Hair loss is a common and often embarrassing condition developed by men and women. Close to 60 million people in the U.S. suffer from hair loss, and most desperately try to find ways to regain their youthful, luscious scalp of hair. While there are many supposed solutions to the problem, not many completely rectify it.
Genes play a role in hair loss. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no way to safely fix or change the genes to reverse the balding process. However, there exists an alternative, natural treatment to treating this embarrassing condition: platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP). Before we get into how PRP can treat hair loss, let’s delve a little more into what balding is and who has to deal with it.
On average, people have around 110,000 follicles on their scalps, and hair loss sufferers lose about 100 hairs daily. To combat hair loss, about 85 percent of male patients use a minoxidil, such as Rogaine®, while the other 15 percent use a finasteride, such as Propecia® .
Because hair loss can affect a person’s confidence, about half of all sufferers agree they’d spend their life savings to regain a full head of hair. For those who don’t mind spending a little more on treatments, PRP has become a proven, effective method to treat androgenic alopecia, a genetic disorder.
To administer PRP, clinicians first extract a small amount of blood from patients and place it in a centrifuge, a machine that helps separate contents into three layers: plasma, platelets and white and red blood cells. Platelets become isolated in the middle layer of the centrifuge. Because the machine separates the blood, the plasma holds a higher than normal number of platelets.
In 2014, researchers who published their findings in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, examined 11 patients who had different stages of baldness. Four patients were in grade 2, 4 in grade 3 and 3 patients were in grade 4 androgenic alopecia. These patients had not responded to at least six months of treatment involving minoxidil and finasteride between August and November 2013.
Prior to the study, clinicians advised patients not to wash their hair for two days before treatment. They then conducted a hair pull test on patients three times, grasping about 50 to 60 hairs between the thumb, index and middle finger near the base of the scalp. Clinicians counted the number of hairs they pulled away.
Prior to injecting PRP into a patient’s scalp, the clinicians applied anesthetic cream over the patient’s bald area. They then injected a total volume of 2 to 3 cubic centimeters of PRP into the affected areas by using an insulin syringe.
Results showed there was a significant increase in patients’ hair counts between the first and fourth injection from 71 hair follicular units to 93.
While further studies with more patients need to be conducted to provide further evidence for PRP’s effectiveness in reducing hair loss, this study reported promising results.