PRP against hair loss

Hair loss (Alopecia) is always a nuisance. For men and women alike. If you also suffer from it and ask yourself: “How can my hair loss be stopped?”, then I would like to introduce PRP as a relatively new remedy for hair loss in this article.

Can PRP prevent hair loss?

I have been treating hair loss in both men and women with PRP for quite some time. And I have had good results with the PRP treatment of the hair.

But one thing right from the start: reversing hair loss with PRP does not work. PRP can certainly not prevent hair loss forever. It would be dubious to hold out such a prospect. But at least hair loss can be stopped or at least slowed down in many cases with PRP.

The widespread disease of hair loss

Hair loss can justifiably be called a widespread disease. While men are usually thought of in this context, hair loss is of particular concern to women. Dense hair is still a sign of femininity for women, despite all recent fashion trends. Light hair is a serious psychological burden for many women. But despite all pharmaceutical research, it has not yet been possible to develop active substances that could stop hair loss in women.

In hair loss causes mostly genetic

It is known from studies that hair loss affects men in the course of their lives to 80%. And still to a good 50% hair loss affects women. The causes of hair loss are manifold. It is often genetically determined. A large part of the research on alopecia therefore also revolves around the question of how hereditary hair loss can be stopped. Often, however, environmental influences such as stress, an unhealthy diet, hormonal imbalances or incorrect hair care also play a role. Various home remedies against hair loss target supposed vitamin D or iron deficiency. Mostly without great success, as you would expect. Hardly one of them that could actually even stop hair loss. While men clearly earlier can be affected by it, hair loss in women usually does not start until the Menopause one. Particularly common forms are the hereditary hereditary hair loss and the circular Hair loss.

Hereditary hair loss

A hereditary hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is present in about 95% of all cases. This form of hair loss in women and men is known from numerous studies. Hereditary hair loss stems from a hypersensitivity of the hair follicles to male sex hormones. The fact that it is genetically predisposed makes it so difficult to develop reliable and, above all, side-effect-free remedies for hereditary hair loss. Age plays an important role in androgenetic alopecia. In most cases, hereditary hair loss begins between the ages of 30 and 40 and then increases with advancing age.

Hereditary hair loss – progression

Hereditary hair loss progresses differently in men and women. In men, the hair on the temples and forehead typically thins out first. The so-called receding hairline. The upper back of the head also shows increasing circular baldness (Tonsure). Gradually, the bald patches and spread and finally leave only a ring of hair, which, starting from the back of the head, extends on both sides over the ears.

In women, hereditary hair loss is initially manifested by a decreasing hair density in the crown area. Increased hair loss is often noticed, for example when brushing the hair or after washing the hair. With increasing age, the hair on the top of the skull becomes thinner and thinner, so that the scalp becomes flat. In a minority of cases, hereditary hair loss in women develops in a similar pattern as in men. However, completely bald patches are rather rare in women.

Common cause of hair loss: dihydrotestosterone

While hereditary hair loss in women is almost always to be regarded as pathological, it occurs so frequently in men at an advanced age that it can almost be regarded as a normal phenomenon of old age in men. The hair roots thereby develop a hypersensitivity to Dihydrotestosteronea metabolic product of the sex hormone testosterone. Dihydrotestosterone inhibits the growth of hair follicles and this in turn leads to hair loss and lack of new hair formation.

Circular hair loss

Circular hair loss in women. In the picture treated with PRP.

While hereditary hair loss is clearly due to hereditary factors, the causes of circular hair loss (Alopecia areata) has not yet been conclusively clarified. Circular hair loss affects women and men relatively equally. It even occurs in children. Thus, unlike androgenetic alopecia, circular hair loss is not primarily a matter of age.

Circular hair loss as a consequence of immune dysfunction

Among the suspected causes of circular hair loss are mainly disorders of the immune system (autoimmune reactions). In this case, a malfunction in the immune system leads to a defensive reaction against the patient’s own hair root cells. These become inflamed, which leads to a reduction in hair growth and hair loss. Circular, bald patches appear in the hair, which gives the disease its name.

