By Dr. Grace Chang, ND, LAc
Hair thinning and hair loss can be a frustrating journey, especially when you feel like you’ve tried every product on the market. There are many reasons why hair may become thin, including genetics, hormone imbalances, anemia, nutrient deficiencies, and stress.
If you’ve started to notice your hair thinning, the first step is to consult with your doctor. They will run some basic lab tests to determine if there are medical causes for the hair loss, which should be addressed to create a strong foundation for regrowth. Together, you can determine what hair restoration treatment plan would be best for you.
There are a number of hair regrowth treatments, all producing varied results, such as topical minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine), low-level light therapy, and hair transplantation surgery. As a Naturopathic Doctor, my preferred method is PRP scalp injection therapy, because it is minimally invasive, has no major side effects, and features your body’s innate ability to heal itself.
What is PRP and What is the Process?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is the fastest trending regenerative option for hair regrowth. The procedure is very straightforward and fairly quick. A regular blood draw is performed to collect your blood, which is processed in a centrifuge. The platelets are then removed from the blood sample and injected into your scalp while you relax comfortably.
Why platelets? Long known for wound healing, platelets produce growth factors. At high concentrations, growth factors stimulate the hair follicles, invigorating the follicular stem cells, promoting new hair growth.
Will It Hurt?
We provide the option to use a topical numbing cream, but many of our patients do great without it! You will feel little pricks and some pressure. The scalp injections usually take about 10-15 min. Your scalp may feel slightly uncomfortable and tight afterwards, which usually decreases within the day.
How Fast Will My Hair Grow Back?
We recommend 4 monthly treatments of PRP, followed by reassessment 2-3 months later. Typically hair growth can be seen by the 3rd treatment, as hair takes about 3 months to cycle and turnover. In the meantime, our patients note a reduced rate of hair loss, with stronger and thicker shafts of hair. The volume of hair regrowth will vary depending on the person and cause of the hair loss. You will be given at-home tools to continue promoting the process.
I’m interested! Where Can I Get This Done?
Natural Medicine of Seattle is pleased to offer PRP for hair loss. As Naturopathic Doctors, our philosophy is to address the whole person. Our goal is to not only treat the current symptoms, but also work with you to prevent future hair loss. We take a look at biomarkers such as inflammation, nutrient status, and stress hormones before you start receiving PRP injections. We are, after all, using your own blood; let’s make sure it’s at its best!
Dr. Grace Chang is a Naturopathic Doctor and acupuncturist. She practices functional primary care, integrating both Western and Eastern medicine to empower her patients.
Hausauer, Amelia K, and Derek H Jones. “Evaluating the Efficacy of Different Platelet-Rich Plasma Regimens for Management of Androgenetic Alopecia: A Single-Center, Blinded, Randomized Clinical Trial.” Dermatologic Surgery : Official Publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [Et Al.], U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30141776.
Stevens, J, and S Khetarpal. “Platelet-Rich Plasma for Androgenetic Alopecia: A Review of the Literature and Proposed Treatment Protocol.” International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, Elsevier, 21 Sept. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352647518300315.