Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet Rich Plasma, also known as PRP, is a relatively new addition to the list of hair loss treatments. The theory is this that platelets store growth factors to help stimulate wound healing and tissue growth where it is needed. Blood contains platelets in varying concentrations. If you take a patient’s own platelets and re-inject them into an area that needs healing and growth, the body’s own mechanisms will improve the regeneration of the tissue.
PRP injections have been verifiably used to help the growth and healing of slow growing tissues like bones and teeth. Early experiments in its use with hair have been mixed however. Most studies have concentrated on using PRP injections to possibly help the growth of the native hair (and possibly the grafts if surgery was done) in the areas of hair loss and thinning. What these studies have shown so far is that the treatments do not help hair to re-grow on a completely bald head, so the earlier a treatment is started the better. Higher concentrations of platelets, more frequent injections, and possibly activating the platelets or causing micro-injuries to the scalp may also provide better results. No study has been conclusive, however, and many variations within the research make it difficult to compare and draw conclusions.
The answer is, there is much we don’t know about the optimal wavelengths and dosing for PBM therapy to treat hair loss. Despite the studies that have been performed, important questions remain unanswered. For patients, it is advisable that prior to making the decision to purchase an OTC device to treat their hair loss all therapies and options should be reviewed with a hair loss specialist.
Since this use of PRP is not yet fully tested, it is impossible to know how much of an effect it would have in an individual case. That being said, it is a patient’s own “blood product,” and thus not likely to be detrimental. It is useful to remember that like most treatments, some patients have great results and others have results that are not as significant. A standard treatment regimen has not yet been developed with most practitioners advocating treatment schedules that range from monthly to every three months. Also, like all medical hair treatments it may require ongoing maintenance treatments. Whichever treatment frequency is used, at least 6 months are needed to see results.
Members of the ISHRS Ad Hoc Committee on PRP published the following article on, “Platelet-Rich Plasma as a Treatment for Androgenetic Alopecia,” Sept. 2019, Dermatol Surg 2019;45:1262–1273, ISSN: 1076-0512, DOI: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001894.