Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, where blood is taken from a person and enriched elements of that blood are injected back into the scalp, have been steadily increasing in popularity over the past few years despite there being no clinical data to support their efficacy in treating hair loss of any kind.
Two formal clinical trials started in 2015 to establish any potential benefits of using PRP for hair loss; one by the International University of Catalunya in Barcelona and another by a Swiss company called Regen Lab SA.
The Catalan University’s study was due to complete in November 2015 and has now released its findings. These appear to back anecdotal reports that PRP can be useful in treating genetic hair loss in both men and women, when used as a complementary therapy alongside clinically-proven hair loss treatments.
This confirms what Belgravia’s experts have reported previously: that PRP should be considered a treatment booster and not a hair loss treatment in its own right.
According to the study information published in the April 2016 Dermatologic Surgery journal, participants in the small-scale trial that was headed up by Rubina Alves, MD, from the university’s department of dermatology, displayed encouraging signs at their six month check-ups. These assessment appointments took place three months after the initial treatment phase, in July 2015.
The treatment phase involved each of the 25 volunteers, who were all experiencing moderate levels of either male pattern baldness or, for women, female pattern hair loss, having a solution injected into their scalps once per month over a three month period. In order to make a fair and true comparison between the effects of the two, each volunteer had half their head treated with PRP and half their head treated with a placebo solution.
The published results indicate the following significant discoveries: that PRP-treated areas demonstrated an increase in the number of mean anagen hairs (67.6 ± 13.1), telogen hairs (32.4 ± 13.1), hair density (179.9 ± 62.7), and terminal hair density (165.8 ± 56.8) compared to baseline (p < .05). Also, that PRP-treated areas showed an increased hair density when compared to the side of their head treated with a placebo.
Summarising their findings, which includes one unique correlation between men’s hair density, the age at which they started experiencing male hair loss and their family history of androgenetic alopecia (AGA), the study states: ‘In support of the data obtained, treatment with [platelet-rich plasma] showed a statistically significantly correlation of the mean total hair density between men, patients aged ≤ 40 years, beginning of hair loss ≥ 25 years, positive family history, and > 10 years of evolution of [androgenetic alopecia], when compared with the placebo.’ Adding, ‘This study also found a correlation in the areas treated with [platelet-rich plasma] between anagen hairs (%), and patients aged more than 40 years and beginning of [androgenetic alopecia] ≥ 25 years, at 6 months’.
Concluding the study, researchers clearly state: ‘Application of PRP showed a positive effect on AGA and could be regarded as an adjuvant therapy for AGA.’ An ‘adjuvant’ therapy is a secondary treatment used to enhance the response of the initial, primary treatment.
Hair growth products
In cases of both male and female pattern hair loss the primary treatment is high strength minoxidil, a topical medication which is applied directly to the scalp in areas of thinning hair, or where they are experiencing a receding hairline. It is a vasodilator, believed to open the potassium channels and stimulate follicles into accelerated hair growth.
Men also have the option of using – either on its own or alongside minoxidil – the only other MHRA licensed and FDA approved genetic hair loss treatment – the daily oral tablet finasteride 1mg. This men-only medication inhibits the formation of DHT, the substance which causes follicular miniaturisation, the process which results in gradual hair thinning, and even sometimes eventual baldness, in those with an inherited sensitivity to it.
There are a number of secondary treatments known as ‘adjunct therapies’ or ‘hair growth supporting products‘ which can be employed alongside these recognised medications.
These range from head massage and red light therapy, both of which are used in Belgravia’s clinical therapy sessions, to follicle stimulating low-level laser therapy (LLLT) delivered via FDA-cleared devices such as the HairMax LaserComb. Highly-targeted food supplements such as Hair Vitalics for Men which have been formulated to include a potent blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts, including biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth, may also be taken.
Belgravia’s hair loss specialists have expected PRP to fall into this ‘booster’ category rather than be a standalone treatment for a number of years now, however there is the possibility that future researchers may be able to use the Catalan study to eventually develop an all-in-one treatment and booster. As the trial report advises, more studies are still needed: ‘This clinical research provides support that the application of [platelet-rich plasma] may have a therapeutic effect on [androgenetic alopecia] and can be used as a safe complementary treatment option… However, more controlled and well-designed clinical trials should be conducted to confirm the clinical improvement of [genetic hair loss] with administration of [PRP].’
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.