Overview of PRP Hair Restoration Treatments
Androgenic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss, affecting both men and women.1 Hair loss increases with age, affecting 30% of men by the age of 30 and 50% by the age of 50.2 PRP hair treatment is safe and effective3 and takes advantage of growth factors and cytokines contained in platelet-rich plasma to increase hair density and quality by stimulating hair follicles and improving blood supply to the scalp. The past ten years has seen a tremendous increase in the number of published studies on the use of PRP hair treatments for androgenic alopecia, with most studies showing a positive benefit.
What does the evidence say about PRP Hair treatments?
One recent review from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology looked at six studies involving 177 patients.4 They demonstrated a significant overall increase in the number of hairs of 17.90 per cm² as well as an increase in hair thickness cross section.4 Another review of 12 studies showed that in all but two, there was significant benefit from PRP injections. In the two studies which did not show benefit, there were only 1 or 2 treatments, and in one study, the PRP was not activated prior to injection.5
How many PRP Hair treatments are needed?
The number and frequency of PRP hair treatments seems to be important. Most studies seem to show that monthly injections for 3-4 sessions are important, whereas waiting longer than one month between injections is not as beneficial. A study published by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery recently looked at 40 patients: 20 patients received a total of 4 PRP hair injection treatments – once a month for 3 months, followed by a booster 3 months later; the other 20 patients received two total treatments, with 3 months separation between sessions.6
Measurements at 6 months showed that both groups had improvement, but the group that had two extra treatments had over 400% better response compared with the first group, in terms of hair count per cm² (29.6 vs 7.2; p < 0.001). These measurements were taken at the actively balding area near the front of the hairline.6
Another systematic review and meta-analysis by Gupta et al in 2019 also concluded that initially 3 monthly PRP injections should be given for hair restoration.7
A recent article published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology looked at 9 previous studies and recommended a treatment protocol of monthly sessions for the first 3 months, then every 3 – 6 months for the first year.8 They reported positive results in terms of hair regrowth, increase hair density and patient satisfaction.
In another small study, eleven patients who were not responding well even after 6 months treatment with minoxidil and finasteride, received PRP injections every two weeks for a total of four treatments. After three months, there was an average increase of 22 in the number of hairs per cm². (71 → 93).9
FAQ for PRP Hair Treatments
How to get the best PRP hair treatments?
After doing extensive research about PRP hair treatments, combined with years of treating patients, here’s what we believe are the most important factors to get best results with PRP hair treatments:
1. Quality of PRP preparation.
2. Injection Technique.
3. Frequency of treatments.
4. Combining PRP with other treatments for hair loss.
How do PRP hair treatments work?
A small blood sample is taken and processed using a centrifuge in order to isolate and carefully concentrate the platelets to create high concentration, double-spin platelet rich plasma, PRP. The PRP is then activated with a small solution of calcium chloride and injected back into the scalp at varying depths in order to stimulate and support hair growth.
Do PRP hair injections hurt?
The scalp is a very sensitive area, and injections can hurt a lot, especially if placed into the proper depth where the hair follicles are located. Fortunately, we offer a nerve block technique prior to injections in order to completely numb the area and make the whole process very comfortable for almost all patients. There may be some sensitivity hours later after the numbing wears off, but this is usually mild and well tolerated.
Who is a good candidate for PRP hair loss treatments?
Generally speaking, if hair loss is fairly recent, within the past 4-5 years, PRP has better effect. PRP hair treatments seem to work better for women. Underlying medical conditions, such as iron deficiency anemia, thyroid disease, and other conditions which may be contributing to hair loss should be addressed prior to starting PRP hair treatments. PRP hair treatments should not be done in cases where platelet count or function may be abnormal. Certain medications may negatively affect platelet function, as well as alcohol and smoking. All of the above will be reviewed during a consultation with our doctor before deciding whether to go ahead with PRP hair treatments.
How soon are results noticeable after PRP hair treatments?
It usually takes at least 3-4 months before results are noticeable, and sometimes it can take longer, from 6 months or even up to a year. Women tend to notice results faster; several of our female patients have reported improvement after only 2 months, but we still recommend a series of at least 3 treatments done at one month intervals to start.
How often should PRP hair treatments be done?
Based on the studies done to date, it seems that the best schedule is at least 3-4 initial treatments, at one month intervals is best, followed by every 3-6 months for the first year, and then every 6-12 months for maintenance. Maintenance is required because although PRP supports hair growth, it cannot stop the aging process or correct the underlying cause of hair loss, which is likely genetic and hormonal. If hair loss is more advanced, then more frequent treatments are recommended.
How much does PRP for hair loss cost?
It usually costs 800 for the initial treatment, and less for subsequent treatments and maintenance. If you are considering PRP hair treatments, it is more important to consider quality of the treatment over cost, as not all PRP hair treatments are the same.
- Semalty M, Semalty A, Joshi GP, Rawat MSM. Hair growth and rejuvenation: An overview. Journal of Dermatological Treatment. Published online June 10, 2010:123-132. doi:10.3109/09546630903578574
- York K, Meah N, Bhoyrul B, Sinclair R. A review of the treatment of male pattern hair loss. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. Published online February 17, 2020:603-612. doi:10.1080/14656566.2020.1721463
- Betsi E-E, Germain E, Kalbermatten DF, Tremp M, Emmenegger V. Platelet-rich plasma injection is effective and safe for the treatment of alopecia. Eur J Plast Surg. Published online March 14, 2013:407-412. doi:10.1007/s00238-013-0816-5
- Giordano S, Romeo M, Lankinen P. Platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia: Does it work? Evidence from meta analysis. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online March 13, 2017:374-381. doi:10.1111/jocd.12331
- Cervantes J, Perper M, Wong LL, et al. Effectiveness of Platelet-Rich Plasma for Androgenetic Alopecia: A Review of the Literature. Skin Appendage Disord. Published online June 24, 2017:1-11. doi:10.1159/000477671
- Hausauer AK, Jones DH. Evaluating the Efficacy of Different Platelet-Rich Plasma Regimens for Management of Androgenetic Alopecia: A Single-Center, Blinded, Randomized Clinical Trial. DS. Published online September 2018:1191-1200. doi:10.1097/dss.0000000000001567
- Gupta AK, Versteeg SG, Rapaport J, Hausauer AK, Shear NH, Piguet V. The Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma in the Field of Hair Restoration and Facial Aesthetics—A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Cutan Med Surg. Published online January 4, 2019:185-203. doi:10.1177/1203475418818073
- Stevens J, Khetarpal S. Platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia: A review of the literature and proposed treatment protocol. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. Published online February 2019:46-51. doi:10.1016/j.ijwd.2018.08.004
- Khatu S, More Y, Gokhale N, Chavhan D, Bendsure N. Platelet-rich plasma in androgenic alopecia: Myth or an effective tool. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Published online 2014:107. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.138352