Latest Research Confirms PRP Treatment for Hair Loss is Safe and Effective

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a successful treatment for various dermatologic conditions, including male and female pattern hair loss as well as scars. Those are the findings from a so-called “meta-analysis” of research studies, which basically is an exhaustive review of research completed in recent years.

Board-certified dermatologist Jeffrey Rapaport, MD, FAAD, headed up the study, titled, “The Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) in Dermatology.” It was presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

The meta-analysis gathered nearly 60 studies that met certain criteria for being considered. Of those, 23 examined male and female pattern baldness. Three others covered alopecia areata, a common autoimmune skin disease.

Dr. Rapaport’s review found that that just three sessions of PRP therapy could successfully improve hair density in those experiencing male and female pattern hair loss, and the treatment was most effective when spaced every 4 weeks. The study also found that two to four sessions of PRP therapy significantly improved scar severity.

In a news release issued by the AAD, Dr. Rapaport said the research clearly illustrates that PRP therapy is safe and effective for treating hair loss.

“A general body of evidence has recently emerged demonstrating a positive response from PRP treatments,” said Rapaport. “With consensus forming around treatment protocols, studies are indicating that PRP is a safe, effective hair loss treatment that has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life of millions of people.”

If you are not familiar with PRP therapy, it is a nonsurgical hair restoration treatment that takes advantage of your body’s own nutrients to restore and reactivate hair growth. PRP contains a large number of growth factors like platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor (TGF)-b, FGF and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). All of these participate in tissue renovation.

During a PRP therapy appointment, we draw a small amount of blood and place it in a centrifuge to separate the plasma rich in platelets and nutrients from the other blood cells. We then mix this concentrated PRP with ACell, an FDA approved cellular regeneration product. Once that is done, we inject the PRP into the scalp using a series of coordinated injections that target balding and thinning sections of hair. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and patients are free to leave their appointment and resume normal activities immediately afterward.

As Dr. Rapaport’s research indicated, Dr. Brandon Ross recommends a maintenance program rather than just a single treatment. First patients should undergo a series of three to four treatments, each one spaced several weeks apart. After this, patients should have one PRP treatment every six months going forward. Failure to follow the maintenance program could mean that the benefits from the PRP could be lost.

Not everyone is a candidate for PRP therapy – the ideal candidates for PRP therapy are people who have hair that’s present but thinning. However, Dr. Rapaport’s review of research completed in recent years found that certain patients, including those experiencing hereditary hair thinning or baldness, do experience high success and satisfaction rates.

About Brandon Ross MD