Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for hair loss.
If you are reading this article right now, then you probably are familiar with the scientific fact stating that our blood is responsible for transporting nutrients, oxygen and water throughout the body. Well blood has proved its efficiency to play more significant roles as it could be used to treat hair loss (baldness) within what is known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is a yellowish watery substance that forms half of the blood and gives it the necessary fluidity. It contains water, salts, proteins, nutrients and gases. Plasma’s main function is transporting particles to the body cells. For hair loss, Plasma has been marked as a treatment only 30 years ago.
What is PRP therapy for hair loss?
PRP therapy is a cosmetic procedure that indicates injecting someone’s own platelet rich plasma into their scalp to promote hair growth.
The Mechanism of PRP & Hair loss
When plasma is injected into the scalp, it promotes renewal of the cells and spurs production of protein & collagen “The two substances that give freshness and vitality to the skin”. PRP also activates the growth factor inside the Platelets, which promotes tissue regeneration. In addition, the secret of plasma effectiveness lies behind its contribution to inhibiting the hormone responsible of hair falling. This overall promoting & inhibiting mechanism results into fresh scalp that regrows and nourishes hair.
What are the causes of Hair Loss?
Despite the causes, PRP treatment has been proved to be an effective and immediate solution for hair loss (baldness) especially in its early stages.
The causes of hair loss include:
- Genetic causes especially in men.
- Skin diseases such as alopecia.
- Drugs with side effects on hair follicles.
- Blood supply problems caused by malnutrition.
- Wrong usage of shampoos and pigments- especially those rich in ammonia.
- Wrong practices like over use of hair dryers.
- Anemia and vitamin deficiency.
- Strict diets
PRP. Growth Factors
The significance of Platelet Rich-Plasma (PRP) in simulating blood vessels, renewing cells and production of antibodies, has led scientists to apply more experiments on it. Their hard effort resulted in a modern treatment for hair loss that is less invasive yet effective. The scientific explanation behind that lies within the growth factors that a PRP needle contains.
These growth factors are:
- platelet derived growth factor (PDGF)
- transforming growth factor beta (TGFß)
- Keratinocyte growth factor
- Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF)
- Fibroblast growth factors
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
- insulin-like growth factors (IGFs)
PRP therapy- Am I a good candidate!
Despite the cause, you can take PRP injection as long as you suffer any type of hair loss including:
- Genetic male/female pattern hair loss.
- Hair loss caused by a scar in the scalp.
- Alopecia or any other type of skin diseases.
PRP- Who can NOT receive the therapy?
Conditions that prevent you from receiving this type of hair loss therapy include:
- low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
- Chronic heart disease
- Liver diseases including liver viruses.
PRP- The Cost
Although it varies depending on the center’s policies or physician, one thing to know is that PRP injection is a cost-affordable treatment. This fact actually is one of the major reasons behind its popularity amongst hair loss patients. The price may also vary depending on the country. For example, a one session of PRP treatment costs $4000 in KSA and $5000 in UAE while it only costs $150 to $400 in Turkey.
PRP- The Best clinic
It might be hard to find a clinic that applies quality PRP treatment standards, especially with the increasing number of unlicensed hair restoration centers. An excellent clinic however, is one that has a qualified physician with established reputation among people who have taken PRP therapy before. It is also critical to make sure that the clinic is licensed, and possess international certifications of quality.
The process of PRP
PRP therapy for hair restoration is a safe non-surgical procedure that does not require anesthesia, and takes few minutes for every session. For each session, you will go through the following steps:
- The doctor takes small amount of blood (about 8ms) from your blood.
- Blood is then placed in a special medical device (centrifuge) that separates plasma rich with platelets from other components of the blood.
- Calcium added into plasma to speed up its effect.
- The plasma then placed in special needles.
- The doctor injects the scalp with plasma. “This doesn’t necessarily require the use of anesthesia”. You still can ask the physician to use anesthesia or ice to eliminate the expected pain of injection.
Previous steps are repeated at every session. The number of sessions vary as the physician suggests. Results could be noticed within the third session, but the final one takes usually 3 to 6 months. You will also be expected to follow your physician’s instructions post to every procedure.
As mentioned earlier, PRP injection is entirely safe as long as it is applied by a skillful and experienced physician. Few minor side-effects may include:
- Slight itching at the injected area
- Temporary slight redness on the scalp
- Temporary tingling immediately after injection.
Results of PRP Treatment
It is very important to remember that the outcome of this therapy varies from someone to another based on many factors like the physical condition, reason behind hair loss and age. You should also note that it might take 6 months to reach the final result since the renewal of cells takes two to three months. Preliminary results however, may appear post to the third session in form of slight appearance of short hairs in the injected areas. After that, the hair will continue to grow up normally, which is the thing that shows effectiveness of PRP approach. Sometimes with severe types of baldness however, it is recommended to undergo a hair transplant procedure instead.
PRP- the sooner the better
For an effective PPR therapy, a hair loss patient should act immediately before the hair loss goes to next stages. The psychological state post to each session is also of a great importance and for that, you should always do your best to find the best physician and best clinic.
- Make sure the clinic or center is carefully sterilized and hygienic.
- Ensure that all tools used in blood extraction or injection are sterilized.
- Wash and dehydrate your scalp before injection.
- Make certain the tools used are new and not reused.
- Do not forget to use prescribed ointments after each session to eliminate any possibility of infection.
Pre & post PRP tips
It is highly recommended that you pay attention to the following things prior and post taking your sessions:
- Find the best physician.
- Stop taking medications that affect platelets measure such as aspirin.
- Inform the physician of any chronic disease you suffer from, or drugs you have been taking.
- Make certain that the clinic is licensed from the authorized party in the respective country.
- Be sure the physician has performed successful procedures to people before you.
- Perform the necessary tests before and after each session.
Ask your physician.
- Am I a good candidate for a PRP therapy?
- How many sessions do I need and how much does it cost for each one?
- How long will it take the preliminary results to appear based on my condition?
- Will I still need a hair transplant after the PRP therapy?
- Have you performed PRP successful procedures before?
- What is the aggregate cost of all sessions?
- What risks and side effects to expect?
- Will I feel pain during treatment sessions?
- What instructions to follow post to every session?
- Is there any recommended drugs or ointments to use after each injection?
- Does direct exposure to sunlight have any effect on the results of PRP therapy?
- Is it possible to wear headgears or veil right after injections?
- Is there any negative effects of dyes on the results?
- What is the expected result after each injection?
- Is there any immediate results expected after each injection?
How to find the best doctor?
Foremost, a good doctor is the one who can inspire his patients and clarify the image for them regarding process and results. As for hair transplant, a good doctor is the one who meets the following criteria:
- Good knowledge and long experience in the field of cosmetic medicine- particularly, PRP therapy.
- Has an excellent record of previous successful procedures.
- Has to be licensed from authorized party within the country.
- Preferably, has conducted several studies and searches in the field of plasma injection.