6 months after PRP treatment. It is an indication that you need to go for another PRP treatment session.
How long do the effects of PRP treatment last for hair loss?
The effects of PRP treatment for hair loss lasts up to 6 months.
Will PRP treatment thicken my hair?
Yes, PRP treatment can help regrow your hair by stimulating the hair follicles, which may make your hair grow thicker and cover the areas where it is thinning.
Is PRP treatment better than minoxidil?
A study shows that PRP therapy is a good alternative to minoxidil therapy for androgenic alopecia (3). However, your dermatologist will be able to provide expert opinion on whether PRP therapy is ideal for you.
Is PRP treatment better than a hair transplant?
PRP treatment is good for areas where the hair has thinned out. However, it does not work for areas of complete baldness. In that case, a hair transplant works best. Talk to your doctor to know which treatment is best for you.
Is PRP treatment painful?
You may experience mild pain, scalp tenderness and swelling, and slight localized bleeding at the site of the PRP injection. But, do not be alarmed. It is not very painful and does not last for a prolonged period of time.
Can I stop minoxidil after PRP treatment?
It is best to continue applying minoxidil solution after PRP treatment. However, the concentration must be prescribed by a licensed dermatologist.
Is PRP treatment necessary after a hair transplant?
No, it is not necessary. However, PRP treatment after a hair transplant can help accelerate the hair regrowth and also has some potential side effects. Talk to your doctor to know if you should go for PRP treatment after a hair transplant.
Why do I have a headache after PRP hair treatment?
You may experience a mild headache due to the administration of the platelet-rich plasma injection. However, the pain diminishesafter a short period of time.
- Giordano, Salvatore et al. “A Meta-analysis On Evidence Of Platelet-rich Plasma for Androgenetic Alopecia.” International journal of trichology vol. 10,1 (2018): 1-10.
- Stevens, J, and S Khetarpal. “Platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia: A review of the literature and proposed treatment protocol.” International journal of women’s dermatology vol. 5,1 46-51.
- Verma, Kuldeep et al. “A Study to Compare the Efficacy of Platelet-rich Plasma and Minoxidil Therapy for the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia.” International journal of trichology vol. 11,2 (2019): 68-79.
- Singh, Sukhbir. “Role of platelet-rich plasma in chronic alopecia areata: Our centre experience.” Indian journal of plastic surgery : official publication of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India vol. 48,1 (2015): 57-9.
- Trink, A et al. “A randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled, half-head study to evaluate the effects of platelet-rich plasma on alopecia areata.” The British journal of dermatology vol. 169,3 (2013): 690-4.