Millions of people suffer from hair loss and thinning every day. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss effecting both men and women. At Indigo Dermatology in Melbourne, FL, Tampa, FL & Palm Bay, FL, dermatologist Dr. Sumeet Thareja offers platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections for those struggling with hair loss. If you would like to learn more about PRP and if it is the right treatment option for you, call your nearest office or book your appointment online today.
Hair Loss Q & A
What causes hair loss?
There are many reasons for hair loss. On average, most people shed 50-100 hairs every day. This natural process normally doesn’t cause noticeable thinning because new hair is constantly growing to replace what falls out. Hair loss can occur, however, when the growth-shedding cycle is somehow interrupted, or if hair follicles somehow become damaged and are covered by scar tissue. Genetic predisposition, or family history, is by far the most common cause of hair loss.
A list of reasons for hair loss, though not all encompassing, are listed below:
- Hair disorders (e.g., alopecia areata, scarring alopecia)
- Disease (e.g., underlying medical conditions, illness, some cancer treatments, ringworm of the scalp, trichotillomania)
- Hormones and stress (e.g., giving birth, menopause, stress)
- Dieting and poor nutrition (e.g., weight loss, excess vitamin A, protein and iron deficiency)
- Certain medications
- Certain hair care practices
How does platelet-rich plasma therapy work?
Numerous research studies have found PRP to be a safe and effective option for patients who want to stimulate hair growth without having to undergo hair transplant surgery. Specifically, studies have found that PRP increases hair count and thickness. PRP therapy has a long history of use as a healing agent for painful joint problems. In fact, the very same factors that make PRP a successful wound-healing agent are also what make it effective for restoring lost hair.
PRP contains up to five times as many platelets as what is found in normal, circulating blood. Once injected into one’s scalp, platelets in PRP are activated and begin a cascade. Activated platelets release important substances including growth factors (Platelet-derived growth factor, Vascular endothelial growth factor, and Transforming growth factor) and cytokines. These growth factors increase fibroblast activation, collagen synthesis, stimulation of the extracellular matrix and overexpression of exogenous growth factors. Ultimately the result of this complex cascade is stimulation of hair follicle activity and the promotion of new hair regrowth.
What is the process for PRP therapy?
PRP therapy is considered an autologous treatment, meaning that the therapeutic catalyst that’s used to promote hair growth —or the PRP — comes from the patient’s own body. This is important because it means that PRP therapy is completely safe and won’t trigger a foreign-body immunologic response.
PRP is a simple 4-step process:
- In-office blood draw.
- Separation of plasma from the red blood cells. The drawn blood will be placed in a closed, sterile centrifuge machine that separates the PRP from the other components of your blood.
- Application of a local anesthetic to treatment areas to ensure patient comfort.
- Injection of PRP into scalp at predetermined points.
Typically this procedure takes approximately an hour and has virtually no down time. Research has showed that some patients may experience results after one treatment, however for optimal results we recommend a total of 3-4 treatments 4-6 weeks apart. PRP therapy can usually begin soon after your initial consultation, with subsequent treatments spaced about six weeks apart. Six months after your first treatment, Dr. Thareja will assess your progress to see if you require further treatments.
Who is PRP recommended for?
PRP is considered safe for most people. Research has found similar results for both men and women. PRP is not recommended, however, for individuals with any of the below medical conditions: hepatitis C, HIV or AIDS, blood cancer, cardiovascular disease which requires taking a blood thinner, skin cancer in the area to be treated).