Growth factors in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) have been used to facilitate wound healing. Recently, studies have confirmed that PRP also serves as a safe and effective treatment option for male and female pattern hair loss,, but those studies lack scientific controls.
To address these limitations, researchers conducted a controlled clinical study that was recently published in the journal BioMed Research International. The researchers found that treatment with platelet-rich plasma stimulated hair growth in 10 males with pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).
Study: The Effect of Autologous Activated Platelet Rich Plasma Treatments on Pattern Hair Loss
In a bilateral controlled clinical study of 10 male patients with patterned hair loss, researchers treated half of a subject’s scalp with PRP and the other half with a placebo. Each patient received three PRP treatments at one-month intervals.
The researchers evaluated the benefit of PRP treatments by comparing the treated half of a scalp to its non-treated (control) half using three measures of hair growth: mean hair count, total hair density, and terminal (healthy) hair density.
Compared to the non-treated portion of the scalp, the researchers found an increase in hair density of 27.7 hairs/cm2 while in the non-treated portions the mean total hair density decreased by 2.0 hairs/cm2. They also found significant increases in terminal hairs compared to the control side.
A Possible Mechanism of PRP-Driven Hair Growth
Past research has suggested that the presence of keratinocytes in the outer root sheath and in the dermal papilla causes growth in new blood vessels (angiogenesis) during anagen, the growth phase of the hair follicle. Research suggests that these new blood vessels play an important role in hair growth.
This new study suggests that PRP may stimulate hair growth by causing an increase of keratinocytes in the epidermis and in the follicular bulge cells, along with an increase of small blood vessels around the hair follicles in the treated area.
- Schiavone G, Raskovic D, Greco J, Abeni D. Platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia: a pilot study. Dermatol Surg. 2014 Sep; 40(9):1010-9. [↩]
- A. Trink, E. Sorbellini, P. Bezzola et al., “A randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled, half-head study to evaluate the effects of platelet-rich plasma on alopecia areata,” British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 169, no. 3,pp. 690–694, 2013. [↩]
- V. Cervelli, S. Garcovich, A. Bielli, G. Cervelli, B. C. Curcio, M. G. Scioli, A. Orlandi, P. Gentile. “The effect of autologous activated platelet rich plasma (AA-PRP) injection on pattern hair loss: clinical and histomorphometric evaluation,” BioMed Research International Volume 2014. [↩]
- L. Mecklenburg, D. J. Tobin, S.M¨uller-R¨over et al., “Active hair growth (anagen) is associated with angiogenesis,” Journal of Investigative Dermatology, vol. 114, no. 5, pp. 909–916, 2000. [↩]