Can platelet-rich plasma injections, aka PRP, help boost hair growth like it does collagen and elastin production? We put it to the test
Kim Kardashian made the vampire facial famous, aka platelet-rich plasma injections
into the face, but it was her sister Kourtney who shared with the world that these injections could be performed on the scalp too, in order to boost hair growth.Platelet-rich plasma
is found in the blood and contains proteins known as growth factors
. These all-important proteins are needed to support cell growth and survival, and injecting them into the body has been commonly used in the world of medicine and aesthetics to heal sports injuries, speed up recovery post-surgery, rejuvenate the skin and even encourage healthy hair
It was this aspect of the treatment that I was most interested in when I went to see Dr David Jack. The thinning around my hairline that I’d had for a few years had accumulated and I’d now lost a significant section of my hairline. So I had blood tests and consulted with a hair transplant
surgeon and a dermatologist to confirm what type of alopecia I had – they both agreed it was androgenic alopecia.
This is where hair begins to thin above both temples, resulting in a hairline that has receded into an M-shape. “The hair miniaturisation and eventual loss is due to the action of the hormone testosterone, which converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), when you produce too much or have a sensitivity to the hormone it can interfere with the hair's growth cycle, shrinking and shortening the hair making it easier for it to fall out and more difficult for it to grow back,” explains Etre Vous Expert and Hair Transplant Surgeon, Dr Greg Williams
While anti-androgen medication and minoxidil can help slow down hair loss, PRP has also been shown to improve growth and density in those with androgenic alopecia. And I was desperately hoping that Dr Jack would be able to coax back some of the hair I'd lost.
The treatment itself is super quick, Jack numbed the areas of my scalp where he would inject, then simply took a small amount of blood from a vein in my arm in much the same way as when you have blood taken for a blood test. He then placed it into a centrifuge – a machine that spins the blood incredibly quickly – causing it to separate. After about 15 minutes you can see the plasma floating above the blood which Jack then injected back into my scalp
; thanks to the numbing cream, this is not nearly as painful as it might sound.
What wasn’t so quick were the results, I had 4 sessions 4-6 weeks apart and it did take at least 2 sessions to notice a change. But as Jack pointed out, this process can help decrease hair shedding and stimulate growth, and that most hair growth treatments take 3 to 6 months for people to see an improvement. Plus, the hair follicle has to be dormant but not dead for the growth phase to be triggered – so for any areas where follicles are dead, hair won’t recover.
When it comes to androgenic alopecia, once hair completely stops growing there is no getting it back, however PRP has been helpful in slowing down my hair loss and boosting the density of the hair I do have on my hairline. It’s not a miracle cure (although those with non permanent hair loss can achieve amazing results), but it’s well worth doing alongside other treatments.