The whole body can be affected

Most often the hair on the head is affected, but also beard, eyebrows and body hair. In very severe forms, affected individuals lose their entire body hair (Alopecia areata universalis). Frequently, circular hair loss occurs together with other autoimmune diseases, especially Neurodermatitis and Vitiligo (white spot disease). This circumstance gives rise to the assumption that an immune disorder is also the cause behind circular hair loss.

Minoxidil and finasteride

As widespread as hereditary hair loss is, the equally effective and risk-free therapy has not yet been discovered. Many hair loss remedies promise miracles in advertising, but fall short of expectations in reality. The Internet as well as the cosmetics industry have a rich repertoire of “secret” formulas, well-known remedies, dietary supplements, tinctures, tablets and shampoos. And whether in forums or magazines, practically every day someone always has a “new remedy for hair loss” – one that this time will definitely stop hair loss. Alone, the effect of all these means regularly turns out to be wishful thinking. Far from the new hair growth suggested in advertising, most are not even able to stop hair loss.

Against hair loss – but with severe side effects

In turn, the two common and clinically proven drug therapies finasteride and minoxidil often cause unpleasant side effects. This can make their long-term use problematic. Many users discontinue prematurely. Research into a new hair loss remedy with few to no side effects has therefore been conducted by pharmaceutical companies for years.

Minoxidil against hair loss in women

For women, minoxidil is in principle the only currently available drug therapy. The drug is classically applied to the scalp as a solution (2%) or foam (5%). Recently, minoxidil can also be administered orally in low dosage. It can take several months before the first visible results are seen, so one must be patient. Although it is not yet clear exactly how minoxidil works, it has been proven by studies that it can indeed stop hair loss. However, minoxidil also has some side effects, mainly redness, flaking and inflammation of the scalp. In many cases, this causes the treatment to be discontinued even before the first results are visible. Hair loss can only be stopped with Minoxidil if it is used on a regular basis.

Finasteride against hair loss in men

For men with hereditary hair loss, there is also the drug finasteride to take. The active ingredient influences the male hormone balance by preventing the metabolization of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. In this way, finasteride slows hair loss. In a number of documented cases, finasteride has even been shown to stop hair loss and promote new hair growth. However, finasteride also takes a longer time to produce visible results. The user must therefore prove his patience, just as with minoxidil. Finasteride also has a number of highly unpleasant side effects due to its direct intervention in the male hormone balance. These include loss of libido and impotence. Cases of gynecomastia (male breasts) have also been reported. Similar to minoxidil, the dropout rate among users is therefore high.

Hair Transplant

Hereditary hair loss does not usually result in complete baldness in men. Instead, a ring of hair remains, extending from the back of the head to below the temple region. This is because the hair roots located in this zone are immune to dihydrotestosterone. Hair transplantation tries to take advantage of this by transplanting hair roots from resistant scalp areas to bald spots. The idea is that if resistant cells are successfully transplanted, hair loss can be stopped.

Hair transplantation for men and women

Hair transplant procedures are also available for women as long as they have sufficient body areas with resistant hair roots. Critical to hair transplantation is the successful transplantation of hair roots to bald areas. The hair roots must survive in their new environment and continue to produce new hair. To assist in this process, PRP has also been shown to be effective as an adjunctive therapy after transplants, as studies have shown. In the following paragraphs, let’s take a closer look at what PRP is all about and how it can be used to stop hair loss.

Treat hair loss with PRP

With PRP for hair loss, a real alternative to conventional therapies is available. PRP does not interfere with the hormonal balance, but acts directly on the hair root cells. Hair roots in our scalp, like all cells of the human body, depend on a sufficient supply of nutrients via the bloodstream. If the body cannot provide these nutrients, hair loss sets in. A promising therapeutic approach to stop hair loss is therefore based on cell regeneration and nutrient supply of hair roots. At LIPS and SKIN in Munich, I have therefore been treating hair loss with PRP for some time. And quite successfully. PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma, which is obtained from a patient’s blood. Consequently, treatment with PRP is an autologous blood therapy. I treat hair loss with PRP in both men and women.

Supply nutrients with PRP – stop hair loss

Hereditary hair loss is primarily caused by a genetic hypersensitivity to the hormone testosterone, but it is also accelerated by an insufficient supply of nutrients to the hair roots. Treatment with PRP addresses precisely this point: it supplies the cells with the necessary nutrients. In this way, hair loss can be stopped in many cases.

