Lush, thick, flowing hair surrounds us in media, from shampoo commercials, to our Instagram accounts. We are bombarded with hair thickening products to hair extensions, but what do we do when nothing we do seems to fix our thinning strands and small bald spots begin to show through? PRP, or platelet rich plasma, essentially contains platelets that are key to stimulating hair follicles to generate hair growth. PRP is an ideal component of hair restoration because it is highly effective in stimulating inactive hair follicles, causing them to revert to the growth phase, so you can reclaim your hair.
What causes hair loss in women?
Hair thinning affects more women than we realize because for some reason it is not commonly discussed. It is estimated to affect nearly 40 million American women and it is largely due to heredity and can start any time following puberty. We do know that other factors can also contribute to hair loss in women, such as stress, medical conditions, medications, nutrition, and hair care.
What causes hair loss in men?
Hair loss in men follows a very specific, and progressive pattern that is determined by heredity. This hair loss is triggered by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This hormone causes hair follicles to miniaturize and weaken, leaving the hair on the scalp to thin or lose hair completely. Over 60 million American men are affected by male pattern hair loss.
What are PRP hair regrowth treatments and how do they work?
PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma can be used for hair regrowth and takes place in-office and is a non-surgical treatment that takes about 1 hour. After the area is evaluated and measured, photos will be taken. The platelets are derived from your own blood through a standard blood draw and then carefully treated to remove the other blood cells. PRP contains growth factors and follicle cytokines that have been shown to stimulate and enhance the hair follicule’s function. The areas on the scalp is numbed with an anesthetic cream and often with anesthetic injections. Once you are comfortable, small injections of the PRP into the scalp delivers the growth factors to the targeted follicles.
What are the growth factors in PRP that helps with hair loss?
- Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF) — promotes blood vessel growth, cell replication, skin formation
- Transforming Growth-Factor-Beta (TGF-b) — promotes growth of matrix between cells, bone metabolism
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) — promotes blood vessel formation
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) — promotes cell growth and differentiation, blood vessel formation, collagen formation
- Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 (FGF-2) — promotes growth of specialized cells and blood vessel formation
- Insulin Like Growth Factor (IGF) — a regulator of normal physiology in nearly every type of cell in the body
Who is the ideal candidate for PRP treatments for hair loss?
At RevivaMed, we focus on two types of hair loss patients, those who have active hair follicles but have poor hair growth and patients with small areas of alopecia. We have found these patients have the best results from PRP hair treatments.
When can you expect results from PRP and how long do they last?
It takes six to twelve months to judge the results of PRP “visually” in the mirror or with standardized photos. The PRP “activate” hair follicles into a growth cycle and it begins the process of growing new hair strands. For the most advanced results, some patients choose to have PRP therapy performed monthly for four months. This ensures that the hair follicles remain stimulated and that the hair growth is progressing as it should be.
What are the risks and benefits of PRP treatments?
PRP is a simple in-office, non-surgical treatment that takes about an hour from start to finish. The majority of the time is spent relaxing with numbing cream in place while we treat your blood to produce the highest quality of PRP. You may notice some slight inflammation after treatment and a small number of patients may experience a slight amount of swelling in the forehead and around the eyes the next day. We encourage you to avoid washing your hair for 24 hours following treatment and to liberally use the growth serum provided to you. Hair growth improvements can be measured in about three months, but it will take six months to a year to visibly “see” the improvement in pictures or the mirror.
Patients with some blood disorders or on certain medications are not candidates for PRP. PRP is derived from your own body and poses very little risk for allergy, hypersensitivity or foreign-body reactions. At RevivaMed, we use a system specifically designed to deliver a consistent quality of PRP.
How long do the benefits of PRP treatments last?
According to published reports, PRP tends to improve hair caliber and hair growth for about four to six weeks, with repeated treatments as often as every month. On average, most patients will be required to repeat PRP treatments yearly in order to maintain the hair growth effects, although patients tend to prefer to do treatments quarterly.
What are the pre-treatment instructions?
- Avoid Advil, Aleve, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Naproxen (all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents), Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Gingko Biloba, Garlic, Flax Oil, Cod LIver, Essential Fatty Acids (EPA, DHA) for at least 1 week prior and 2 weeks after your treatment, if allowed by your primary doctor. Remember, our goal is to create inflammation so that your body begins the healing process and rejuvenates your less active hair follicles. These listed medications will limit or prevent inflammation, which can diminish your results.
- Please let us know about all medications that you are taking or medical conditions that you may have as some may exclude you from treatment.
What are the post-treatment instructions?
- DO NOT touch, press, or manipulate the treated area(s) for at least 8 hours after your treatment.
- It is normal to experience bruising, redness, itching, swelling, and/or soreness that may last for 2-5 days following the treatment. If you experience any pain or discomfort you may take Tylenol or other Acetaminophen-containing products as directed.
- We would prefer if you could refrain from applying ice to the injected area as ice acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Do not wet your hair for at least 3 hours after your treatment and preferably 24 hours.
- Avoid saunas, steam rooms, and swimming for 2 days after your treatment.
- Do not use any hair products for at least 6 hours after your treatment.
- Avoid vigorous exercise, sun, and heat exposure for at least 2 days after your treatment.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes for 3 days after treatment. Smokers have poor results due to decreased vascularity.
- Avoid resuming Minoxidil (Formula 82M, Rogaine) for hair coloring or straightening for 3 days afterwards.
- Expect to do monthly treatments for at least 3 months and then quarterly for maintenance.
Are there any contraindications or other factors that would make someone ineligible for PRP?
At RevivaMed, we are careful to educate patients on what realistic expectations they should have from PRP in various areas of the scalp. Different areas of the scalp may respond differently to PRP depending on the amount of weak hair follicles present in each zone. Generally, with the exception of small round areas of alopecia areata, locations where severe depletion of follicles has occurred should not be treated. The vast majority of healthy individuals can easily undergo PRP treatments. Certain conditions like blood and platelet disorders, chronic liver disease, presence of an active severe infection, and/or the presence of anticoagulation therapy (e.g. warfarin) would make PRP contraindicated. Recent steroid treatments and smoking are relative contraindications.
At RevivaMed we offer complimentary consultations so if you have questions or want to see if PRP hair restoration is an option for you, please call 858-459-2040 to make your appointment. There is no reason why you have to continue with thinning hair when there is a result-driven and cost-effective treatment to help you.