Hair loss is normal for everyone. In fact, the average person loses about 50-100 hairs each day. Significant hair loss can occur due to medications, illness, shock and hormonal changes. In general, though, most hair loss is caused by hereditary factors, referred to as male-pattern or female-pattern baldness. In the United States, roughly 80 million women and men experience hair loss as a result of heredity.
Hair loss can have a significant impact on your quality of life and self-esteem. Many individuals find themselves feeling self-conscious or depressed by thinning hair or receding hairlines. If you are concerned or troubled by hair thinning or loss, PRP therapy is becoming an increasingly popular choice for hair restoration.
If you are unfamiliar with PRP therapy and its application in hair loss, we’ve broken down some of the key elements for you to help explain the process and treatment procedure.
What is PRP therapy?
Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP) therapy can sound a bit intimidating and unusual. It’s a three-step process that begins with your blood being drawn by a qualified, licensed medical provider. After this step, your blood is placed in a centrifuge machine that separates the platelets from the red blood cells. This platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) is a concentrated source of protein believed to help heal and regenerate body tissue and cells. The third step in the process involves injecting or applying the PRP to the identified treatment area.
Though PRP therapy has been used since the 1980s in sports and orthopedic medicine to assist in healing tendons, ligaments and muscles, it has gained more public awareness in the past few years with vampire facials. During a vampire facial, the PRP is applied to the face after a microdermabrasion or microneedling procedure. The goals are to help stimulate new cell growth and renew aging skin.
PRP therapy in the treatment of hair loss is still relatively new. Given the PRP’s protein-rich and regenerative qualities, it’s believed it can help stimulate new hair growth. After numbing your scalp, a physician injects the PRP into your hair follicle region. The therapy is considered both noninvasive and nonsurgical, making it an attractive treatment choice. Board-certified dermatologists administer most PRP therapy treatments for hair loss.
How does PRP scalp therapy work?
Your hair follicles become dormant after hair loss. PRP therapy increases blood flow to the hair follicle and encourages new hair growth. The treatment process typically lasts less than an hour. After the blood draw, the platelet extraction process takes about 20 minutes. The doctor uses a numbing cream on your scalp before beginning the procedure. The injections are quick and should not be painful. In some cases, your doctor may choose to do microneedling and apply the PRP topically to your scalp.
Initial treatments vary, depending on new hair growth. Repeated visits are necessary and are determined by your physician and your progress. Following the initial treatment, which requires several visits within a short period of time, maintenance treatments are scheduled. These are often spaced three to six months apart. Timing can be decided in consultation with your medical provider.
With no anesthesia and no downtime, there are fewer treatment risks and recovery time is seldom needed. This means that you can usually go about your regular daily routine after PRP therapy.
What are the risks or side effects?
Risks and side effects of PRP therapy for hair loss are minimal. Since you are receiving injections, you may have some minor pain, minimal bleeding or redness around the injection sites. Some patients also report mild headaches or a tight feeling on their scalps. These side effects typically resolve within a day. Most patients have no adverse effects.
What do the results look like?
Results vary on a variety of factors, including gender and age. For men, the process may take longer to see results — even up to a year in some cases.
At first, a reduction in thinning and hair loss is often noted, and over time a patient may begin to experience actual hair regrowth. Despite the time it may take to see hair renewal, the results are highly promising. Less thinning, a fuller head of hair and patient satisfaction are indications that PRP therapy is an effective and safe treatment for hair restoration.
Who is the best candidate for PRP therapy?
Individuals with hereditary-type hair loss respond best to PRP therapy. Your doctor is best-suited to help you choose which hair restoration treatment will be most effective based on your type of hair thinning or loss.
If you’re considering PRP therapy, the first step is to schedule a consultation with your physician. PRP is an exciting and promising treatment option to combat hair loss that can have a profound impact on your quality of life.
Where can I find PRP therapy for hair loss in the Midlands?
At Columbia Skin Clinic, we not only offer clinical dermatology but cosmetic treatments as well. Our highly trained staff can help you cope with hair loss and develop a PRP therapy treatment plan. Book a dermatology appointment today at one of our three convenient locations in Columbia, Irmo and Camden.