A new hair regrowth treatment utilizing platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has universally reported high success rates among practitioners and may be especially promising for women who want to avoid the side effects of other medicinal approaches. Let’s take you through the basics so you can explore if PRP might be right for you.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
PRP is one of several new hair treatments being marketed to women. Although more men than women experience visible hair loss, needless to say, it’s also a significant problem for women, worsened by the fact that few pharmaceutical options are developed for women. Doctors have long used PRP to treat athletes’ injuries and it has been used by dentists too, but men and women are now turning to PRP for hair loss as well.
Blood consists of plasma, platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. Platelet-rich plasma therapy involves extracting blood from the patient and spinning it in a centrifuge to separate its components. After harvesting the platelet-rich layer, rich in various growth factors, a practitioner then adds various nutrients before injecting the prepared treatment back into the scalp. This is done in one-inch intervals across the whole head. Don’t worry, you’ll get a local anesthetic to control the ouch!
The treatment works by activating dormant hair follicles, thereby stimulating new growth. In a New York Times article on the treatment, graphic artist Lina Telford said she noticed a difference two months after her first PRP treatment. Telford used to shave her head and wear wigs, but now has high hopes of getting her own hair back. Joseph Greco, the Florida practitioner who treated Telford, charged $1,400 for an hour-long session. He said that he has seen results in 80% of his patients, half of whom are women. The procedure requires a follow-up visit every six months, but for Telford, it’s worth it.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Dr. Greco, said there are minimal side effects from PRP. Most of his patients fly in and out the same day, as the procedure does not require any downtime. PRP is still a new treatment, however, and more research is needed. Also, the procedure’s long-term effectiveness requires more studies, along with questions about the best mixtures of platelets and nutrients.
Why PRP Works for Women
Since hair loss often has to do with hormones, some women have, understandably, been reluctant to use treatments for men, as they can have an impact on male sex hormones (e.g dihydroxytestosterone). In fact, the FDA has yet to approve the common male hair treatment Propecia for use in women. That’s why PRP appears to be a great alternative for women with severe hair loss who don’t want to take meds. Dr. Carlos Wesley in Manhattan believes PRP may work better for women than men because women with genetic hair loss have more inflammatory cells around the follicles which PRP helps address. Meanwhile, traditional hair loss treatments like Rogaine have also begun to develop treatments specifically targeted to women and they recently introduced a female mousse, which avoids the drip that occurs with the traditional liquid topical.
Healthy Living and Natural Supplements
If you don’t have thousands of dollars for PRP but still want to proactively support your hair, there are many natural hair supplements on the market. Recognize that hair thinning and loss can also occur due to a lack or imbalance of certain vitamins or nutrients, so it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Remember to eat a balanced diet, including lots of different colored vegetables and healthy fats. Be sure to get a full night’s sleep and drink enough water, too. Working out also does wonders for your metabolism and mental and physical wellbeing, thus helping maintain your hair health.