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Plasma | Can PRP treat hair loss?

 Can PRP treat hair loss?

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Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment that doctors use to accelerate healing in various areas of the body. It may help restore hair growth.

Doctors typically use this treatment when hair loss results from androgenetic alopecia, a common condition that causes hair follicles to shrink. In males, this is called male pattern baldness.

Although PRP is a relatively new approach, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that it can promote hair growth.

In this article, we describe how doctors use PRP to treat hair loss and what researchers say about its effectiveness.

What is PRP?

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To understand how PRP works, it is important to be aware of the role that platelets play in healing.

Platelets are a component of blood, along with red and white blood cells. When a person sustains a cut or wound, the platelets are some of the body’s “first responders” that arrive to stop the bleeding and promote healing.

Researchers theorized that if they could extract concentrated platelets and inject them into damaged areas of the body, they could accelerate healing.

To produce PRP, a medical professional will take a blood sample and put it into a machine called a centrifuge. This machine spins at a rapid rate, which separates the components of the blood. The medical professional then extracts the platelets for injection.

PRP contains a range of growth factors and proteins that speed tissue repair. As some types of hair loss result from damage to hair follicles, researchers initially hypothesized that PRP could help regrow hair by reversing the process that occurs in androgenetic alopecia.

Since then, PRP has become a popular method of restoring hair growth. Doctors have also used PRP to treat injuries to the tendons, muscles, and ligaments, such as those that people sustain during sporting activities.

Is it effective?

In 2019, a team of researchers carried out a systematic review of the research on PRP as a treatment for hair loss. Their findings appear in the journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

The analysis ultimately focused on 11 research papers that included a total of 262 participants with androgenetic alopecia. According to the authors, most of the studies found that injections of PRP reduced hair loss and increased the diameter of hairs and the density of hair growth.

They acknowledged, however, that the treatment is controversial, noting that small sample sizes and low quality of research were among the limiting factors of their investigation.

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Another 2019 systematic review, which featured in Dermatologic SurgeryTrusted Source, examined the findings of 19 studies investigating PRP as a treatment for hair loss. These studies recruited 460 people in total. According to the authors of the review, most studies reported that PRP treatments led to hair regrowth in those with androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.

The authors of an additional review of clinical studies, which the International Journal of Women’s DermatologyTrusted Source published, considered PRP to be a “promising” treatment for hair loss, based on their findings.

However, the team noted that because various researchers and clinics use different preparations, session intervals, and injection techniques to administer PRP, its effects can vary.

At this point, without a standardized protocol for injections, the authors explain, it is difficult to conclude that the treatment is effective.

Procedure

The following steps are an example of a common approach to PRP injections for hair loss:

  • A medical professional draws blood from a vein in the arm
  • They place the blood sample in a centrifuge.
  • The centrifuge spins the blood, separating its components.
  • A medical professional extracts the platelets using a syringe.
  • A doctor injects the platelets into targeted areas of the scalp.

The entire process may take about 1 hour, and several sessions may be necessary. After receiving PRP treatment, a person can usually return to their regular activities without any limitations.

How long does it last?

PRP is not a cure for conditions that cause hair loss. For this reason, a person would need to receive multiple PRP treatments over time to maintain hair growth results. The same is true of medications that doctors commonly use to treat androgenetic alopecia, such as topical minoxidil (Regaine) and oral finasteride (Propecia).

The doctor’s recommendations for how often a person should have PRP will vary depending on a person’s condition and the results of their initial treatment. The doctor may suggest having maintenance injections every 3–6 monthsTrusted Source once hair loss is under control.

Side effects

As the PRP solution consists of a person’s own blood components, there are few risks of a reaction to the solution itself.

However, people undergoing PRP treatments for hair loss may experience the following side effects:

  • mild pain at the injection site
  • scalp tenderness
  • swelling
  • a headache
  • itching
  • temporary bleeding at the injection site

Summary

Researchers have found evidence that PRP can lead to renewed hair growth. However, due to the limitations of these studies — such as small sample sizes — and the variation in technique and protocol among doctors, further research is necessary to confirm whether PRP is effective.

Doctors and researchers also need to identify the best candidates for PRP and develop universal treatment protocols.

At present, anyone with mild-to-moderate hair loss who is interested in PRP should ask a doctor whether they are likely to benefit from the treatment.

Hair growth: 6 home remedies

Hair growth depends on several factors, including a person’s genetic history. However, there are some home remedies that may help.

Whether a person is trying to prevent hair loss or encourage more growth, knowing some tips on diet and how to treat the hair can help them achieve their goal.

