Everyone would like to have thicker hair. Well, almost everyone — but our focus today is not on those rare unicorns whose complaint is that their hair is just too thick, too luxurious and too lustrous. This article is for the rest of us who would like to have more or thicker hair or at least stop losing what we have.
A number of treatment options have been the staple considerations for normal male and female pattern hair loss for years. For men, finasteride, minoxidil and hair transplantation have long been the most effective interventions. Womens treatment options used to be even more limited, with minoxidil alone being the main option for female pattern hair loss. However, a growing body of research supports that hormone replacement and/or platelet rich plasma injections could be the miracle grow for failing follicles!
First, a note about hormone replacement therapy: A physician named Dr. Glaser published an article in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2012 which made an observation that has unfortunately gained little attention likely because it runs counter to how people usually think about hair loss and testosterone. Dr. Glaser surveyed 285 women who had been on subcutaneous testosterone therapy for more than a year for the treatment of androgen deficiency and 63% of the women who had reported hair thinning prior to treatment reported hair thickening after treatment began. This finding has received little attention, but a 63% response rate deserves further investigation.
Several patients in my own clinic who complained of thinning hair, went on androgen replacement prescribed by their endocrinologist or ob-gyn for other reasons. These patients hair became markedly thicker and more voluminous on testosterone. Although Premier Dermatology does not offer hormone replacement therapy (HRT), androgen levels are one of the laboratory tests that we order as part of our screening panel for causes of hair loss. If we have a female hair loss patient with low androgen levels (either low or low normal), we offer referral to a physician who performs HRT for discussion of risks and benefits of a trial of androgen replacement therapy for hair loss. Results that we have seen have paralleled the 63% response rate that Dr. Glaser published.
Second and just as exciting, Platelet Rich Plasma, also known as PRP, is an option that is fast becoming an important treatment strategy for treating hair loss in both men and women, be it for common hair thinning or for certain alopecia syndromes. PRP is a blood product derived from a patients own blood. The process involves the following: A fraction of blood (up to 22ml in our practice) is drawn from the individual patient into a syringe (depends on the extent of hair loss). This is a relatively small amount compared to blood donation. The blood then is spun in a centrifuge to separate its components (White & Red Blood Cells, Platelet Rich Plasma and Platelet Poor Plasma). The Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is collected into a syringe. The PRP is then injected into a treatment area (the scalp for hair loss).
The basis behind PRP is that growth factors and other proteins within platelets promote healing and induce tissue regeneration and rejuvenation. Platelets contain growth factors and biologically active molecules that are normally released when platelets are outside of blood vessels such as when a person gets a cut and starts to bleed into surrounding tissue. Injecting PRP into the subdermal fat induces platelet degranulation (release of platelet contents) which causes tissue exposure to platelet growth factors. In plain terms, PRP delivers growth factors to stimulate hair follicles.
To achieve best results, PRP is performed in a series of treatments. Typically, two to three treatments are performed once per month initially. It is often recommended that treatments take place every 6 months after the initial series of treatments to continue hair regeneration and maintain or enhance results.
PRP has numerous other applications in dermatology the most common of which is as an adjunct to microneedling for skin rejuvenation or treatment of acne scars. However, PRPs greatest potential may be as a treatment to help grow or maintain hair.
At Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta, we are committed to offering scientifically-backed, effective and state of the art treatments. Kathryn Filipek, PA-C has extensive cosmetic, surgical and medical dermatology experience and is responsible for the hair loss branch of our practice. If you are interested in exploring PRP and hair loss options, call today to make an appointment with Ms. Filipek. It is our privilege to take care of you and your familys skin, vein, and hair care needs.https://premierdermatologyatlanta.com/