Going bald may seem to be a fact of life for many men and women as they age, but there are new treatments that could make a difference.
While there have been some longtime recommended treatments for hereditary hair loss like Rogaine and Propecia, there haven’t been any major breakthroughs in recent years.
Now more dermatologists are offering a new type of procedure that uses a person’s own blood.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is used to accelerate healing in a wide range of applications, from dentistry to orthopedics.
A well-known use is in “vampire facials,” but it’s also the next big thing in treating hair loss.
Research on the therapy remains in the early stages, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved it yet for hair loss. But many dermatologists say they think the treatment can be beneficial.
PRP therapy involves drawing a person’s own blood and putting it into a centrifuge that separates red blood cells from the plasma. The plasma, which contains growth factors, is then injected back into the person.
When PRP therapy is used for hair loss treatment, the plasma is injected into the person’s hair follicles. It involves only minimal discomfort and can take about 10 minutes.
After the first treatment, people have injections monthly for three months, then once every three to six months. Within a few months of treatment, they can notice less hair loss. Soon after, they may experience an increase in thickness or regrowth.
Insurance doesn’t cover the procedure, which can cost around $1,000 per treatment, according to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist based in New York City.
PRP therapy is cleared by the FDA for use in orthopedics, but it’s considered off-label for skin and hair procedures, says Dr. Amelia K. Hausauer, a California-based dermatologist who’s published research on PRP therapy for hair loss.
The devices that separate cells from plasma are FDA-approved, notes Dr. Neil Sadick,a dermatologist from New York City.