Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for Hair Restoration
According to The Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma in the Field of Hair Restoration and Facial Aesthetics—A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (2019) published on Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. PRP has been successfully used in a wide array of dermatological applications. Based on the evidence, monthly PRP treatments (3 sessions initially followed by a maintenance regimen) can significantly improve hair density, hair count, hair shedding, and hair diameter.
Activating the Akt promotes hair restoration & growth with PRP’s multifactorial capabilities. By blocking the degradation of β-catenin & BAD to prevent apoptosis which causes an increases in the number of cells as a result of cell growth, division, forming new blood vessels & strengthens survivability of cells.
Akt, also known as protein kinase B (PKB), is a serine/threonine-specific protein kinase that plays a critical role in controlling the balance between survival and death pathways in cells. Akt signals to many cellular pathways involved with cell cycle progression and proliferation, cell survival, protein synthesis, and cell growth.
Beta-catenin (β-catenin) is a multifunctional protein that contributes to cell development under normal physiological conditions. It is the key effector responsible for transduction of the signal to the nucleus and it triggers transcription of Wnt-specific genes responsible for the control of cell fate decisions in many cells and tissues.
BAD refers to BCL-2 associated death promoter. The BCL-2 family proteins are the regulators of apoptosis, but also have other functions. This family of interacting partners includes inhibitors and inducers of cell death. Together they regulate and mediate the process by which mitochondria contribute to cell death known as the intrinsic apoptosis pathway.
As determined through a conducted meta-analysis, it was found that 3 monthly PRP injections (1 PRP session every 4 weeks, 3 sessions in total) significantly improved hair density. In addition to total hair density, several studies report improvement in hair count, terminal hair density, hair shedding, and hair diameter.
This improvement is consistent with the results of other previously published meta-analyses and clinical experience (Figures 6 below), suggesting that PRP is an effective hair restoration treatment.
Improving aesthetic results, and decrease recovery time are some of the main reasons why this procedure is gaining traction, on top of that, there are still various benefits that the PRP therapy offers such as combatting localized microinflammation associated with hair loss conditions, improving the density of collagen fibers through activating fibroblasts, which can smooth scarring and rejuvenate skin’s appearance & induce statistically significant improvements in acne scar severity when combined with microneedling and erbium fractional lasers.
As with any medical treatment, discomfort & complications may occur during PRP therapy for hair rejuvenation. For this instance, the scalp is highly innervated with sensory receptors & this procedure can cause significant pain and distress to patients.
In order to help the patient cope with the pain & relief some anxiety, application of ice-pack compression and vibration anesthetic device (VAD) is usually introduced as pain-relief modalities during PRP injections.
An example is shown in the image above, with injections performed by a dermatologist using a 30-gauge needle to inject 0.2 mL over 2 to 3 seconds at each injection point, while a medical student assisted with ice and a VAD. Injections were performed in a unidirectional pattern such that no pressure from the ice pack or the VAD was applied to the previously injected areas.
For ice pack compression, it is placed on the scalp with gentle pressure for 2 to 3 seconds prior to the injection of the site, then advanced 2 cm from the needle to prechill the next site of injection.
For VAD, the head of the VAD was wrapped with disposable, sterile plastic film prior to each procedure. Vibration was administered by gently contacting the scalp with the VAD approximately 2 cm away from the site of injection.
However, physicians should be cautious with their use of a VAD & it is advisable to perform a simple spot test prior to treatment as there were reported cases of increased pain sensitivity with a VAD. Therefore, patient selection, consent and counselling, preparation and patient compatibility with other PRP types should be determined based on clinical recommendations.
Primer on cerebrovascular disease (second edition) (2017) Zhang, Y., Wang, X. Targeting the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in cancer. J Hematol Oncol 13, 165 (2020).
Hardwick JM, Soane L. Multiple functions of BCL-2 family proteins. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2013 Feb 1;5(2):a008722. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a008722. PMID: 23378584; PMCID: PMC3552500.
The Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma in the Field of Hair Restoration and Facial Aesthetics—A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis published on Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery (2019)
Effective strategies to reduce pain during platelet-rich plasma scalp injections: A randomized split-scalp study published on J AM ACAD DERMATOL (2021)
Cancer Drug Design and Discovery (Second Edition) (2014, Pages 121-141)
Learn When and Where to use PRP Standalone and in Combination with other
Aesthetic Procedures such as Laser in our upcoming
Aesthetic Injection Hand-On Master Classes/Mini Fellowship happening globally:
IFAAS Hands-on Master Class
Advanced PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy for Facial, Neck & Hair Rejuvenation
November 21, 2022 - Sydney, Australia - [Register Now]
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