The hair growth cycle is far more complicated than a lot of people realize: It grows, regresses, rests, and eventually falls out in a span of a few years. The thing is, certain factors can negatively affect hair growth, ultimately leading to thinning hair and hair fall. If this is the case for you, you can opt for a safe medical treatment called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy where your healthcare provider uses your own blood to reverse the effects of hair loss and promote hair regrowth.
So how does the growth phase timeline of PRP therapy look? It typically takes 3 treatments (4 to 6 weeks in between) to complete the entire procedure. The number of maintenance treatments would then depend on your body’s response to the plasma solution. You should notice significant results within the first year of your initial treatment.
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Just like your skin and nails, your hair also undergoes a complex, multi-stage growth process. It typically grows about 1 inch every 2 months – or in other words, 6 inches every year. Each hair strand is made up of a hair follicle (where new cells are produced) and the hair shaft (the part of your hair that grows out from the scalp and bulb). The natural hair growth cycle is composed of the following distinct phases:
Interruptions in each stage can be caused by intrinsic and extrinsic factors such as age, nutritional deficiencies, stress, illness, and lifestyle habits. Hair loss becomes a problem when hair roots become damaged during any of the stages or if a lot of hair strands are in the telogen (resting) phase at the same time. This can lead to thinning hair, bald spots, alopecia, receding hairlines, and male pattern hair loss, among others.
This is where an emerging treatment called PRP therapy comes in. Essentially, a PRP hair loss treatment works by sending platelets – blood cell fragments with growth and healing factors – to any sites of injury (in this case, the weakened hair follicle).
This way, it prolongs the growing phase of the hair cycle and thus stimulates the growth of new hair strands. There is no downtime which means that you can shower, shampoo, and condition as normal when you come home.
You should start noticing results between 6 to 12 months after your first PRP treatment. Keep in mind that the results of PRP hair restoration therapy aren’t immediate because, as we’ve mentioned, the hair growth cycle doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it sometimes takes months or even years to go through an entire cycle. It takes a while before dormant hair follicles become stimulated again to restart the active growth phase.
If you want to maximize your results, you would need to schedule 2 to 3 follow-up hair restoration treatments, spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart. Take note that results are not permanent. For proper maintenance, you would need hair loss therapy every 6 to 12 months. You could also extend your results’ longevity by using at-home treatments (e.g., Formula 82M, Nutrafol) recommended by your doctor.
When you’re scheduled for PRP therapy for your hair loss problems, it’s essential that you follow the proper aftercare steps to ensure optimal results and to reduce the risk of complications. Below are some key guidelines that promote a successful, healthy recovery after treatment:
A PRP hair treatment process involves 3 steps, with each session usually done 4 to 6 weeks apart. By the end of the procedure, the patient can expect hair follicle rejuvenation – meaning PRP helps revive dormant hair follicles and prompts them to re-enter the growth phase.
PRP therapy begins with the doctor collecting a small blood sample from the patient’s arm. The blood is then processed in a centrifuge (a machine that separates fluids of different densities).
The platelet-rich plasma is isolated from the other layers – such as the platelet-poor plasma, red blood cells, and white blood cells – resulting in a highly concentrated solution of growth factors with healing capabilities. Examples of these growth factors include platelet-derived growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, and epidermal growth factor.
As the name suggests, a blood injection entails that a doctor injects the PRP solution directly into the patient’s scalp. By doing so, they are introducing the growth factors to the areas affected by hair loss and thus stimulating hair restoration. Each injection should be no more than 60 mL (2 ounces).
While PRP treatment is generally considered safe, patients may experience minor side effects such as discomfort at the injection site, swelling, redness, bruising, headaches, scalp tenderness, and allergic reactions. Keep in mind that the results of PRP therapy vary between patients. If you are unsatisfied with your results, we recommend attending maintenance treatments.
While PRP treatment is a safe, natural solution for hair loss – given that the treatment comes directly from your body and goes back into your body – its success also comes, in part, from selecting the ideal patients for the procedure. The following criteria describe the characteristics of the right patient for PRP therapy, specifically:
The natural hair growth cycle goes through 4 phases: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. However, various factors can negatively impact each stage, causing hair strands to weaken, thin out, and even fall off the scalp. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been losing hair strands at a faster rate, you may want to opt for PRP therapy, a safe treatment option that uses your own blood – not foreign substances – to promote hair restoration.
At Dr. V. Medical Aesthetics, we are dedicated to providing personalized, science-based hair loss treatments that serve as our patients’ first step toward a fuller and healthier head of hair. We also provide full aftercare guidance to maximize the results of each procedure. Book an appointment today.
Dr. V Medical Aesthetics is ready to help you achieve your beauty goals. Contact us today to learn more about any of our services, and exactly what our team can do for you.