How exactly does PRP work for hair loss?

Our blood contains a large number of different cells, which have various tasks in the organism. Well-known representatives are the red and the white blood cells, you will hear about them at the latest in biology lessons. Another important cell type are the so-called Platelets, the platelets. Platelets are quite small, disc-shaped cell bodies compared to the other blood cells (hence platelets). Platelets move freely in the bloodstream and play a central role in blood clotting. Platelets contain very many Growth factorswhich stimulate tissue formation and are important for the wound healing process.

Concentrated platelets – effective against hair loss

The effect of PRP against hair loss is based on these platelet growth factors. In particular, three main correlations of action are suspected in the therapy against hair loss:

  1. The increase of locally available fibroblast growth factors, which have a positive effect on the so-called Anagen phase impact. In this phase, hair follicles mature to their maximum size. In the hair cycle, the anagen phase is crucial for hair length growth.
  2. The increased formation of Bcl-2 proteins, which delay programmed cell death.
  3. The increased formation of beta-catenin, a protein centrally involved in the so-called Transcription which involves the conversion of undifferentiated stem cells into functional local cells of a specific type.

However, if the hereditary hair loss is far advanced, then often only hair transplantation can help. PRP cannot replace such a transplantation, but it can have a supporting effect.

No foreign substances

The healing success of PRP is based exclusively on the body’s own substances, especially the growth factors contained in the platelets. Pharmaceuticals or other exogenous additives are consistently avoided. The patient’s own PRP is injected into the scalp with the aim of stimulating cell regeneration in the hair roots. This process of tissue rejuvenation can stop hair loss and stimulate hair growth, as studies have repeatedly shown.

Studies prove: PRP can stop hair loss

Among other things, PRP has been shown to promise a high success rate as a hair loss remedy for both circular and androgenetic forms. 80% of treated men and women reported noticeably denser hair growth after PRP treatment. Even more than 90% of patients observed an increase in hair thickness and a reduction in scalp itching after 3-4 treatments. It also became apparent that hair loss can only be stopped after several treatments and that the earlier the treatment is started, the greater the success.

The widespread assumption that chances of success in treatment could depend on age or gender, on the other hand, was not confirmed by the studies. A study published as recently as March 2019 reconfirmed the good prospects for success of PRP as a hair loss treatment, and in particular for androgenetic alopecia. In a double-blind study of 26 male patients, both increased hair growth and greater hair density were demonstrated. The results were still evident 3 months after treatment. This was without continuation of any pre-existing medication (which had been the case in some subjects).

My PRP experience with hair loss

My own observations from treatments of female patients in Munich confirm the study results. For example, a female patient whom I treated with PRP for hair loss a total of 5 times at intervals of 4 weeks shows a significant increase in hair density in the (midline) vertex about 6 months after the start of therapy. The patient has very dark hair, which made an incipient androgenetic hair loss particularly noticeable. The visual impression has improved significantly since the start of therapy, the hair appears denser, the scalp in the crown is no longer so prominent. According to our common opinion, we were able to stop her hair loss thanks to PRP.

Exact mechanism of action unclear

Incidentally, it has not yet been possible to clarify exactly how PRP works against hair loss. In particular, no correlation, for example, between the PRP concentration and the increase in hair growth or hair density has been established to date. Individual therapy protocols are therefore widely used in the specialized medical profession. Therefore, if you are considering such a therapy, you should obtain detailed information from your physician regarding the specific procedure.

Risks of PRP treatment

Since PRP for hair loss completely avoids the use of substances foreign to the body, there are no serious risks. Allergies and intolerances are virtually excluded. However, the general risk of infections cannot be ruled out with injection therapy.

Prices for PRP against hair loss

In my practice in Munich, PRP therapy against hair loss costs around 280 euros (guideline). The specific costs of the individual case are determined according to the Medical fee schedule (GOÄ) are determined and billed. For a visible success, usually 3-5 sessions are required at intervals of 4-6 weeks each. If several sessions are booked as a package, then more favorable package prices are possible, since individual GOÄ numbers must be applied only 1x. Refresher treatments are then performed at annual or semi-annual intervals.