While platelet rich plasma treatment has traditionally been the domain of medical conditions and sports medicine, more cosmetic applications for PRP treatment have been explored in the past few years. One of the foremost conditions that have been seeing a lot of attention is hair regrowth and hair restoration, or treating hair conditions like androgenic alopecia and androgenetic alopecia with a PRP injection.
But what does science have to say about the capabilities of PRP treatment? While there hasn’t been plenty of clinical studies about how PRP therapy can work on hair follicle regrowth, there is enough evidence to push it as an alternative to methods like a hair transplant for improving hair density. However, practices need to keep in mind that the differences in these studies aren’t a guarantee that their own platelet rich plasma therapy will go well.
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PRP therapy has a fair amount of clinical evidence for sports medicine and wound recovery – for example, using a platelet rich plasma injection for joint pain and injuries. While the studies on PRP hair treatment aren’t as widespread, they do show some good results:
Despite hair thinning being commonly associated with men, there are plenty of cases concerning female hair loss as well. These cases of androgenetic alopecia were closely examined in a series of studies around 2019, which involved patients being given PRP therapy to treat male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss.
Two different studies report that PRP hair treatments helped patients with increased hair regrowth and improved hair thickness, especially for the people who had alopecia areata. While the exact scope and limitations of the two studies are still too small to confirm that PRP treatment works every time, the similarities in results were promising enough for some cosmetic clinics to start offering PRP hair treatments themselves.
One reason why these studies are of note is that they involve both men and women in their findings. While the scalp of men and women don’t necessarily differ, the common methodologies – like hair restoration products – can often contain compounds that can interfere with normal bodily functions like hormonal levels. Because hair growth is linked with hormonal fluctuations, hair regrowth products need to be handled with extreme care by either gender.
But since autologous PRP (especially in the hands of an experienced dermatologist) is biocompatible with the patient that it was extracted from, there’s virtually no risk of the body rejecting the treatment or reacting to it negatively in some way. The two studies didn’t report any serious side effects from either gender with the application of PRP treatment, which makes it a potential candidate as a general-use treatment for hair loss.
Another 2019 study looked to compare the results from PRP treatment vs products like minoxidil to treat alopecia. Given that minoxidil products such as Rogaine have traditionally been one of the most effective ways to treat hair loss without invasive measures like hair transplant surgery (especially for male pattern baldness), this study looked to establish which of the two treatments would be preferable.
The results were somewhat mixed. While PRP treatment did have better results compared to minoxidil with hair loss, the total level of platelets that the patient had was a significant factor in how successful their treatment was. The higher their platelet levels, the more receptive they were to the PRP treatment compared to the others in the same group.
This was crucial to establish since PRP therapy uses platelet concentrates to trigger the body’s wound healing response, which leads to additional cell growth and regeneration. A low platelet level meant that the autologous PRP sample (no matter how pure) would perform worse than the same pure sample extracted from a person with higher platelets in their body.
Given that PRP treatment relies heavily on the total amount of platelets in the serum for effective results, this study established that PRP treatment alone isn’t a surefire solution to addressing issues like androgenetic alopecia. The study itself didn’t pursue the lead about platelet count and efficacy of PRP treatments, but it does point to the conclusion that based on their platelet count, a patient can be disqualified from PRP treatment entirely.
While PRP therapy may have an effect on hair regrowth, the actual health of the hair follicle is a little more difficult to pin down. Two studies in 2014 and 2015 examined the effect of consistent PRP injection on hair follicles, and how overall PRP therapy can help with hair health.
The two studies found sufficient evidence that consistent PRP treatments improve hair thickness, hair density, and overall scalp health. By increasing the number of hair follicles grown during the treatment, PRP therapy can drastically improve the look of thinning hair, and may even make it more resilient against future hair loss.
This study was crucial to establishing how well the visible results of PRP therapy may look compared to other direct methods like hair transplantation. One complaint that patients usually report with hair regrowth treatments is while they do experience hair regrowth, the kind of hair they get is more like vellus hair, which is softer and less visible than the hair that may have had before.
These three types of clinical studies form much of the basis of what makes PRP treatment a possible method for addressing hair loss. But while the effects of these treatments are promising, what exactly is holding back PRP treatment from widespread adoption by clinics and other practices?
PRP treatment for hair regrowth isn’t new, and some clinics and cosmetic practices have already started offering it with their services. However, the relatively small sample sizes, differing methodologies, and other yet-unstudied effects about PRP treatment mean that as of this writing, there’s too much in the air to absolutely guarantee PRP therapy as a way to address hair regrowth.
A significant factor that many practices may struggle with – and has been one of the bigger points of contention with these clinical studies – is the relatively small sample size of patients who have access to PRP treatments. PRP preparation isn’t as complicated as other treatments like stem cell therapy and hair transplantation, but it still requires special equipment and an experienced dermatologist to conduct the procedure.
Not all practices have access to the equipment required or have the certification and training to conduct PRP treatments. And while it’s technically possible for any laboratory-grade equipment to get platelet concentrate, it’s only PRP-grade centrifuges that can give the best possible odds of getting a pure PRP sample.
Considering the variety of PRP kits available on the market, the lack of a scientific standard with conducting PRP treatments, and relative inaccessibility to most practices, PRP treatments for hair loss need a lot more time and studies before becoming a widespread procedure that a clinic can offer with confidence. As of the moment, there are plenty of other alternatives that can work better for hair restoration.
Read more: What Is Included in a Prp Kit?
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One of these alternatives is PEP Growth Factor products, a treatment that uses a mixture of fibroblast growth factor, copper peptides, and other essential compounds that may help improve the appearance of hair and manage scalp health.
While not a long-term treatment like PRP therapy, PEP Factor products can leverage its method of application as something far easier for a patient to go through. PEP Growth Factor can be applied in-clinic and boosted with laser therapy to make sure that the product is absorbed by the scalp, or applied by the patient at home via a topical cream.
This means that unlike PRP treatments, a clinic can easily offer the product to their clients without needing to invest significant time and effort that’s normally required from PRP hair treatment. Anyone from a dermatologist to an aesthetician can help a patient go through a PEP Factor routine, with visible results as early as two to three weeks.
PEP Growth Factor products can also work as supplementary treatments to other hair regrowth methods, including PRP therapy. Since the active ingredients found in PEP Factor products don’t interfere with most hair treatments, it’s possible to combine their effects for a more comprehensive hair regrowth program with quicker results.
The only thing that clinics and patients need to keep in mind is to secure their PEP Growth Factor products from a reliable supplier since any substandard PEP Factor product is unlikely to give them the results that they want.
While there haven’t been enough studies about the full effects of PRP therapy on hair growth and hair restoration, the initial clinical trials do give promising results. PRP hair restoration treatments are also becoming more accessible to cosmetic practices – and with the right equipment and enough experience, it may be able to treat conditions like male and female pattern hair loss, thinning hair, or telogen effluvium without the need for other drugs like oral finasteride or topical minoxidil.
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Read more: Is PRP Hair Treatment A Permanent Solution To Hair Loss?
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