Hair loss can be a life altering condition that causing many men and women to feel unattractive and older. It can make a person feel sad, have a loss of confidence and even develop feelings of depression.
About 50 million American men and 30 million women have male- or female-pattern baldness. It can begin early in life, but is much more common after the age of 50, when more than 50 percent of men will experience some kind of hair loss.
However an emerging treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma also known as PRP therapy appears to help regrow lost hair. There are virtually no side effects from PRP, except for mild feeling of pressure at the site of injection.
Why Does Hair Loss Occur?
Everyone loses some hair every day. All the hair follicles on the body cycle between active hair growth and then a period of resting and falling out. Normally we lose about 100 hairs every day.
Hair is produced by hair follicles. When a hair follicle dies it can’t grow hair and hair follicles do not regenerate once they die.
There are many reasons why people can lose hair (alopecia). Your genetic makeup is the major factor on hair health but other factors such as nutritional deficiencies such as low iron, hormonal disease like thyroid problems or polycystic ovaries and scarring alopecia where the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicle. Women can also lose hair due to excessive braiding or pulling known as traction alopecia. Physical or emotional stress, chemotherapy, infections and allergies to certain foods and medications are some of the causes for hair loss.
What Is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therpy?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is concentrated blood plasm which contains approximately three to five times the number of platelets in normal blood. In addition it also contains platelet derived growth factors (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), transforming growth factor (TGF), and other bioactive proteins that help in wound healing and hair growth. Growth factors in PRP have been used to facilitate wound healing. Studies have shown that growth factors in PRP may also be safe and effective treatment option for male and female pattern hair loss.
Human blood is comprised of Red blood cells, White blood cells, platelets and plasma. Platelets are the key to ability to heal wounds. By increasing the number of platelets in an area that has been wounded, healing can be accelerated, explaining the role of PRP in promoting hair growth.
Physicians began using PRP therapy about a decade ago to speed up the healing process in damaged joints after injury or surgery.
Doctors started using PRP in dermatology after research revealed that high concentrations of platelets help promote prolongation of the growing phase of the hair cycle.
PRP For Treating Hair Loss.
The PRP used in hair restoration is obtained from the patient’s own blood. The patient’s blood is drawn and is spun to separate the PRP from the plasma and the Red blood cells. A platelt activator is added to the blood to create a fibrin. This is injected into the area of hair loss. Prior to injection the doctor numbs the area by performing a ring block with local anesthesia like 1 % lidocaine. Some improvement can be expected in the first 2-6 months. The treatment should be continued periodically to maintain any improvement.
What Makes You A Good Candidate For PRP Therapy?
Part of the success of PRP comes from selecting the right patients for therapy. PRP is safe and effective for many people. However, you should not have PRP therapy if you fall into either of these groups:
•If you have an underlying disorder such as thyroid disease or lupus, you aren’t likely to have good results because these conditions will continue to cause hair loss over time.
•If you are on blood thinners, your platelets won’t work as effectively and the procedure is not as effective.
PRP therapy works better if your hair loss is recent. It is more challenging to “wake up” hair follicles that have been dormant for a long time.
Advantages of PRP Therapy against hair loss are:
Simple, non surgical procedure.
Multiple Injections: procedure lasting approximately 60 minutes.
Safe and reliable results.
Very quick recovery period.
Beautiful and above all extremely natural looking end results.
For best results consistency is the key. Treatments are typically performed once a month for the first three to four months, and then every three to six months thereafter, depending upon the response and results. It takes three to four months to see some improvement. At that time most of the patients both male and female will have about 30 to 40% of hair they have lost. The first thing that the patient notices is deceased shedding and then early regrowth and increased length of hair.
It is advisable to receive treatments every three to six months on a long term basis for continuing to stimulate the growth factors and stem cells that are associated with regrowth and stopping hair fallout.
PRP is combined with Rogaine and Minoxidil or Aldactone to help promote hair growth in men and post menopausal women.
Other treatments of hair loss:
It is a surgical procedure and it is recommended for those who have a dramatic hair loss. It is more costly and does leave a scar. PRP can be performed prior to surgery, which can provide better results with more dense hair growth.
Micoxidil (Rogaine)- a topical medication is FDA approved that helps regrow hair in both men and women. It works by reversing the shrinking of hair follicles. A stronger form of minoxidil 5% has been approved for women. It has shown to regrow hair both in men and women when used regularly in about 4 months.
Sprinolactone (Aldactone)- is a pill. It is anti-androgen that works in two days. It slows down the production of androgen hormons in the adrenal glands and ovaries and it blocks the action of androgens.
Finasteride (Propecia) is an oral medication that slows hair loss and in some cases may stimulate new hair growth if taken regularly. It prevents the conversion of testosterone to diethyltestosterone (DHT) which is the hormone in the follicles responsible for initiating androgenic hair loss. It decreases the levels of DHT and decrease in the progress of hair loss. The effects are usually seen in about 12 months.
This is not used in premenopausal women.
Laser Hair Rejuvination: Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) induces hair to enter the anagen phase (the phase that hair growth takes place). It is completely painless.
Natural Supplements. In some cases, natural supplements such as saw palmetto, biotin, and skin, nail and hair vitamins are recommended as part of the treatment process.