(Alopecia, Male Pattern Baldness)
Thinning hair can be a distressing condition for some people. 70% of men, and 40% of women will experience hair thinning as they age or as a result of stress or disease. Thinning hair can have a number of causes and before commencing any treatment It is important to rule out any pathological determinant, such as a thyroid condition, hormone imbalance or skin condition. The most common form of hair thinning is androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, which involves the gradual miniaturisation of hair follicles across the top of the scalp. Usually thinning will begin at the forehead hairline and vertex with the affected areas increasing in size over time. Women can also be affected but will generally experience a more diffuse thinning across the top of the scalp.
There are few effective treatments for thinning hair that do not involve invasive and expensive procedures. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) however is a relatively affordable and minimally invasive treatment that is safe, relatively comfortable and has little to no downtime which means you can easily fit it in around work and other commitments.
PRP has been used for many years in sports medicine and orthopaedics. It is well know for its healing and restorative effect on tissue. PRP is manufactured from the patients own blood. A small blood sample is taken, in the same way as a regular blood test, which is then spun down in a centrifuge to separate the blood into it’s separate components. The thin layer of plasma that forms just above the heavy red blood cells is the PRP. This Platelet Rich Plasma is a collection of highly concentrated growth and healing factors. These can be used to regenerate and improve many different cells within the body, including skin cells and hair cells, when injected into the problem area.
Treatments are only mildly uncomfortable with virtually no down-time. A topical anaesthetic is applied to the area before the PRP is injected under the skin using a very fine needle. The number of tiny injections required depends on the size of the problem area. injections are delivered close together so that the entire area is infused with the PRP. Post treatment patients can expect slight tenderness in the area and possibly some pinprick bleeding. The area should be kept clean and dry until the following day when the hair should be washed and dried as normal. For best results an initial 3 treatments should be performed 4 weeks apart and then at 3, 6 and 12 months. To maintain results additional maintenance treatments should be performed every 6 to12 months.
PRP is a proven treatment to slow, halt and reverse the hair thinning process, however it is important to acknowledge that every patient is individual. Plasma quality will vary form person to person resulting in variable results. Best results are achieved on healthy individuals where the hair thinning process has only recently begun. Fine, fluffy or downy hair can be restored into thick strong hair but in areas where there is a complete absence of hair, treatments will not be effective. This is because PRP cannot revive hair follicles that are already dead - it can only restore, or make more active, weak and miniaturised hair follicles. There is no cure for androgenic alopecia but PRP can help to reduce the effects by thickening and strengthening what hair remains, and prolonging the retention of hair.