PRP for Hair Restoration and Microneedling

Hair Restoration and Microneedling Using Platelet-Rich Plasma

Platelets are the workhorses of wound repair. They are the critical element used by the body to clot blood and begin the process of healing a wound. If platelets can perform these restorative functions with wounds, what if you used their restorative capabilities to restore thinning hair or to rejuvenate the skin?

You can do exactly that with two new procedures at Dr. Epstein’s: platelet-rich plasma for hair restoration and platelet-rich plasma added to microneedling for skin rejuvenation.

What is platelet-rich plasma?

Platelets contain various protein growth factors, and provide the critical healing element of the blood. You may have heard of the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) by professional athletes to speed the healing of joints, tendons, and muscle tissue. Platelet-rich plasma is generated by removing red and white blood cells from blood. What is left is plasma, the clear fluid that makes blood liquid, and the platelets. But now the platelet ratio is higher, four times higher, thanks to the removal of the red and white cells. Now you have platelet-rich plasma.

How is PRP done?

Dr. Epstein begins the process by taking a small amount of blood from the patient, similar to what is taken for normal lab work. We then place the blood in a closed, sterile centrifuge system that spins at a high rate and separates out the different components of the blood. We remove the red and white blood cells, and now we have PRP ready for reinjection.

Why does PRP rejuvenate hair growth and skin?

Platelets are healing miracle workers, so it makes sense that if you have four times the amount of platelets as in normal blood, PRP could work some magic. Platelets promote healing, accelerate tissue regeneration, and stimulate new cellular growth. They do this through various protein growth factors:

  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF) — Promotes blood vessel growth, cell replication, and collagen production.
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) — Promotes growth and generation of vascular endothelial cells.
  • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) — Promotes growth of new skin cells, would healing, and collagen production.
  • Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-b) — Promotes growth of skin cells and blood vessels necessary for wound healing.
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 (FGF-2) — Promotes growth of specialized cells and blood vessels.
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF) — This is the regulator of normal physiology in nearly every type of cell in the human body.

When PRP is injected back into target areas such as the scalp and the facial skin, the serum triggers a wound response, where healing platelets create a fibrin mesh. This initiates production of new collagen. Collagen is the protein in the body that is responsible for providing a basic support structure for the skin. It keeps the skin firm, yet supple, tenets of young skin.

How is PRP for hair restoration done?

Once we collect your blood and concentrate it down to platelet-rich plasma, we then numb the scalp with a steady stream of super chilled air. This minimizes the discomfort during the injections. Next, Dr. Epstein injects the PRP back into your scalp in dozens or small injections. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes and you’re good to go.

How does PRP help regrow hair?

Although the use of PRP for skin rejuvenation, hair restoration, and other treatments is currently being studied in large clinical studies, it’s thought that PRP stimulates the stem cells and other cells in the microenvironment of the hair follicles. The idea is to stimulate hair follicles that have become dormant or inactive, returning them to the active growth phase of the hair growth cycle. More follicles in the growth cycle mean more hair growth. It’s thought that the various growth factors in PRP provide the stimulus.

Would I be a candidate for PRP hair restoration?

Because PRP is generated using your own blood, there aren’t any risks of a reaction in your body. If you feel that your hair is thinning and not re-growing at the rate it once did, PRP for hair restoration could be a great option for you. If you’re bald, this isn’t a replacement for hair transplants or other more aggressive treatments, however. There’s still a lot to learn about PRP, but if you’re looking for thicker hair, it’s worth a try. After all, PRP is used extensively by professional athletes to help them mend after injury or surgery following injury. If it’s working on damaged joints, why not damaged or dormant hair follicles?

PRP combined with microneedling for facial skin rejuvenation

We also combine the healing properties of PRP with microneedling for the ultimate facial skin rejuvenation. Microneedling has long been used to improve fine lines, acne scars, and other facial skin problems, but combining it with PRP takes it to a whole new level.

What is microneedling?

Microneedling employs the Lutronic INFINI fractional radiofrequency microneedling system, which has 49 insulated, tiny needles. The handpiece is moved over the target area and the needles create hundreds of microscopic punctures/channels in the skin. We can vary the depth appropriate for your particular skin condition, but the microscopic channels penetrate the epidermis and dermis. The channels are microscopic and begin to heal immediately, but the body believes it has been wounded. Its response is to initiate new production of collagen and elastin in the treatment area. These proteins make the skin more firm, supple, and vibrant.

What sets this technology apart from other microneedling systems is that this is a full sized, high powered system, not a hand-held pen. Once the needles are inside the dermis of the skin, a burst of radiofrequency electrical energy is discharged. You will not feel that. This energy quickly heats the dermis and stimulates it to contract, thus actually tightening the skin!

What skin issues can microneedling address?

Microneedling can be used anywhere on the body, but the face, neck, and chest are typical target areas. These are the conditions we address with microneedling:

  • Fine lines
  • Large pores
  • Acne scars
  • Stretch marks
  • Uneven texture
  • Hyperpigmentation

Adding PRP for skin rejuvenation

After we perform the microneedling procedure, the newly created microscopic holes in the skin will now stay open for about four hours. We now instantly apply the platelet-rich plasma across all of your treatment areas. Thanks to the thousands of microscopic channels produced by your microneedling, the PRP is able to penetrate into and through the epidermis into the dermis, delivering its growth factors directly where they can do the most good. As the skin rebuilds itself from the microneedling, the PRP acts as a stimulus for even more new skin generation and collagen production. We see amazing results with this non-invasive combination procedure.

Is there recovery time with microneedling with PRP?

Immediately following your microneedling with PRP sessions your skin will look red and flushed. That’s why this procedure is best done after work. The redness subsides in the next day or two, depending on the depth of the microneedle setting and the number of passes made. You may have some mild swelling and your face may feel tight across the treatment areas for one or two days. Other than that, there isn’t any real recovery and you can go back to your normal activities. You can even apply make up the very next morning!

When will my skin show improvements?

Results from our microneedling with PRP treatments show themselves in three to four weeks as new collagen is added to the treatment areas. These results continue to build for the next few months. We find that most patients achieve the results they seek with three microneedling with PRP treatments, spaced 1 month apart. Our usual recommendation is three treatments spaced one month apart, then maintenance treatments once or twice yearly or as desired.

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