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Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a procedure used to treat several medical conditions and is often used in cosmetic procedures. It involves using plasma extracted from a patient’s blood to stimulate growth and healing at targeted locations on the body. When used within the hairline, PRP can promote the regeneration of hair follicles and thicken the hair shaft. This can help reverse the effects of hair loss.
What Does PRP Do?
A PRP treatment is used to rejuvenate the skin and other cellular structures around the injection points. When injected near follicle sites, it rejuvenates the follicle, allowing new and healthier hair to grow from the treated area. By using platelets and growth factors held within a plasma solution, a natural source of cellular regeneration can be deployed to reverse hair loss.
When used in combination with micro-needling treatments, PRP can be used to increase the skin’s health and elasticity. Some doctors combine the two treatments in the hairline as well to promote further regeneration.
How Does PRP Work?
PRP begins with a medical professional drawing blood from the patient (usually from the arm). This extraction is done using a standard medical needle. After the blood is drawn, it is placed in a centrifuge that spins the sample at high speed. This spinning motion causes the various components within the blood sample to separate.
The blood sample is separated into platelet-rich plasma, which contains platelets and other growth factors, and red blood cells. The red blood cells are usually discarded, though some practices will use them as part of a facial treatment. The plasma-rich platelets, on the other hand, are highly useful for regenerative therapies.
Platelets are small cell fragments found in the blood that aid in clotting and healing injuries. Growth factors are a series of proteins found within the blood that promote cell growth and the production of certain compounds such as collagen and elastin.
Collagen is a protein structure that connects cells and tissues and is one of the main compounds that strengthens your skin. Collagen growth can toughen existing skin and reduce the size and stiffness of existing scar tissue.
Elastin is another protein structure found in the skin that promotes elasticity and flexibility. This material allows your skin to regain its shape after it is pulled or otherwise moved out of position. It is vital in preventing tears and other minor injuries in the skin.
Both collagen and elastin gradually fade from the skin as we age, but PRP therapy can use concentrated growth factors to stimulate the new growth of these vital proteins. When used in hair rejuvenation treatments, the growth of these proteins can help new hair form and prevent existing hair from falling out.
What Are the Risks of PRP?
One of the best things about a PRP treatment is that all injected material is taken from your body. This means there is no risk of rejection as might occur with other types of treatments. Your immune system will recognize your cells and growth factors, and will not react to them as they begin regenerating the targeted areas.
While there is no risk of rejection, there are other minor risks associated with a PRP treatment. These may include:
- Injury to blood vessels may occur if the needles are targeted improperly
- Injury to nerve cells may occur if the needle inadvertently hits nerve cells
- Infection may occur if the injection sites are exposed to infectious particles
- While unlikely, scar tissue may grow around the injection sites
- Calcification may occur on rare occasions around the injection sites
Am I a Candidate for PRP?
A PRP treatment should not be performed on people taking blood thinners, smokers, or people with blood-borne diseases like HIV. If you are concerned about hair loss, PRP may be a treatment option for you.
Want to Learn More?
If you would like more information about other kinds of non-surgical procedures that can improve your skin and hairline, please visit our MedSpa website.