Platelet-rich plasma therapy has quickly risen in popularity as a general-purpose treatment for a variety of medical and cosmetic conditions, especially for conditions like hair loss. Because it’s a non-invasive and biocompatible treatment, patients have increasingly sought it as an alternative to treatments like hair transplantation or topical minoxidil. All you need are injections on the scalp, and you should be able to experience renewed hair growth and improvements in hair density.
But how effective are platelet-rich plasma treatments for patients who struggle with hair loss, and is it always the best option? While most studies point to PRP treatments and their beneficial effects on cells and tissue, its effects on thinning hair are less understood. This doesn’t mean that the treatment can’t work for you – but you should set your expectations accordingly. And if possible, you should prepare alternatives in case the results aren’t to your liking.
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Unlike a drug or a surgical procedure, platelet-rich plasma treatment relies on your body’s own cell repair and regrowth mechanisms to work. By extracting a pure platelet concentration from your body, providers can inject it back into the treatment area – improving your wound healing, rejuvenating cells and tissue, and improving blood supply and blood flow.
PRP injections in particular can release growth factors that revitalize the skin, including the hair follicles that eventually grow out of your hair. By improving scalp health and making nutrients more accessible via the blood vessels underneath, the platelet-derived growth factor can assist with hair regrowth and hair restoration. Depending on the type of treatment and how early it was started, it can even slow down or prevent certain types of hair loss altogether.
By increasing the concentration of platelets in the treated area, your body can start its wound healing and regenerative response – which is normally reserved for cases where its sustained an injury. With direct injections to the scalp, the platelets can bind to cells for easier repair, which can help stabilize your hair cycle and slow down progressive hair loss.
PRP isn’t the only way you can regrow hair – there are plenty of treatment options that can also help you manage thinning hair and other related conditions. However, there are a few reasons why PRP therapy may be better for patients:
In comparison to hair transplantation surgery or strong medications like topical minoxidil, PRP therapy doesn’t put too much strain on your body. All you need are blood samples that are processed into concentrations of platelets, and then additional treatment sessions to inject the serum back into your body.
There’s no need for incisions or other procedures – the concentrated platelets do all the work, improving your body’s healing process and releasing growth factors that can reduce hair thinning. This allows you to experience slow yet steady improvements in the appearance of your hair.
One of the most significant benefits of using PRP for thinning hair is that the serum injected back into you is fully biocompatible with your body, since it uses the same blood cells and with little to no additives at all. This means that your body is much quicker at absorbing the serum, which can help it work faster.
This is crucial since some chemicals like minoxidil can be too much for some patients. PRP treatments are an effective alternative that helps them manage hair thinning without putting a strain on their body, in addition to making it more likely for them to experience better results.
Because of this biocompatibility, PRP treatments also have very little to no risk of any side effects. The primary ingredient is made from your body’s own cells, and any additives have no effect on your body’s normal functions. By collecting pure platelet concentrate, your hair can restore and regrow itself without any chemicals that your body may reject.
Any side effects you may get from PRP injections are usually about the needle treatment itself, and not about the serum. These side effects resolve on their own within a few days after treatment, and should not interrupt your usual activities.
The overall ease of PRP treatments also means that they’re easy for both patients and providers alike to administer. Since all you need is a blood sample and a clearly outlined treatment plan, there’s no pressure on you to make preparations or have any downtime after your PRP treatments. All you need to do is to walk in during your appointed time, and the treatment will do the rest.
However, this doesn’t mean that just anyone can get PRP treatments for thinning hair – some conditions may make you unsuitable for treatment. While your doctor or PRP provider will have the final say on whether you can actually benefit from PRP treatment, conditions and medications that affect your blood and platelet count in particular are some of the things you should look out for.
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The majority of the studies and applications that we have on platelet-rich plasma treatments are primarily for medical conditions like serious injuries, degenerative diseases, and sports medicine. With these applications, PRP has given favorable results to patients, drastically improving their quality of life and helping them through some conditions that conventional treatments may have difficulty with.
But for cosmetic concerns like thinning hair, PRP applications are far less understood with how effective they are in giving patients the results that they want. It’s well known that platelet concentration can help release growth factors that improve the body’s cell regeneration and repair: what’s less clear is by how much.
This is why PRP injections for thinning hair have a caveat when they’re administered: patients should always set their expectations accordingly. Because the base ingredient for PRP treatment is extracted from the patient, that means that the outcome of PRP treatments will sometimes be different depending on the person.
This doesn’t mean that PRP treatments aren’t effective at all – some studies show significant long-term improvements for some patients who have undergone PRP injections. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these results have yet to be replicated on a large scale, and need further study before science can definitely sound off on how effective PRP is for thinning hair and hair growth.
If you are thinking of getting PRP treatment for thinning hair but want to guarantee that you’ll get favorable results, there is some evidence that shows PRP treatments are suitable as secondary treatments for hair growth. Because of the wide reach of its effects, it can work as a supporting treatment to another hair regrowth procedure, helping your body recover from the strain and improving the results.
Some of your other options may include:
Given that there are a lot of conditions that can cause thinning hair, it’s important to know all of your options before deciding on PRP therapy, as well as get the correct diagnosis for what’s causing your hair loss. Anything from stress to genetics can cause thinning hair, and knowing what you’re dealing with is the best way to decide on whether or not PRP treatment alone is right for you.
This also ties into finding a PRP provider who’s skilled and licensed with the treatment. Even if standards around PRP treatments aren’t that defined yet, board-certified dermatologists and other cosmetic experts give you the best chance of managing thinning hair, as well as avoiding most of the side effects that may come from PRP treatments.
Patients who get platelet-rich plasma treatments for thinning hair can experience some beneficial effects in preventing hair loss, though the exact efficacy of the treatment needs more studies. PRP treatments can also work for conditions like androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, or telogen effluvium, especially with consistent treatment. If you ever have any questions about the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma injections, ask your provider about the effects that you may experience.
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Learn More: Will PRP Help If You’ve Always Had Thin Hair?