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In this video we discuss PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy for hair loss treatment – the natural solution. What is PRP, how does it work, the side effects, evidence,its success rate, whether it’s worth trying, and some alternatives.
As hair thinning, recession, and balding affects millions of men and women worldwide, it’s no wonder there are always new treatment methods coming onto the market. One such method is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), and it’s being used with high success around the world (1).
In this post, I’ll introduce PRP and what it may mean for hair loss sufferers. This will include a look at how PRP is performed, how it works, as well as the scientific evidence behind it. I’ll also highlight a few alternatives.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?
There are two definitions of PRP which I’ll be digging into today. The first is the literal definition, and the second is the definition as it refers to the hair loss treatment method.
First, the literal definition.
Platelet-rich plasma is a ‘product’ derived from whole blood. It’s a concentrate of platelet-rich plasma protein where the platelets and growth factors has been separated from the other blood products (including red blood cells) with a centrifuge.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a serum created from your own blood; it’s filled with a concentration of cells called platelets, which are an important healing component of your blood. Platelets are made up of growth factors, proteins and cytokines— all things that help you repair damage and recover from wounds.
Think of platelets as the “quarterbacks” of your body’s healing system; they play an incredibly vital role by releasing growth factors and encouraging your body’s repair response. They’re so effective that they’ve been used for treatments ranging from healing sports injuries to heart transplants.
Now, what does this all have to do with hair growth?
Well, there’s a second definition of platelet-rich plasma, and that definition refers to a use as a treatment method for hairline recession and thinning.
PRP is a non-surgical method that uses your own blood to generate growth. This is done with tiny injections into the affected areas of the scalp, and it can be used in conjunction with other treatment methods (such as hair transplantation) or alone.
How Is PRP Performed?
There are two stages to PRP hair loss treatment.
First, blood is drawn from the patient and that blood is separated using a centrifuge. The separation occurs between the plasma and the red blood cells.
Second, the plasma is extracted from the collected blood and injected into the patient’s scalp where shedding has occurred. Multiple injections are performed in one session, and a typical session lasts about 60 minutes.
How Does PRP Treatment Work?
It seems a bit odd to draw blood from your body only to then reinject a portion of that blood again. So, what’s the deal?
It first helps to understand the proteins and other components present within the blood’s plasma.
As mentioned above, plasma acts as a reserve for proteins. However, plasma also contains its own proteins, as well as Growth Factors (GFs) (2). A few of the more important GFs include:
Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)
Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Epidermal growth factor (EGF)
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)
While each GF works differently, they all have a similar end goal: to promote cell proliferation and differentiation. This is believed to be done through stimulation of stem cells within the follicle giving rise to new hair (3).
Stem cells – undifferentiated cells that are capable of adapting into other cell types during development and growth – actually play a significant role in hair growth (4, 5). They are located at the bulge of the follicle – the area where new follicular units are formed – and when activated, can contribute to the formation and elongation of new follicles and hair strands.
As discussed, the GFs present within plasma can stimulate these cells.
Additionally, PRP is believed to stimulate blood flow to the area. This provides the hair follicles with vital nutrients and oxygen and leaves them in a healthier, stronger state.
The Scientific Evidence
While PRP is still undergoing extensive scientific testing, we do have the results of a few previous studies. There’s still much that’s unknown about platelet-rich plasma in the treatment of hair loss, but the little we do know is promising.
This video is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease.