And there are seemingly hundreds of different hair loss treatments with varying levels of reliability and success. But some are based on much more solid science than others.
One of these treatments is platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP is a substance drawn from your blood and injected into your scalp that can purportedly help heal bodily tissues, including follicles from which your hairs grow.
PRP is extracted from your blood using a centrifuge-like mechanism that can separate the substance from your blood and increase the concentration of specific proteins that promote healing.
This makes PRP potentially usable on its own for the treatment of tendon injuries and osteoarthritis.
Research also suggests that PRP injections can help treat androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness).
Let’s get into what exactly the research says about the success rate for PRP treatment for hair loss, whether PRP has any side effects, and what results you can expect.
Does PRP work for hair loss?
The short answer here is that the science isn’t 100 percent conclusive that PRP can help regrow your hair or preserve the hair that you have.
Here’s an overview of some promising results from research on PRP and hair loss:
- A 2014 study of 11 people with androgenic alopecia found that injecting 2 to 3 cubic centimeters of PRP into the scalp every 2 weeks for 3 months could increase the average number of follicles from 71 to 93 units. This study is too small to be conclusive, but it shows that PRP may be able to help increase the number of hair follicles that can actively support healthy hair.
- A 2015 study of 10 people receiving PRP injections every 2 to 3 weeks for 3 months showed improvements in the number of hairs, the thickness of those hairs, and the strength of the hair roots. This study helps provide extra support to the findings of other PRP and hair loss studies. But 10 people is still too small a sample size to be conclusive.
- A 2019 study compared two groups of people using different hair treatments for 6 months. One group of 20 used minoxidil (Rogaine), and the other group of 20 using PRP injections. Thirty people finished the study and results showed that PRP performed much better for hair loss than Rogaine. But the study also found that your level of platelets can affect how well your own plasma works for hair loss. A lower level of blood platelets may mean that PRP isn’t as effective for you.
Aside from treating male pattern baldness, there isn’t a ton of research on PRP for hair growth, and it isn’t entirely conclusive.
So why all the hype? It’s thought that PRP contains proteins that serve several main functions that are thought to help hair regrow:
- helping your blood to clot
- encouraging cell growth
And there’s some promising research suggesting that PRP may work for other types of hair loss.
Is PRP hair treatment a permanent solution?
The first round of treatments takes a few visits to see initial results.
And after the results start to appear, you’ll still need to get touch-ups at least once a year to maintain new hair regrowth.
Potential PRP hair treatment side effects
PRP has some possible side effects from injections and from the procedure itself, including:
- blood vessel injury on the scalp
- nerve injury
- infection at the injection site
- calcification or scar tissue where the injections are done
- side effects from anesthesia used during the procedure, such as muscle aches, confusion, or bladder control issues
PRP injections for hair loss: Before and after
Keep in mind that results will look different for everyone based on overall health, blood platelet levels, and hair health.
Here’s an example of a person who saw successful results from PRP injection treatments for hair loss.
PRP for hair loss has some promising research behind it.
But much of the research has been conducted on small study groups of 40 people or fewer. So it’s hard to know if these results will work for everyone.
And your own blood may not have rich enough concentrations of platelets to be fully effective for restoring your hair through PRP injection therapy.
Talk to a doctor about getting your blood tested for platelets and checking your hair health to see if you’re a good fit for PRP injection therapy.
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