Since Covid came into our lives, I’ve had more patients than ever asking me about how to deal with hair loss. This topic is tricky because there are many types and causes behind this, and determining both components is always the first step in tackling the issue at Skin + Aesthetics. However, with that being said, today I wanted to talk about one potential solution to hair loss, depending on your specific cause– PRP or natural growth factor injections.
To start, your own blood is drawn and collected in a small vial, which is labeled and taken to be spun down in a machine called a centrifuge. This process separates your blood into different components including red blood cells with leukocytes, platelet-rich plasma, and platelet-poor plasma. The platelet-rich plasma part is what you’ve likely heard talked about and is usually referred to as PRP or natural growth factor injections. PRP has been used for quite some time in indications such as orthopedic and sports injuries, regenerative medicine, and more recently, aesthetics.
Platelets are key blood components that stimulate cell growth and regeneration. Platelets are typically about five times more concentrated in PRP or natural growth factor injections than in regular blood. This high concentration of platelets is highly useful, as the platelets are responsible for the abundance of growth factors that are helpful in the healing and regrowth of tissues. As a majority of natural hair loss happens due to hair follicle damage, scientists thought that this treatment could aid in regrowing the hair by rejuvenating the damage of the follicle that happens in cases like androgenetic alopecia. After seeing success, the treatment is now being more widely used as a procedure in hair restoration.
As always, I strive to be upfront and honest with my patients and present you with the latest evidence. It is worth noting that PRP or natural growth factor injections are not for every type of hair loss. PRP in hair loss is still being studied, as different studies have shown conflicting evidence on whether PRP is as effective or more/less effective than other treatment options such as injected steroids.
Using the PRP/natural growth factors from the blood drawn from your body, the PRP is withdrawn from the vial and transferred into a syringe. The concentrated plasma is then injected into targeted regions of the scalp experiencing hair loss/thinning to rejuvenate the existing hair follicles and encourage new hair growth.
You should already have expected there would be some clinical data thrown in this post and here it is! In comparison to other treatment options that are and have been widely used in dermatology for hair loss (i.e. prescription medications like minoxidil or finasteride or stem cell-based therapy), 84% reported an improvement from using PRP. Of course, a lot of details went into that such as how much PRP was injected, how many sessions did the patient have, etc., but the bottom line is that we do know that PRP has been shown to be effective in improving hair loss.
It is important to note that the treatment is not a direct cure for underlying issues that cause hair loss. Again, we will ensure that all avenues are checked prior to moving forward with PRP therapy, as if hair loss is related to other disease processes, it is important to correct the root cause, not just attempt to put a band-aid on it. With that being said, results vary depending on the severity and type each patient has. Generally speaking, multiple treatments are required with touch-up treatments occurring to maintain results. For those having PRP or natural growth factor injections for hair loss, I usually will recommend having maintenance sessions every 3 to 6 months once hair loss is measured.
Although research is still being conducted on the role of PRP or natural growth factors in reducing hair loss, the studies that have been conducted thus far prove that PRP is an effective treatment option for some types of mild to moderate hair loss. If you’re struggling and want to see if PRP might be a solution for you, schedule an appointment with us!
As always, if you have any questions regarding the natural growth factors of any other services offered at S+A, feel free to shoot me a message!
Until next time,
Blakelee Paige Smith, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP-BC, NP-C
Dual Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner + Owner
Skin + Aesthetics
Dual board-certified nurse practitioner, dermatology fanatic, aesthetic injector, and proud owner of Skin + Aesthetics in Cookeville, Tennessee!