Withdrawing blood from a patient, putting it through a centrifuge and then re-injecting the “good bits” back into the scalp is a relatively new treatment for hair loss that is being explored. While some studies suggest a measure of success, there isn’t yet an industry standard with regards the best way in which the treatment should be used.
A medical centre in Los Angeles has announced plans to change that with a new study into how often and how many injections will give optimal results. It hopes that its findings will help inform future treatment plans for people with the genetic conditions Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss.
Known as PRP (platelet-rich plasma), the treatment began life in other fields of regenerative medicine, including skin rejuvenation (it is known as the vampire facial because of its slightly grisly application) and treating sports injuries. While sceptics remain – some doctors state that PRP is no more beneficial than saltwater – some studies show that it can help give the body a “boost” where it is needed.
In a nutshell, it is “growth factors” which are found in the plasma of blood that has been extracted in a centrifuge that are re-injected where they are needed. These, say proponents, can help encourage growth and repair at a cellular level.
The LA study is being organised by a centre named the Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills which already offers PRP treatment as an option for hair loss.
On its website the company states that there “is mounting evidence that the growth factors stimulated by PRP control the hair cycle and can be helpful in treating male or female pattern hair loss… hats off to any therapy, such as PRP, that has no medication side effects, no risk of allergic reaction, and potentially restores fuller hair like you once had.”
These comments do, of course, lack specifics: in fact, two recent published studies arguably failed to confirm that PRP treatment was an effective way to beat baldness when used on its own. A more accurate interpretation of the data released from those trials, perhaps, is that PRP might serve as an effective “booster” when used alongside clinically-tested hair loss treatments.
High strength minoxidil
Male hair loss treatment, for example, typically makes use of the oral drug finasteride 1mg to stop the production of a testosterone by-product that ultimately causes hair to fall out in people who have a predisposed sensitivity to it. Additionally, minoxidil, a topical medication, is applied directly to the scalp in areas of thinning hair, or where men are experiencing a receding hairline. Belgravia has seen many successes with clients using topical applications of high strength minoxidil to help regrow their hair.
The approach is similar for female pattern hair loss treatment although this does not include finasteride 1mg as this tablet is only suitable for men. Instead various non-invasive hair growth boosters can be used as part of an holistic package.
The Beverly Hills trial, for which 40 men and women with genetic hair loss are being recruited, will assess both the number of injections and the frequency of these in order to ascertain the most effective treatment programme. The results of the study are expected in November 2017.
While PRP has yet to establish itself as a “go-to” treatment for genetic baldness, doctors in Egypt recently claimed it was better than minoxidil 5% at treating hair loss people with the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata. While these findings are certainly interesting, it was not tested against other strengths of minoxidil. Also, they don’t appear to take into account that Alopecia Areata is often a rather fleeting condition in which the bald patches it causes can clear up spontaneously.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.