A new double-blind study set out to assess whether modified injections of a patient’s own blood into their scalp could aid hair loss
The findings show the technique to be of benefit when applied alongside the existing, clinically-proven treatments. This backs the results of previous studies which found that PRP is not an effective treatment for genetic hair loss in its own right.
Doctors in Spain recruited 25 patients who were losing hair to the genetic hair loss conditions Male Pattern Baldness
or Female Pattern Hair Loss
and split them into two groups. One group of was given the well-known hair loss drug finasteride 1mg
which is suitable for men over 18 only; the other used the equally-popular minoxidil 5% which can be used by both men and women aged 16 and over. In addition to this, each participant was given four injections of modified blood into one side of their scalp while the other side received placebo injections.
Human blood separated in a centrifuge
The modified blood is known as Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)
- as is the therapy - and it is based around technology that separates human blood placed in a centrifuge into its component parts. Extracting the platelet-rich layer, which is full of growth factors, means it can then be re-injected into the body where it may be useful. This includes scar tissue and other wounds, but PRP is also being offered as a hair loss treatment by some clinics where it is often referred to as 'stem cell injections'.
Scientists seem increasingly clear, however, that PRP therapies are not especially powerful at reversing hair loss when used on their own. The latest Spanish test set out to prove PRP’s use as a secondary treatment option, which would put it in the category of 'adjunct therapies' or 'hair growth supporting products
The new results showed that the PRP injections helped to improve regrowth in patients when compared to the side of the head that received the placebo injections. The best results were seen on the scalps of those who had used it with minoxidil.
Several previous news articles have hailed PRP
as a useful supplementary therapy to a male or female pattern hair loss treatment
programme, and this one seems to confirm this. What these studies also do, perhaps, is show that PRP is not effective
at regrowing hair on its own in cases of genetic hair loss.
In fact, it is hard to believe that PRP will take off in the long-term, even as a secondary treatment for pattern hair loss, given its expense and rather invasive, painful nature. Especially when there are more cost-effective, convenient and pain-free hair growth
Other boosters available
Hereditary hair loss treatment courses for men and women typically make use of the key, proven treatments officially recognised for this purpose with the relevant MHRA licenses and FDA approvals. Topical formulations of high strength minoxidil
can be used by both men and women to promote accelerated hair growth, whilst medically suitable men aged 18 and over also have the option of using - on its own or paired with minoxidil - the oral DHT-blocker, finasteride 1mg
Supplementary non-pharmaceutical elements to support hair growth
can also be used in tandem with either or both of these treatments, from Hair Vitalics
food supplements to promote normal healthy hair growth, to clinical therapy treatments and home-use LLLT.
While, to date, there have been no direct clinical evaluations of the efficacy of PRP compared to other “boosters” such as low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
, which uses light to stimulate the hair follicles, the latter is irrefutably less invasive.
Belgravia offers its clients LLLT in the shape of the home-use HairMax Laser Comb
, which is cleared by the FDA for the treatment of genetic hair loss in both men and women. It can help to accelerate the action of their pharmaceutical hair loss treatments and is the original LLLT device. The LaserComb features a patented combing mechanism to ensure the light therapy is delivered straight to the scalp, rather than the hair - an important element that is missing from other similar devices.
There are undoubtedly still further trials to be done to investigate the benefits PRP may offer to hair loss sufferers. It has, after all, proven useful
as a sole treatment for bald patches caused by the autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata, though more research is required here too given this condition frequently clears up of its own accord so it is hard to know the precise extent of PRP's influence.
For those concerned about thinning hair now, it is advisable to seek professional help sooner rather than later if the end goal is avoiding further shedding, promoting regrowth and preventing baldness. A consultation at a reputable hair loss clinic
can - at the very least - provide the information needed to obtain and understand a diagnosis, prognosis and details of relevant restorative and preventative treatments.