A common complaint that I hear from patients is that their hair is thinning. There are many reasons why thinning of the hair occurs. One of the main ones is just from aging, but this may also be due to another problem called androgenic alopecia. Indeed, the two may be associated with the same underlying problem.

Both may be associated with a disruption or a decrease in the blood supply to the hair follicle. The result is seen as a loss of hair or a thinning of hair. Thus, it would make sense that if a treatment was available that would increase the vascular component to help feed the hair follicles better that this treatment could be an ideal modality to increase hair growth.

Naturally, your body produces growth factors that are stored in your platelets. These growth factors stimulate the growth and regeneration of capillaries, elastin, collagen, and other components of your skin in response to an injury,[1] such as a cut on your skin. In addition, platelets’ growth factors have been shown to increase the thickness and density of hair follicles.[2]

Platelets are inside your blood and can be easily harvested via a simple blood draw. The fraction of the blood with the platelets is called PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma. Once harvested, we can use the power of these growth factors in multiple ways, and one way is to stimulate the growth of your hair so you have less hair thinning.

A recent journal in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology[3] confirmed the effectiveness of PRP to increase hair growth. The lead author Salvatore Giordano, MD, PhD, an adjunct professor in plastic surgery at the University of Turku in Finland, reviewed six different studies involving 177 patients who used PRP to stimulate scalp hair.

The results of the study were remarkable. There was a significant increase (24%) in local hair number per square cm with PRP compared to control subjects (i.e. those treated with either placebo, vitamin preparations or interfollicular placental extract). In addition there was a significant increase in cross-sectional hair thickness with use of PRP. The effects were seen in both men and women.

They stated that “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 participating in tissue renovation.”

Dr. Giordano also recommended a series of three to four treatments, each one spaced three weeks apart, for the initial treatments. Then, to maintain the achieved results, one PRP treatment every six months thereafter.

At TrueMD we offer PRP treatments for those who complain of thinning of their hair, and we have seen similar remarkable results ourselves. This review of multiple articles gives further evidence that the treatments do indeed work well.

[1] Singh B, Goldberg L. Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Pattern Hair Loss. Am J Clin Dermatol, 2016 Aug;17(4):359-67. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27234711

[2] Lee SH, Zheng S. et al. Therapeutic efficacy of autologous platelet-rich plasma and polydeoxyribonucleotide on female pattern hair loss. Wound Repair Regen. 2015 Jan-Feb;23(1):30-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25524027

[3] Giordano S, Romeo M, Lankinen P. Platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia: Does it work? Evidence from meta analysis. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Mar 13;  doi: 10.1111/jocd.12331. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28296142