Stop hair loss in its tracks. PRP hair restoration is a natural, scientifically backed, treatment for hair loss with zero downtime and no side effects. Here’s what you need to know about treatment and what you can really expect.
Everyone feels a bit of panic at a widening part, a growing bald spot, or a brush full of hair —and no one wants it to get worse. Fortunately, hair loss isn’t the battle it once was. While surgery or drugs used to be the only option, there’s now a treatment called PRP hair restoration. In short, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), taken from your own blood, is injected into your scalp to reactivate hair follicles and promote regrowth. The treatment takes less than an hour, and you can go straight back to your day when it’s finished. Wondering if it actually works? PRP hair restoration has recently been called the holy-grail of regrowth.
Let’s answer all the questions you may have about hair loss, PRP treatment, and what the results will look like for you.
What causes hair loss?
At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing. Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by a wide variety of other factors. Losing hair is a normal part of the hair life cycle. We all lose about 50-100 hairs on a daily basis. Typically, thick, strong hair grows back in its place, but sometimes things go wrong.
When you suffer from hair loss, your hair follicles start to shrink in a process called “miniaturization.” The follicles produce less hair with each growth cycle and eventually disappear completely. Additionally, your hair growth cycle gets shorter and functioning hair follicles spend more time in a resting phase where they don’t produce new hair.
Let’s look at your hair follicle for a minute:
Hair follicles are shaped like a bulb. The bottom of the bulb meets a structure called the Papillia, a cluster of cells that supply nutrients and oxygen to the hair. It’s also rich in blood vessels. The Papillia plays a crucial role in hair formation, growth, and cycling, so if it’s damaged or starts to shrink, so does your hair.
So, What is PRP? And what does it have to do with hair loss?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a protein derived from whole blood. A small blood sample is taken prior to PRP hair restoration and put into a centrifuge, which spins at a high speed. The centrifuge separates the platelets from the other blood components so they can be used for treatment.
Platelets are blood cells that do several jobs in your body. They release healing proteins called “growth factors” that promote blood clotting, help wounds heal and tissues regenerate, enable cell growth, and reduce inflammation.
Think about your shrinking hair follicles. Researchers theorize that PRP can kick start hair follicles and reverse miniaturization, leading to less hair loss and eventually to regrowth.
Nice Theory. Can PRP ACTUALLY help regrow hair?
Yes, it can! The principle underlying PRP hair restoration is wonderfully simple. The healing growth factors in PRP increase blood supply to the hair follicle, stimulate stem cell growth, and force the hair follicle into an active growth phase. This jump starts dormant hair and causes it to start growing again. PRP can also help the follicle return to its normal size, prior to miniaturization, encouraging thicker, longer regrowth.
PRP hair restoration has developed a reputation amongst cosmetic surgeons as an effective treatment and there are studies to support this.
In a 2014 study, researchers observed a significant reduction in hair loss between the first and fourth PRP hair restoration treatments as well as a notable increase in hair count. The researchers also conducted a “pull test” for excessive shedding after every treatment. After the fourth pull test, 81% of patients had negative results, or no shedding. This study concluded “PRP is a simple, cost-effective and feasible treatment for androgenic alopecia, with high overall patient satisfaction.”
In another study, Greek researchers at Democritus University of Thrace, tested PRP hair restoration on 20 patients with androgenetic alopecia. Each patient had three PRP hair restoration sessions every 21 days and a booster session at 6 months. At 6 months and at 1 year, hair volume was significantly increased. They concluded “PRP injections may have a positive therapeutic effect on male and female pattern hair loss without remarkable major side effects.”
You can read about several other studies here.
Am I a good candidate for PRP hair restoration?
PRP is most effective on those with androgenetic alopecia, hereditary hair thinning that affects men and women. Some experts believe it may also treat women with traction alopecia, hair loss caused by tight hair styles that pull the hair out.
The best candidates for PRP hair restoration are those who have just started losing their hair. Your chances of positive results are higher if you:
- Are in the early stages of hair loss
- Notice areas of “weak quality” hair growth amongst areas of regular growth
- Have small areas of hair loss
- Are otherwise in good health
PRP hair restoration requires functioning hair follicles, so, it won’t work if you’re already completely bald.
