Platelet-Rich Plasma
A natural alternative for hair growth
by Dr. Nikki Hill, MD | Skin of Culture and Hair Center (SOCAH Center)

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a natural procedure that utilizes your own natural stem cells to regenerate your cells. The best way to explain PRP is to think back to the last time you had a paper cut or an open wound.  Over time, that tissue regenerated itself. The connective tissue below the skin and the top layers of the skin regrew and the skin was once again intact. That process required special cells called autologous stem cells to be recruited from the blood and turned into specialized cells that make collagen, skin, blood vessels, and whatever else is needed.  PRP is composed of your own concentrated stem cells that are reintroduced where there is a deficit of fat, hair dermal papilla cells, or collagen.

How is PRP made?
At the SOCAH Center, we have a licensed phlebotomist collect your blood through a simple blood draw (similar to lab blood draws). Afterward, we spin down your blood to separate out your stem cells and growth factors. The concentrated PRP should be an amber yellow color consistent of plasma, growth factors, interleukins, chemokines, and autologous stem cells/platelets.

How does PRP work for hair loss?
PRP can stimulate regeneration of depleted cells. In the beard, scalp, and eyebrow/facial hair areas, PRP works by replenishing the dermal papilla cells and the matrix cells which are located in the engineering center of the hair follicle.  Think of this center as the root of a tree.  The smaller the root the thinner the trunk of the tree.  Similar to a hair follicle.  The smaller the root (matrix/dermal papilla cells) the finer the hair.  This occurs in female pattern and male pattern hair thinning, nutrition, thyroid, hormonal changes, anemia, and other medical conditions.  The PRP is restoring and replenishing the dermal papilla/matrix stores to allow a thicker, wider root to produce a thicker hair.

Where else can PRP be placed?
PRP can restore lost volume and regenerate collagen. It is also a great natural alternative to using facial fillers to restore volume in areas such as under-eye dark circles, sunken in appearance under the eyes, loss volume of the cheeks (leading to deep folds in the skin around the nose and mouth- commonly called parenthesis), prominent veins and wrinkled skin on back of hands, acne scars. In essence, it doubles as an anti-aging treatment.

How is PRP introduced into the area?
During the process of creating and concentrating your PRP, we will anesthetize your scalp by first applying a topical numbing cream followed by injecting a numbing solution (lidocaine) to make the procedure comfortable. The PRP is drawn into a syringe and introduced by a small needle into the scalp, face, or treated site.

How long does it take PRP to work?
PRP requires your own body to recreate depleted cells. With the right environment of health and activity of your stem cells, it may take a few sessions and 3-6 months to see changes while your body regenerates itself.  However, in contrary to using artificial treatments, your body’s own cells will break down over time with hair requiring boosters in 1-1.5 years and facial and restoration requiring boosters in 2-5 years.  

Are there any risks for PRP?

How does Red Light/ Low-Level Laser Therapy work with PRP?
Research has shown LLLT can stimulate hair follicles to grow compared to placebo (no treatment). LLLT or red light therapy is a great adjunctive treatment to PRP. These light sources come in hood systems, panel systems, and caps and are easily incorporated as additional revenue streams in your salon. I explain the combination such that PRP is aerating the site and planting the seeds and the LLLT is the sun.  Together you have stimulation and a regenerating source working to have a better outcome than either treatment alone.