One of the less conventional forms of hair loss treatment could potentially be more effective if offered to clients on a more frequent basis, according to a new study.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) scalp injections have now been around for several years to treat a variety of conditions including tendinitis and osteoarthritis. They basically involve extracting blood from a patient, then putting it through a centrifuge in order for the plasma to become separated. Within the platelet rich portion of the blood are a high proportion of “natural growth factors” which, when re-injected into the body where they are needed, may prove beneficial.
This bloody therapy has been popularised as an upscale cosmetic facial, often known as a Vampire Facelift, due to alleged anti-ageing properties. PRP’s application in relation to addressing issues with thinning hair is also growing, despite various clinical trials finding that PRP was ineffective as a hair loss treatment in its own right when it came to the most common conditions: Male Pattern Baldness and, the women’s equivalent, Female Pattern Hair Loss.
At the October annual meeting of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Amelia Hausauer, MD, formerly of Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills, told delegates that a new trial had shown how scalp injections of PRP had increased efficacy for men and women with these hereditary hair loss conditions, when administered more frequently.
Previous results were not compelling
However, Hausauer explains that in a trial that was supported by an educational grant from Eclipse Aesthetics LLC of Texas, researchers found that monthly injections on a relatively small group of volunteers produced quite impressive results.
In a trial which involved 29 men and 10 women, the volunteers were split into two groups, one being offered PRP scalp injections on a monthly basis while the other cohort was given PRP at a rate of two sessions every three months. The results were presented to the Society at the annual meeting.
Compared with baseline, patients in the first treatment group experienced statistically significant increases in hair count (mean change in hairs/cm2, +46.7; P < .001). Shaft caliber also improved from baseline in this cohort (+16 mm; P < .001). Further analysis indicated that this was a 29.6% mean increase in hair count and a 31.1% increase in caliber for this treatment arm.
Mean absolute changes among patients in the second group were +13.1 for hair count (P = .009) and +14.8 mm for shaft caliber (P < .001) compared with baseline. The mean percent increase in hair count for this group was 7.2%, with an 26.7% increase in caliber.
Compared with patients in the second treatment group, increases in hair count were statistically significant among those in the first group (mean percent change: group 1, 29.6% vs. group 2, 7.2%; P < .001). Changes in hair count, however, were similar (mean percent change: group 1, +31.1 vs. group 2, +26.7; P = .36).
What PRP does not address, however, is DHT – the hormone dihydrotestosterone – which is responsible for causing thinning hair in cases of male and female pattern hair loss. People with these kinds of hereditary hairloss have an in-built sensitivity to this androgen, which is only really useful until puberty ends. Following this it latches on to the hair follicles located around the top of the scalp and hairline, gradually weakening them, causing them to produce ever-thinner hair and, especially in the case of men, can lead to baldness.
In Belgravia’s opinion, whilst PRP may show potential long-term promise as an adjunct therapy to complement the established MRHA-licensed and FDA-approved treatment options currently available for genetic hair loss, more extensive, independent testing and compelling results are needed to prove this.
Though the therapy is offered at some clinics for people presenting with androgenetic alopecia – better known as male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss – Belgravia does not currently offer PRP as our experts believe that the costly, invasive procedure has not yet proved itself to be sufficiently effective as a hair loss product to be worth the pain and price tag. Especially when a non-invasive and far cheaper option – low level laser therapy (LLLP) – offers a similar but more convenient benefit, given LLLT devices, such as the FDA-cleared LaserComb, can easily be used at home to stimulate the follicles.
For men, the starting point to treat male pattern baldness is usually a one-a-drug day called finasteride 1mg; this helps to inhibit the formation of a testosterone by-product named DHT which can damage the hair follicles in men with a genetic sensitivity to it. Men and women presenting with genetic hair loss may also consider using appropriate high-strength minoxidil solutions. These can be particularly useful in cases of stubborn hair loss – such as a receding hairline in men – and for women who cannot use finasteride. It is applied directly to the scalp where needed, either once or twice per day as advised.
LLLT is one of a number of additional hair growth supporting products which can be paired with the clinically-proven, pharmaceutical hair loss treatments. Another of these is a potent one-a-day food supplement developed by Belgravia’s hair experts, named Hair Vitalics.
The first port of call for anyone worried about losing their hair is to first have a consultation with a hair specialist who can provide a professional diagnosis of their condition before recommending appropriate treatment options for consideration.
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.