As with any treatment, PRP hair restoration may not be right for everyone. Always get an evaluated by a skilled physician to determine if PRP hair restoration is the optimal treatment for your particular condition. At OxyBeauty, we offer free consultations for all of our services.
What can I expect during PRP hair restoration treatment?
First things first, the clinician handling your treatment will need to draw some blood. It’s good to stay hydrated in the days leading up to your treatment as it will boost your plasma levels and make it easier to draw blood. Approximately 10 ml of blood are drawn into a vacuum tube containing a gel and anticoagulants. The blood is placed in a centrifuge, which separates the red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Your clinician will then remove the platelets located at the bottom of the plasma phase. These plasma-laced platelets are 8 to 12 times more concentrated than other platelets and are most effective for PRP hair restoration.
Your clinician may offer you the option of local anesthetic before they begin the PRP injections. Most patients just feel pressure during treatment with little to no pain.
Once treatment begins, 100% PRP (from your own blood) is injected into the upper layer of your scalp, wherever your hair loss occurs. Ice, or cooling jets are used to alleviate any discomfort you may have during the procedure. The treatment typically takes less than an hour.
What’s the downtime after PRP hair restoration?
There’s zero downtime after treatment. It’s one of the biggest benefits of PRP hair restoration. When your treatment is complete, you can go back to work or go about your day.
Are there any side effects?
Side effects of PRP hair restoration are minimal and extremely mild. Because you’re injecting the skin in multiple places, you may experience a little redness, tenderness, swelling, or bruising on your scalp. These side effects usually subside quickly. Taking Advil or Tylenol after treatment will help if you’re uncomfortable.
PRP is taken from your own blood (and there are no drugs or foreign agents in the injections) so a reaction to the PRP itself is unlikely. This is why PRP hair restoration is referred to as a natural treatment.
If you’re concerned about potential side effects, speak to your clinician and ask to see some photos. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about the treatment.
What about after care? Any special instructions?
To avoid infection or further irritation of your scalp, you should refrain from the following for 24-48 hours after PRP hair restoration:
- Don’t wash your hair for 24 hours after treatment
- No swimming for 48 hours after treatment
- No exercise or excessive sweating for 48 hours after treatment
- No dry shampoo, gel, sprays or any hair products for 24 hours after treatment
What kind of results can I REALLY expect?
There is no standardized procedure for PRP hair restoration. Different practitioners use different injection formulas and strategies, so results will vary from patient to patient. According to the most recent studies, 70 percent of patients have optimal results following treatment.
Results include a decrease in shedding, new hairs, and thicker, longer, higher quality hair growth. PRP hair restoration will not regrow a full head of hair, but you can expect a definite improvement in fullness and you won’t lose any more hair.
For optimal results you should have three treatments 4–6 weeks apart and maintenance treatments every 4-6 months.
While most patients get great results from PRP hair restoration alone, it’s an excellent complement to other hair loss treatments. PRP can further encourage hair growth after hair transplants, or the use of hair loss medications. We’re happy to speak to you about making PRP treatments part of your broader hair loss treatment regime.
How soon will I see results?
Results vary from patient to patient. Most patients notice less shedding immediately after treatment. About 2 weeks after treatment, you may notice thicker hair as well as new hair growth in the treated area. Measurable results take a bit longer – about three to six months from your initial treatment.
Is PRP hair restoration permanent?
PRP hair restoration is not permanent. Results will last anywhere from 3-6 months. In order to maintain hair regrowth and fullness, you’ll need maintenance treatments every 4 to 6 months.
How much does PRP hair restoration cost?
It varies from clinic to clinic, but the average cost of PRP hair restoration is $500 per treatment. You’ll need 3-6 treatments within a year and then ongoing maintenance treatments every 4 to 6 months.
PRP is not currently covered by any medical insurance.
The bottom line:
PRP hair restoration is a great medically and scientifically backed treatment option for those struggling with hair loss. It’s not a quick fix and it does require a commitment, but zero downtime, mild (if any) side effects, and relative affordability make PRP an increasingly popular hair loss treatment. We’re watching the growing body of research that supports PRP with great interest.