When hair loss is due to a medical condition, however, it is best to speak to a doctor about appropriate treatments.

The following home remedies may encourage hair growth:

1. Eating more protein

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The body needs protein to grow new hair. Hair loss can arise due to a protein deficiency.

Examples of healthful dietary protein sources include:

  • beans
  • eggs
  • fish
  • nuts
  • lean meats
  • seeds

A person’s daily protein needs vary based on how physically active they are and how much muscle mass they have.

2. Increasing iron intake

Iron is another nutrient the body requires to grow healthy hair. Some dietary iron sources include:

  • clams
  • lentils
  • oysters
  • pumpkin seeds
  • spinach
  • white beans
  • lean beef
  • turkey

Many manufacturers also fortify their foods with iron, which means that they have added iron to them.

People who do not eat meat have iron requirements as high as 1.8 times trusted Source those of people who do eat meat. This is because the body does not absorb nonanimal sources of iron as effectively.

3. Trying aromatherapy

According to the authors of the 2011 study paper, aromatherapy can help stimulate hair growth.

Examples of herbs that aromatherapy practitioners may use to promote hair growth include:

  • cedarwood
  • lavender
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • tulsi

When using essential oils on the scalp, be sure to mix only a few drops into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or walnut oil. The researchers also state that inhaling the scent of these oils may affect hair growth.

More research is necessary to determine whether essential oils are an effective solution for hair growth.

Some people may experience topical allergic reactions when using essential oils, so it is best to try a small test patch 24 hours before applying the mixture to the whole head.

4. Massaging the scalp

Massaging the scalp helps stimulate blood flow to the scalp, which could help encourage hair growth.

A small Japanese study trusted Source found that men who massaged their scalps for 4 minutes per day with a scalp massage device had thicker hair after 6 months.

People can use the pads of their fingertips to massage the scalp in gentle circles. Devices to massage the scalp are also available in drug stores and online.

5. Using pumpkin seed oil

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The authors of a 2014 study trusted Source looked at whether pumpkin seed oil could help hair growth.

They discovered that men taking 400 milligrams (mg) of pumpkin seed oil for 6 months experienced a 40 percent increase in average hair count, whereas those taking a placebo only experienced a 10 percent increase.

The men all had a history of androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. They were not currently taking other supplements for hair loss and were between 20 and 65 years old.

6. Taking saw palmetto

A 2-year-long study trusted Source found that supplementation with saw palmetto may increase hair growth in men with male pattern baldness.

The participants took 320 mg of saw palmetto every day for the duration of the study.

After 2 years, the participants experienced hair growth primarily in the vertex, or the top and back of the scalp. This is a common site for bald spots in men.

Causes of hair loss

Many people experience aging-related hair thinning or male or female pattern balding.

Doctors tend to divide hair loss not related to age into two major categories: scarring and non-scarring hair loss. Generally speaking, scarring hair loss is permanent. Examples of scarring hair loss causes include scarring alopecia.

Non-scarring hair loss causes can include alopecia areata (hair loss in patches) or telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium causes hair follicles to remain in a resting state. As a result, a person’s hair does not grow as quickly or as much as it once did.

This condition can be the result of the following “shocks” to the body:

  • giving birth
  • having a fever
  • having an inadequate protein intake
  • undergoing major surgery
  • having a severe chronic illness

ïtaking certain medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or retinoids

Prevention

Eating a nutritious diet and keeping stress levels low can help prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth.

In addition to these steps, other ways to encourage hair growth include:

  • not using hair accessories that can cause hair breakages, such as hairpins, clips, and rubber bands
  • avoiding styling products that can damage and break the hair, such as blow-dryers set to high heat, straightening irons, and curling irons
  • limiting the use of bleach, relaxers, and hair dyes
  • avoiding excess shampooing or brushing
  • when the hair is wet, avoiding brushing it or applying plastic or rubber hair ties

Treating the hair as gently as possible can help preserve it and minimize the rate of hair loss.

Sometimes, however, hair loss is inevitable due to age.

When to see a doctor

Hair loss is not necessarily a condition that affects a person’s overall health, but it can greatly impact their mental well-being and self-esteem.

A person should see their doctor if they are concerned about hair loss, especially if they are taking supplements or have made dietary changes and are losing hair.

A doctor may recommend seeing a dermatologist, who can conduct additional testing if necessary to determine appropriate treatments.

Summary

Some aspects of hair growth, such as genetics, are out of a person’s control. However, a person may see improved hair growth if they follow a healthful and nutritious diet.

Using some home remedies and taking good care of the hair may help enhance thickness and growth. If a person is concerned about hair loss or growth, they should talk to a doctor.





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