What is PRP therapy?

PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy for hair loss is a three-step medical treatment in which a person's blood is drawn, processed, and then injected into the scalp.

Some in the medical community think that PRP injections trigger natural hair growth and maintain it by increasing blood supply to the hair follicle and increasing the thickness of the hair shaft. Sometimes this approach is combined with other hair loss procedures or medications.

There hasn't been enough research to prove if PRP is an effective hair loss treatment. However, PRP therapy has been in use since the 1980s. It's been used for problems such as healing injured tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

PRP therapy process

PRP therapy is a three-step process. Most PRP therapy requires three treatments 4-6 weeks apart.

Maintenance treatments are required every 4-6 months.

Step 1

Your blood is drawn - typically from your arm - and put into a centrifuge (a machine that spins rapidly to separate fluids of different densities).

Step 2

After about 10 minutes in the centrifuge, your blood will have separated into in three layers:

 »  platelet-poor plasma

 »  platelet-rich plasma

 »  red blood cells

Step 3

The platelet-rich plasma is drawn up into a syringe and then injected into areas of the scalp that need increased hair growth.

There hasn't been enough research to prove whether PRP is effective. It's also unclear for whom - and under what circumstances - it's most effective.

According to a recent studyTrusted Source, "Although PRP has sufficient theoretical scientific basis to support its use in hair restoration, hair restoration using PRP is still at its infancy. Clinical evidence is still weak."

PRP for hair loss side effects

Because PRP therapy involves injecting your own blood into your scalp, you aren't at risk for getting a communicable disease.

Still, any therapy that involves injections always carries a risk of side effects such as:

 »  injury to blood vessels or nerves

 »  infection

 »  calcification at the injection points

 »  scar tissue

There's also the chance that you could have a negative reaction to the anesthetic used in the therapy. If you decide to pursue PRP therapy for hair loss, let your doctor know in advance about your tolerance to anesthetics.

Risks of PRP for hair loss

Be sure to report all medications you're on before the procedure including supplements and herbs.

When you go for your initial consultation, many providers will recommend against PRP for hair loss if you:

 »  are on blood thinners

 »  are a heavy smoker

 »  have a history of alcohol or drug misuse

You might also be rejected for treatment if you've been diagnosed with:

 »  acute or chronic infections

 »  cancer

 »  chronic liver disease

 »  chronic skin disease

 »  hemodynamic instability

 »  hypofibrinogenemia

 »  metabolic disorder

 »  platelet dysfunction syndromes

 »  systemic disorder

 »  sepsis

 »  low platelet count

 »  thyroid disease

How much does PRP for hair loss cost?

PRP therapy typically consists of three treatments in a 4-6 week period, with maintenance treatments every 4-6 months.

The price typically ranges from $1,500-$3,500 for the initial three treatments, with one injection at $400 or more. Pricing depends on a number of factors including:

 »  your geographic location

 »  quality of equipment

 »  the addition of nutritive components

Many insurance plans consider PRP for hair loss treatment to be cosmetic and don't cover any of the costs of the treatment. Check with your insurance provider to see if PRP therapy is covered for you.


If you're concerned about hair loss, you have a number of options including medication like Rogaine and Propecia, along with hair transplant surgery. Another consideration is PRP therapy.

Although there's limited clinical proof that PRP for hair loss works, there are many who believe that PRP is a safe and effective way of reversing hair loss and stimulating new hair growth.

Talk to your doctor to see which treatment or combination of treatments is the best choice for you.


What to expect during PRP treatment for hair loss

Here's what happens during a treatment, step by step.

1. Before devising a treatment plan, your doctor will ask what precipitated your hair loss, do a scalp assessment, and possibly order blood work to check for potential vitamin deficiencies and thyroid issues.

2. Your provider will set expectations for PRP hair loss treatment and review all risks and side effects of PRP scalp injections. They'll also tell you about any post-procedure restrictions (when it's safe to resume exercise, hair washing, etc.).

3. Your doctor or a physician's assistant will do a blood draw, usually from a vein on the inside of your elbow.

4. You'll wait for about 10 minutes while it's run through a centrifuge to separate red blood cells from the plasma and concentrate the platelets.

5. Then your doctor may numb the treatment area. "Anesthesia is optional, but most patients prefer it," explains Dr. Ken Anderson, a hair restoration surgeon in Alpharetta, Georgia. "Anesthesia [can be] achieved with a chiller device that blows out extremely cold air to briefly numb the area of injection. Needle anesthesia is also used." Topical numbing creams tend to be messy and less effective. Some doctors rely on talkesthesia or vibration and make fast work of injections to minimize discomfort.

6. After rubbing an alcohol swab over your scalp, they'll make a series of quick PRP hair injections in each area of hair loss.

While the injections themselves take only a few minutes, the entire process can run up to an hour. You should be fine going back to your normal activities right afterward.

If PRP treatment for hair loss or shedding works for you, results should be apparent within four months.

RealSelf Tip: PRP can also be paired with microneedling, a nonsurgical treatment that penetrates your skin's surface with small needles to induce the body's wound healing response that produces new collagen. Evidence shows this combination can be effective in the management of androgenetic and androgenic alopecia (aka female pattern baldness).

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Hair Loss-Including How to Treat It

What are the pros and cons of PRP for hair loss?


 »  PRP therapy for hair loss is nonsurgical, with no downtime or significant safety risks. The entire procedure takes less than an hour.

 »  A 2019 review of studies on platelet-rich plasma for hair loss finds that both men and women have positive results in terms of increased hair density or thickness and regrowth.

 »  While the primary objective of the PRP is to slow down or halt the progression of hair loss, some patients experience slight hair regrowth.

 »  This nonsurgical treatment costs significantly less than hair transplant surgery.

 »  RealSelf members who say it's "Worth It" found the procedure to be virtually painless and saw significant improvements in hair density and fullness.


 »  This treatment is not guaranteed to grow new hair.

 »  Whether getting injections for alopecia or other kinds of hair loss, you'll need an initial series of up to six treatments, spaced four to six weeks apart.

 »  Results of PRP therapy for hair are temporary, so you'll also need maintenance treatments every few months after your initial series.

 »  How much improvement you see with PRP will depend on factors like your individual platelet count, along with the amount of your hair loss and how recently it started. The sooner PRP can be administered after the discovery of hair loss, the better the odds of slowing shedding and seeing hair regrow.

 »  People with large areas of baldness and long-standing baldness likely won't get good results in terms of hair regrowth, but the treatment can still be useful in patients like this, to prevent future loss.

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