Over the last 5 or so years, PRP injections for hair loss have become the go-to non-surgical treatment for restoring hair in patients who are experiencing hair loss. But the science to prove this treatment is actually creating change have only come out in the last 1-2 years. What has been most interesting is that around this same time, several other studies showing how you can significantly boost the efficacy of PRP for hair loss treatments have also come out. As a practice, we are deeply committed to providing the most effective treatments, as proven through scientific research, and so while we do offer PRP injections, we also encourage patients to learn about and consider some of these supplemental therapies – in the research, they’ve been shown to be as much as 3x more effective!
What we’ve learned
During the past couple of years, science has come out supporting:
- New additives, namely something called ExtraCellular Matrices (ECM), can be used to enhance the result of platelet-rich plasma – making 1 treatment with PRP with ECM as effective as 3 treatments with PRP
- The use of Stem Cells from your own fat, called Nanofat (sometimes branded as ALMI), in addition to PRP or on its own, has been shown to create very impressive results for those with significant hair loss
- Microneedling offers a more comfortable way to accurately and evenly spread PRP, ECM, and/or Nanofat across the scalp’s surface, and to “punch” these products into varying levels of the scalp, for better application, and thus results
- Low-level lasers can work to speed up the healing and regeneration of hair follicles after treatment with PRP, and can even be used by patients in the comfort of their own homes
- Nutritional supplements have finally reached the levels of efficacy that they’ve been claiming to have for so many years – and provide real results for the right patients
- Prescriptions that patients hated to use for fear of bad side effects and inconvenient applications have been reformulated to make them easier and more attractive, and science has shown that the side effect rate is incredibly low now.
Most importantly, we’ve learned how to put these things together to treat a multidimensional treatment for this troubling problem.
What causes thinning hair or hair loss?
Genetics (inherited from your family) and hormonal imbalances are the most common causes of hair loss and thinning. Patients that have a very strong family history may find that they start losing hair very early in age. For others it may be caused by medications, general anesthesia, stress, traction on the hair (pulling on the hair, often caused by certain hairstyles, such as extensions, weaves, and ponytails), and many other causes. And with as many causes as there are, there also are many different types of treatment combinations. The most important thing in getting a good result is to identify the causes of the hair loss and then use that information to formulate the best treatment plan for the patient.
How do you choose a treatment method?
We need to tailor our therapies specific to the cause of hair loss and to the extent of hair loss. So, there really are many different complementary therapies that we can use, again, in combination to achieve our goals, but a plan that one patient desires may not be desired by another. We often see patients that are okay taking nutritional supplements and using topical things on their scalp and another patient that’s okay using a prescription oral medicine but doesn’t want to put anything on their scalp. That’s why we really like to have an extended conversation with patients, to talk and decide what’s going to work for each individual and their unique concerns.
Nutritional Supplements for Hair Loss
There are many different nutritional supplements that can be used to complement the results from platelet-rich plasma therapy. There’s Nutrafol, Viviscal Pro, Biotin, and multivitamins – even Whey Protein has been shown to be effective for certain patients! In order to understand what supplement will be the most helpful, you really have to look at the cause of the individual’s hair loss and look at what else that is present in their medical history that could be playing a role in hair loss. Supplements work to provide nutrients in abundant enough supply to be used as building blocks of new hair growth. For some people, this is a dietary issue – meaning they simply aren’t eating enough of the right nutrtients, and it is much easier to be certain that they get those nutrients in a consistent manner by taking a supplement daily. For other patients, they may have issues with the way their bodies use certain nutrients, and providing them in a more bio-available way (i.e. a concentrated form that can be used by the body right away) is most helpful. It’s important to note that supplements alone typically don’t reverse hair loss. They are the building blocks of hair growth, but if that hair growth has been caused by hormones, genetics, or damage to the hair follicle, you’ll need to correct those issues before the body will start to grow hair, regardless of whether it has the correct building blocks to do so, or not. Very rarely, the individual simply lacks these nutrients to grow healthy hair. This is not typically the case in America, however.
LED’s & Lasers for Hair Loss
Many patients come to us asking “what’s the story with these LEDs or these lasers?”. Lasers were actually FDA cleared to treat hair loss many years ago. Unfortunately, the first devices were not all that effective, so patients got tired of doing the procedure without seeing results. Today these treatments have become better, but we use them as an additional treatment to complement the results of something that’s more powerful, namely platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. One of the most popular lasers today is called the laser hair cap, which is much more powerful than the initial devices. The best part about this device is that it can be used conveniently at home, so patients don’t have to come to the office to use this. At-home lasers are an investment, typically costing around $2,000 to 4,000. But when you consider the lifetime of use from this device, and the convenience, it starts to make financial sense for many patients.
Hair Loss Treatment Prices
Most of us have some degree of budgetary constraints. Because of this, patients need to know what the cost is for not only the initial therapy but the cost of maintenance. We want to make sure that this is something that a patient can deal with in their life. We also want patients to understand that this really is a chronic condition, and we can make tremendous impacts on the outcome, but it’s something that they’re going to have to maintain over time. For example, even hair transplant patients are recommended to continue to maintain those results with regular PRP injections and often with medications and supplements, too. For most of our patients, maintenance means occasional injections with PRP, ECM, and/or Nanofat – maybe once or twice a year – and monthly maintenance with medications, lasers, supplements, etc.
The Next Generation of Hair Loss Treatments
If you google hair loss treatments, you’ll find pages and pages that show physicians and other practitioners doing PRP treatments. With this, there are two things to keep in mind:
- PRP is just one piece of the puzzle: There are many things we recommend you do in conjunction with the platelet-rich plasma treatments to enhance those results and make the treatments more comfortable and convenient for the patient.
- Not all PRP is not created equal: We use a very specific protocol to create high-quality PRP, which is 3 to 8x more concentrated than some of the other protocols being used. Of course this protocol uses more expensive technologies to achieve this higher concentration of PRP, and many practitioners simply aren’t willing to invest in it. If you find a price for PRP that sounds too good to be true, this is often why.
Who Can Receive Hair Loss Treatments?
Hair loss treatments are for a variety of patients; from teens to patients in their 70s and 80s, they’re for female and males of every demographic and every socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, hair loss attacks most of us, probably between 50% and 70% of the population, by the time we reach 70 years of age. Sometimes patients feel like they have to be a certain age before they come in. They’ll say, “Well, I don’t need to do hair loss treatments until I’m 40 or 50 until it’s really bad” and that really is not the case. The earlier we treat, the easier it is to get results. This typically means fewer types of treatments, less cost, and less maintenance to keep those results and prevent future hair-loss If you are interested in learning more about the different hair loss treatments available at Reflections Center, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with myself, Dr. Chasin, or one of our other experienced cosmetic physicians at our Martinsville or Livingston locations.