PRP for Hair Loss FAQs
How does PRP for hair loss work?
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a cutting-edge technology that utilizes the body’s own growth factors, concentrates them, and applies them to the scalp to catalyze hair growth. A quick blood draw from your arm harvests your own natural growth-factor-rich platelets which are activated while you wait. The abundance of your own platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) spurs your hair’s stem cells into action to grow more hair. Meanwhile, vascular endothelial growth factor (VGEF), also present in platelets, supports the microcirculation to nourish those growing hairs and to increase thickness of existing hairs.
Does the procedure hurt?
The procedure is usually very well tolerated. Your blood is drawn by while you recline in an exam room. It is spun down and processed while you relax. The nutrient rich part of the collected sample is then delivered in approximately 20 small injections to the areas of hair loss. Discomfort is minimized with the use of a cooling air device (Zimmer cooler) prior and during each injection. Mild soreness can persist for up to 72 hours post procedure.
How many treatments are required?
Studies show that the best results are seen after monthly treatments for 3 months followed by a repeat treatment 3-6 months later. After this first round of treatments, a yearly maintenance treatment is recommended.
What else can I do to help the hair growth?
Medications: FDA approved medication for androgenic alopecia include minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia). Minoxidil is an effective topical medication approved in both men and women and is available over the counter. It increases blood flow to the scalp and has minimal potential side effects. Prescription finasteride 1mg (Propecia) is approved for treatment in men. Men should discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with their dermatologist. Both may be useful adjuncts to PRP therapy.
Low-level laser light (cold laser) therapy: Low level laser light therapy is frequently combined with PRP as a safe, non-invasive, non-hormonal, FDA approved approach to hair regrowth. It utilizes a specific wavelength of light to penetrate the skin, decrease inflammation and alter cellular signaling cascades to increase hair growth. Recommended brands include Theradome, Hairmax and Capillus.
Supplements: This is an emerging field in hair rejuvenation. Supplements utilize natural minerals and botanical extracts to correct nutritional deficiencies, decrease inflammation, reduce free-radical damage, and alter pathways contributing to hair loss. Popular brands include Viviscal and Nutrafol.
How can I be sure that PRP is appropriate for my type of hair loss?
There are a variety of different types of hair loss. The most common types of hair loss in men and women are likely to improve with PRP. However, some types of loss may not be appropriate for this type of therapy and may require alternate treatments. Any hair loss that has areas of scarring, redness and scale should be evaluated medically by a dermatologist. In addition any hair loss accompanied by bodily symptoms such as tiredness, irregular periods, unusual hair growth elsewhere (such as the chin in women), joint pain, unintended weight loss or other symptoms should be addressed by your dermatologist, gynecologist, endocrinologist or primary care physician. Particularly in younger women with hair loss, blood tests are important to rule out correctable, hormonal causes of the problem. These should be performed prior to your treatment with PRP.
What are the risks of PRP?
As with any injection into the skin, there is a risk of bruising, discomfort and infection with PRP injections. Infection is very rare and is further decreased by coming into the office with freshly washed hair as well as the clean technique and preparation provided in our medical office. It is possible that despite the good results reported in many clinical trials and reports, you may not respond to PRP and you will continue to experience progressive hair loss. PRP is not currently FDA approved for hair loss but is approved for use in orthopedic treatment.
Who is not a good candidate for PRP treatments?
PRP works best before hair loss is very extensive and ideally within 5 years of onset. Men with rapidly progressing hair loss may not respond as well. PRP treatment is not appropriate for you if you have untreated or persistent melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, etc.) of the head or neck, systemic cancer, platelet abnormalities, blood disorders, hepatitis B or C, are using the blood thinners warfarin, heparin, or newer oral anticoagulants (apixiban, dabigatran, etc), have an active infection in the body, or if you are being treated with systemic chemotherapy. Patients who have been treated with systemic steroids (such as prednisone) within 2 weeks should not be treated. Any patient with an untreated underlying systemic disease or disorder causing their hair loss such as anemia or hormonal abnormalities (thyroid disease, polycystic ovaries) may not respond as well.
1. Please notify us prior to your procedure if you have any active infection, are taking a blood thinner, have untreated or persistent cancer of the head, face or body, are on chemotherapy or have taken an oral steroid medication (such as prednisone or other immune suppressing medication) within the last 2 weeks.
2. Avoid aspirin for 10 days unless taking it specifically for a medical condition as recommended by your doctor. Do not take NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, Aleve etc.) or herbal supplements (such as St. John’s Wort, fish oils) for 1 week in order to minimize bruising.
3. Wash your hair with shampoo the morning of the procedure. If desired bring a clean baseball cap to cover the treated area when leaving the office.
4. Eat breakfast (and lunch if appointment is in the afternoon) and drink a lot of fluids before the procedure as your blood will be drawn in the office. This will allow your veins to be easily accessed and will avoid your feeling faint during the procedure.
Post Procedure Instructions:
1. Do not touch, rub or massage your scalp on the day of your procedure.
2. You may wash your hair the day of treatment but be gentle to avoid discomfort.
3. Do not apply any products to the scalp, such as sprays, colorants or gels for 48 hours.
4. Tenderness and mild bruising is normal but call our office if you have pain, fever or chills, a significant area of discoloration or bruising, or if you have any other unusual symptoms.
5. Avoid exercise, excessive heat (such as hot tubs or saunas) and swimming for 48 hours.
6. Continue aspirin if medically necessary, but avoid NSAIDs and aspirin if possible for 1 week to maximize activation of the PRP in the scalp.
7. Hydrate well by drinking at least 3 full glasses of water per day for the week post procedure.
Take the First Step – Request A Consultation
To learn more about PRP, read the FAQs, pre and post-instruction information that can be found by clicking on the links below.
Please fill out the form on this page to request a consultation and one of our knowledgeable medical staff members at Krauss Dermatology will reach out to you promptly. You can also call our Wellesley, MA office directly to schedule – (781) 416-3500.
Krauss Dermatology serves the greater Boston area.
*Individual Results May Vary*