Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has hit the headlines recently as a possible ‘wonder’ cure for multiple ailments including skin rejuvenation and hair loss.
But a new study has found that the technique – in which a patient’s own blood is “enriched” before being re-injected into the body – is not effective as a hair loss treatment.
According to health website Healio, the small scale trial involved 26 women with the genetic condition Female Pattern Hair Loss. Fifteen of them were assigned to treatment, with the remainder given a placebo.
The results showed that just 13.3 per cent of the patients who did receive the treatment (ie: two people) did see substantial improvements at the end of the 26 week study.
PRP treatment involves putting a sample of a patient’s own blood through a special centrifuge so that the blood separates into component parts. The platelets – which the body uses for healing – and growth-factor proteins are extracted and then re-injected into the scalp.
Typically, the scalp is first “excited” using a technique called microneedling, which uses a pen-like device (or sometimes a roller) to “punch” the surface of the scalp with dozens of tiny needles. This can also help with absorption of topical medications.
In the latest hair loss study, researchers reported that the patients’ experience of the trial was perhaps more positive than the observable results. More than a quarter of patients in the treatment group said that their hair felt courser after a treatment, while 18.2 per cent of the placebo group did, too – despite none of the latter group showing any observable signs of hair growth.
The researchers wrote in their paper, which was published in the Dermatologic Surgery journal, that: “Although the results of this pilot study with a small number of patients failed to demonstrate the efficacy of PRP, some of its findings suggest that PRP, or maybe scalp needling therapy, may have a promise in the treatment of female androgenetic alopecia.”
In other words, it is possible that the microneedling – or scalp needling – may have played an instrumental part in the hair growth. It is not a new idea – at least one study into the efficacy of microneedling has been announced, with a team in Vancouver using a microneedling device alongside the medically-proven topical hair loss drug Minoxidil.
Hair growth ‘booster’
Whilst medical trials have so far confirmed that PRP therapy and microneedling show little promise as a primary treatment option for hair loss. As a secondary, “booster” treatment to complement clinically-proven options, however, the latest trial shows that PRP and microneedling may still have a part to play.
This backs similar findings from a 2015 clinical trial which took place in Barcelona. This study investigated the effects of PRP on androgenetic alopecia in both men and women. It found that in cases of female pattern hair loss and male pattern baldness the plasma therapy was potentially only of benefit as an ‘adjunct’ or ‘secondary’ booster. It was not an effective treatment for this kind of hereditary hair thinning in its own right.
When considered in this light, PRP is similar – although more painful and invasive – to low level laser therapy (LLLT). The original, and most popular home-use LLLT device is the HairMax Lasercomb which has a patented system with an ergonomic, convenient brush-type design that parts the hair as you run it over your scalp. This ensures the light therapy is delivered directly to the scalp rather than having to penetrate the hair in order to inhibit thinning hair and promote hair growth. This device is extremely popular among Belgravia clients as an add-on to their pharmaceutical courses.
At present, the go-to primary component that forms the cornerstone of pharmaceutical female pattern hair loss treatment, is a solution applied directly to the scalp once or twice per day as directed. This is called minoxidil and is the only proven, FDA and MHRA approved androgenetic alopecia treatment available for women. At Belgravia we offer a range of high strength minoxidil which have produced impressive results for many of our clients, examples of which can be seen in our Female Pattern Hair Loss Treatment Success Stories.
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.