Should you get PRP treatment for hair loss?
May, 19 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Hair loss can be a deeply distressing experience for people. No matter at what age it happens, hair loss or balding does not just change your appearance, but it can also have a devastating impact on your mental health. Research says that it can lead to anxiety, depression, and even BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. However, there are various treatments including topical formulations as well as surgical methods available for the treatment of hair loss.
If you are experiencing hair loss, the first thing you need to do is to consult a specialist who can help you understand the cause behind it. For any kind of hair loss, it is important that the root cause is addressed. For instance if your hair loss is caused by nutritional deficiencies, then you should immediately get on a healthy diet; if it is caused by stress, you have to find out ways to address it, like therapy. These kinds of hair loss are usually reversible.
However, if your hair loss is genetic or age-related, it may not be reversible. That's where formulations like minoxidil and finasteride, and surgical procedures come in.
It is also important to know that hair loss does not have a one size fits all solution. There may be people who see good results from topical treatments whereas others might just want to fix it permanently and get a hair transplant surgery. But for those who don’t want either, there is another treatment option called Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Here we tell you about PRP therapy and help you decide if you are a good candidate for it.
You might have heard of something called the Vampire Facial, popularised by reality TV star Kim Kardashian, wherein your own blood platelets are injected into your face for a glowing complexion. There is a similar procedure for hair loss, in which your blood is drawn and put into a centrifuge machine, which separates the red blood cells from the plasma. Plasma, which is rich in platelets and promotes hair growth, is then injected into your scalp. The procedure usually takes about 15 to 20 injections in the hair loss-affected areas of the scalp per session. PRP procedures can help hair regrowth. These are suitable for both men and women who are experiencing hair loss due to alopecia, especially on the top of the head.
However, it needs to be understood that PRP is not a one time procedure like hair transplant, it is performed monthly for the first few months, and then every 3 to 6 months for maintenance.
Injections in the scalp sound painful, but experts say that patients experience some soreness which will last only during the procedure. They might also experience some tightness, but that doesn't last long either.
PRP treatment is also often done in addition to topical medication. But patients should not expect immediate hair growth, it will happen after 3-4 sessions. The doctor usually devises a plan depending on the extent of hair loss, the patient's age, and hormones in the case of women.
PRP is a relatively new procedure but there have been recent studies to show that it is more effective compared to other treatments. A study conducted in 2019 reveals that PRP therapy can be a valuable addition to topical minoxidil therapy for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. The study evaluated 30 patients divided into two groups, with one group administered PRP therapy and the other given minoxidil therapy. It concluded that the group that got PRP had a comparatively better outcome.
PRP is considered especially helpful for balding men experiencing androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness, and women experiencing hair loss because of menopause. An ideal candidate is one within the early stages of hair loss, which is concentrated in small areas. PRP is very effective for such patients. It also works for people who have hair follicles which are still functional and able to grow hair. These are all criteria that a specialist can help you determine.
PRP is, however, not recommended for those who might be on blood thinners or have a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Even people with chronic infections, sepsis, thyroid diseases, or chronic skin diseases are not eligible for PRP.