Baldness, a receding hairline, is an underlying condition: hair loss. Statistics show that up to 80 million Americans have some form of baldness at some point in their lives. It seems like we’ve got a prevalent problem in our hands.
Aging and stress are reported as the main contributors to hair loss. Hair restoration through PRP is often touted as an alternative treatment for hair loss. But does it warrant the hype?
Does PRP hair restoration work, or is just snake oil disguised as a treatment plan? Does verifiable evidence exist to suggest it works? These questions underscore our analysis of PRP as an effective treatment option. Let’s find out in detail what PRP is:
What is PRP?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy first involves drawing some of your blood. A certified technician or physician then uses a centrifuge to separate the core elements of your blood: platelets, red blood cells, and plasma. Upon reinjection into the body, the enriched plasma promotes collagen formation.
Essentially, collagen works by delivering structural support to tissues and cells, thus promoting regeneration. Typical PRP injections occur at the hair loss site and may spread out over four or so months. Various factors come into play when determining an injection schedule and the effectiveness of treatment. These include:
- Degree of hair loss
Now that we’ve got the technical bit out of the way, let’s figure out if PRP works for hair loss treatment. First, a comparison to other programs should suffice.
Comparison with Other Options
Hair transplantation is a viable alternative to PRP treatment. But, here’s the issue with a transplant: you need incisions, making it an invasive procedure that some people would be wary about. Also, recovery takes longer, which means more downtime for you. That’s before we even consider the scarring that occurs post-treatment. Where does that leave you?
Medical experts admit that administering PRP therapy before transplantation may deliver better results and denser hair growth; This is a clear indication that PRP supports hair regeneration.
What about medication? FDA-approved medication is safe to use. Finasteride and Minoxidil are common medications for restoring your hair. But, consistency is vital while taking these medications. Still, they deliver inconsistent results. Oh, wait, Have I mentioned the side effects such as the risk of sexual dysfunction among men due to Finasteride use? Bummer! Who wants to be in such a give-and-take relationship?
Research Shows Promise
Studies indicate that a PRP facilitates hair growth by making the hair’s growing phase longer. In 2014, a study was conducted among a sample of 11 patients with male-pattern baldness. The participants had been unresponsive to Finasteride and Minoxidil for about six months.
Researchers found that PRP administration over three months raised the number of hair follicles from 71 to 93 units. Despite its small sample size and inconclusiveness, this study shows that PRP is a feasible option for restoring hair by supporting growth.
A different study in 2019 to determine the effectiveness of different options pitted two separate groups of 20 people each under Minoxidil and PRP. After six months, researchers found out that PRP outperformed Minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss after completing the study. However, the study indicates that PRP may be less effective among patients with a lower platelet level as the level of platelets affects how you respond to an infusion of plasma.
Still, doctors using PRP therapy for hair loss acknowledge that their patients- both gender- experience up to 40% hair regrowth post-treatment. A 2017 study supports this assertion by noting that the use of PRP resulted in increased hair growth and density.
Overall results vary from person to person. But, factors such as your platelet level and overall health can affect treatment efficacy.
Potential Side Effects
While PRP shows promise, we can’t wrap our assessment without considering its side effects. Generally, these include:
- Injury of a blood vessel or nerve during injection
- Infection during injection
- Scar tissue at the injection site
These side effects pale in comparison to the potential benefits of PRP therapy, although they are worth consideration. After all, effective therapy involves weighing all the issues on the table before making objective conclusive remarks.
As we draw the curtain on the subject of hair restoration, one thing is clear: PRP hair restoration works. Despite the small sample sizes cited in the studies, PRP has been proven to work effectively to promote hair regrowth.
Besides, comparisons with other alternatives show that PRP delivers similar if not better results than other treatment options. To me, that’s a vote of confidence in PRP. But, before dabbling in PRP therapy, it will be prudent to discuss with a physician about your condition to evaluate its viability for you.