PRP for Hair Loss
Most think of platelets as the component of blood that coagulates wounds. However, the function of platelets is far more than just forming clots. When activated, they secrete cytokines and growth factors, acting as an integral part of wound healing. Because of platelet’s important function, concentrated preparations of plasma have been used in various fields as an attractive therapy for many conditions.
Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is a preparation taken from a patient’s own blood, in which the platelets are enriched in concentrated plasma. The therapy was originally used for injections into damaged joints in the orthopedic field. Now it is being used by cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons for overall facial rejuvenation.
Recently, hair specialists have been trialing the therapy in patients who are balding. Animal studies show that PRP increases dermal papilla cells, which are decreased in individuals with balding. Potent hair growth stimulators, Fibroblast growth factor-7 and Beta-catenin, are also increased by PRP treatment. In addition, mice treated with PRP have quicker transitions into the growing phase of hair than untreated mice. When used as an adjunct to hair transplantation, hair follicles pre-treated with PRP can demonstrate better density and graft survival. The theory is that the platelets are secreting growth factors, leading to stem cell activation from the surrounding hair follicles.
Because of the improved hair growth seen with hair transplantation and the above-mentioned animal studies, hair specialists have started using PRP as primary treatment for male and female pattern balding, as well as alopecia areata. PRP treatment is particularly attractive for women who have not seen great results with minoxidil and young men who may not be suitable candidates for finasteride or hair transplantation.
PRP injections are an enticing new treatment for balding. In the future, these treatments may act as an adjunct to more well-studied treatments, such as minoxidil, finasteride, and hair transplantation, as opposed to primary therapy.