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Can PRP Revolutionize Hair Loss Treatment?

Published: 03/23/2022

Despite the prevalence of hair loss in both men and women, it remains a unique challenge to physicians. Current medical treatments often leave many patients dissatisfied and frustrated with the results.

The lack of effective treatments has prompted the search for alternatives, including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and cell-based therapies.

In this article, we’ll discuss the application and efficacy of PRP for hair loss treatment as presented in a recent review.

The Challenges of Hair Loss Treatment

Physicians often categorize hair loss into scarring and non-scarring alopecia.

The most common type of nonscarring hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male or female pattern baldness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several types of treatment for AGA:

  • Finasteride and minoxidil, which stop hair loss progression but do not promote regrowth. Patients are required to use the medications indefinitely to maintain hair density. The medications also have unwanted side effects.
  • Low-level laser therapy, which has shown promising results. However, some physicians and researchers debate its effectiveness.
  • Surgical hair transplantation, which is a more permanent option but is expensive and invasive.

Another common type of nonscarring hair loss is alopecia areata (AA), an autoimmune disorder. Treatment of AA is challenging and only moderately effective. It includes:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Topical immunotherapy
  • Light therapy

Scarring alopecias, though much rarer than their non-scarring counterparts, are caused by inflammation that leads to the destruction of hair follicles. In many forms of scarring alopecias, such as lichen planopilaris (LPP), hair follicles are destroyed and replaced by a scar. Treatments include the following:

  • Topical or oral corticosteroids
  • Intralesional steroid injections
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitor
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Immunosuppressive therapies

Unfortunately, the formation of a scar renders most of these therapies useless.

Patients and physicians are searching for alternatives to conventional hair loss treatment.

Regenerative medicine approaches, including PRP, have gained interest in recent years and have emerged as effective, safe, and scientifically sound options.

PRP is an Effective Treatment for Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)

Several studies have evaluated the wound healing and tissue repair properties of PRP in treating AGA.

The effect of PRP on hair growth is measured using parameters like hair density and diameter. Among the studies that used these parameters, the results showed that PRP is an effective treatment for AGA, especially in men. The data have so far been inconclusive for women, suggesting that PRP may have gender-specific effects.

Some studies have evaluated the efficacy of PRP in combination with other treatment modalities with positive results.

In one study, investigators saw greater hair growth using PRP in combination with dalteparin and protamine microparticles than using PRP alone. Another study showed significant increases in mean hair number and thickness after using a combination of PRP and CD34+ cells.

Other studies have assessed PRP in combination with conventional treatments. One study of male patients with AGA evaluated PRP in combination with minoxidil. The results showed significantly increased hair density and diameter with the combination therapy compared to either therapy alone.

Based on the reported findings and their clinical experience, the authors of the review recommend the following protocol:

  • 2-times to 4-times the platelet concentration found in whole blood
  • Minimal red and white blood cells
  • 3 to 4 subdermal PRP injections at 1-month intervals, followed by a maintenance regimen of 2 to 4 times a year
  • 0.3-mL to 0.5-mL injection volume, depending on the volume of PRP obtained
  • 1-cm to 2.5-cm space between injections in affected area, depending on the volume of PRP

However, more evidence is needed to confirm their findings and to standardize a treatment protocol.

PRP Enhances Hair Growth in Patients With Alopecia Areata (AA)

Early studies using PRP for treatment of AA have shown promising results.

In two randomized controlled trials, both male and female patients with localized AA saw significant hair growth after PRP treatment. One study treated patients with 3 PRP injections spaced monthly, placebo cream applied twice daily, or minoxidil applied twice daily. Both PRP and minoxidil treatments increased hair growth significantly compared to the control group after 3 months. But only PRP decreased the following:

  • Short vellus hairs (“baby hairs”)
  • Yellow dots (empty follicles filled with sebum and/or keratin)
  • Dystrophic hair

In addition, two nonrandomized trials were conducted to evaluate PRP in patients with AA. One study’s results showed 100% improvement in patients treated with PRP, demonstrating that its efficacy was comparable to that of triamcinolone.

PRP may have limited efficacy in patients with chronic (>2 years) and severe (>50% involvement) AA. In a case series of 9 patients, none of the patients retained the hair growth they saw at the beginning of their treatment. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.

PRP Shows Early Promise in Treating Lichen Planopilaris

The efficacy of PRP in treating LPP has been demonstrated in 2 case reports.

In one case, a patient underwent PRP therapy after previous treatments failed. After just 3 sessions, the patient experienced complete regression of itching and hair shedding.

Another patient was treated with a combination of topical minoxidil and PRP. The patient observed thickening hair after four sessions, suggesting that PRP may be an effective complementary therapy to conventional treatment.

A Safe and Effective Alternative Approach for Hair Loss Treatment

Patients and physicians alike are searching for safe and effective treatment options for hair loss.

The studies described in this article provide undeniable evidence of PRP’s efficacy in treating hair loss.

But not all PRP kits are the same. Dr. PRP kits recover 90% of platelets from a blood sample, ensuring consistency and high quality every time. Check out our kits and centrifuges in our online store.

How will your patients benefit from PRP? Contact us today to learn more at 844-377-7787 (DR-PRP-US).