Platelet-rich plasma treatment or PRP is the new, semi-freaky way of stimulating hair growth also known as the "vampire facial." Whether you saw Kim Kardashian coated in her own blood on Instagram or watched Gwenyth Paltrow give the unconventional (to say the least) skincare method a try on her Netflix series The Goop Lab, by now you've probably heard of vampire facials, and maybe you've even tried one. But whether you have given it a shot or have been steering clear, if you're interested in increasing hair growth or in need of a hair loss solution, the vampire facial scalp-edition could be for you.
It's medical name is platelet-rich plasma treatment, or PRP, because of the platelets that are extracted from the patient's own blood and reinfused to initiate hair growth. Our blood can be broken down into two components: red blood cells and plasma. The plasma is made up of white blood cells and platelets which carry growth factors. Growth factors are the components of platelets that function like conductors for skin cells, signaling to them when to function and grow.
Platelets are actually used to address a variety of health concerns. Arthritis, decreased bone density, and signs of aging (hence the use as a facial) all can and be treated using PRP treatments. In the case of hair loss, PRP works because it delivers a renewed blood supply to inactive hair follicles, making proper nutrient absorption in deprived follicles possible. This stimulation supports stronger and healthier hair growth that can then help to fill in portions of thinning or receding hair.
The procedure begins with a drawing of blood from the patient's arm. The blood is then put into a machine called a centrifuge, which spins the blood tube at high velocity to separate the red blood cells from the platelet plasma. Once the plasma is fully extracted, it is then re-injected directly into the scalp. The injection process moves across the scalp, placing an injection at about every half inch or so, or targeted around the area(s) of thinning hair. The entire treatment takes only about half an hour or less.
Anyone experiencing hair loss is viable to receive the treatment, particularly those with premature loss or thinning. Androgenic and alopecia, a genetically diagnosed kind of hair thinning condition which usually impacts hair along the top of the scalp can be treated with PRP. In women, androgenic and alopecia are identifiable by a widening part of normal hair thickness at the back of the head.
Best results are achieved through regular treatments. A consistent regimen of PRP given once a month for three to four months, and then every three to six months thereafter is standard, but of course the exact schedule may vary depending on the individual patient's needs. Results while following this porotcall or one like it can be expected within the first two to three months. This is also taking into consideration added supplements or medication like spironolactone or finasteride to help promote hair growth, especially if you are post-menopausal. Over-the-counter pharmacy treatments, like minoxidil, Rogaine foam, or Evolis are also appropriate.
Despite what the intimidating procedure may suggest, there are actually very few risks associated with PRP hair therapy. You may want to skip your usual blow-dry and take a tylenol to your technician's office with you for residual soreness afterwards, but besides that, there's nothing scarier than the needles. So if you're a brave soul looking to solve a hair loss issue or thicken some thinner than normal areas of your hair, a vampire facial for your scalp could be just the thing to try