You’ve seen the ads in magazines. You’ve read the advice on popular wellness blogs. You’ve heard the infomercials hawking shampoos, conditioners, oils and other miraculous cures. There’s little you wouldn’t try if it meant holding onto your thinning strands. Unfortunately, many advertised treatments are ineffective for hair loss prevention or reversal, and with an overwhelming variety of options on the market, it’s difficult to know which can be trusted and which should be tossed out with last week’s leftovers.
Successful management of hair loss requires early intervention via a proven method such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. At Sapphire Advanced Aesthetics, our preferred hair restoration treatment is the Selphyl Platelet-rich Fibrin Matrix system, a state-of-the-art PRP therapy that uses platelet-rich plasma from the patient’s blood to revitalize the hair growth cycle. Not only is this a practical solution in the short-term, but it also creates lasting results by reversing the aging process on a cellular level with no need for invasive surgery.
Causes of Hair Loss
The scalp is meant to shed. A healthy scalp naturally loses anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day, and though that may sound like a significant number, the hair growth cycle is designed to maintain a full mane despite this daily loss. But as with many of the body’s processes, this mechanism declines with age. The scalp eventually struggles to preserve the balance between old hairs and new hairs, and the strands that do sprout are shorter, thinner and more delicate than their predecessors. These changes are a natural part of aging for both men and women.
Hair loss can also be triggered by lifestyle, environmental factors or medical issues. Other common causes include diet, stress, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, certain medications, sun damage, weight loss, pregnancy and poor hair care practices. If you notice a persistent increase in the amount of shed hair in your shower, comb or hairbrush, it may be time to consider a hair restoration treatment.
Introducing the Selphyl System
The Selphyl system is the next evolution in platelet-rich plasma injection treatments. Like traditional PRP therapies, Selphyl PRFM uses a small amount of the patient’s blood to prepare platelet-rich plasma which is then injected into the site of hair loss. Blood platelets contain a wealth of restorative agents, including growth factors, which promote cell regeneration and blood vessel formation in the scalp.
During your Selphyl PRFM treatment, a small amount of blood (10cc) will be drawn from your arm and placed in a centrifuge. The treated plasma contains a higher concentration of platelets than is usually found in blood, meaning it also includes a higher concentration of the growth factors and proteins that are essential for hair regeneration. The Selphyl system improves upon previous PRP treatments by adding your body’s stem cells into the mix to enhance the effects of the platelets. There are no animal or synthetic products involved at any point when using Selphyl PRFM, making it the closest to all-natural hair replenishment available today.
Once the formula is prepared, it is injected into the areas of the scalp being treated. On average, patients require three treatments scheduled six weeks apart to reap the full benefits of PRP hair treatment. Each procedure takes about 10 minutes, and there is no downtime afterward.
PRP and the Hair Growth Cycle
PRP therapy is a revolutionary breakthrough in hair restoration because of its ability to stimulate the hair growth cycle at critical stages. Hair growth goes through several distinct stages:
- Anagen: The growth phase, or anagen phase, lasts two to seven years and determines the length of your hair. Factors that influence the duration of the anagen phase include age, genetics, nutrition and overall health.
- Catagen: The transitional stage, or catagen phase, is the shortest step in the hair growth cycle. Clocking in at about ten days, it is the phase in which the hair stops growing and prepares to shed.
- Telogen: The resting phase, or telogen phase, lasts three to four months. During this time, old hair is released and falls out. The follicle then remains inactive for three months until the process is repeated.
Hair loss occurs when this growth cycle is disrupted. Fortunately, PRP treatment is also capable of altering the growth cycle – for the better. By prolonging the anagen growth phase and shortening the telogen resting phase, PRP therapy revitalizes the hair growth cycle and encourages the development of new growth in treated areas of the scalp.
The PRP Advantage
The number of treatments purporting to prevent hair loss or restore hair growth is mind-boggling, but unless they help the scalp receive the nutrients it needs to remain healthy, using them will provide limited benefits. Many patients and providers prefer PRP because it is a quick, affordable and effective procedure with no downtime and no widely reported side effects.
Hair transplantation can be an effective solution for some, but as surgical intervention, it is more costly, leaves scars and requires a more extended recovery period.
Medication is another alternative. There are two FDA-approved drugs available for treating hair loss (finasteride and minoxidil). Both are temporary fixes that must be taken consistently to have any effect. Any positive benefits gained by using these medications will reverse if you cease because they do not act directly on the hormonal process of hair loss. Both can also have serious side effects ranging from tachycardia to diminished sex drive or sexual function, to unwanted hair growth in other areas.
PRP is a safe, noninvasive procedure that addresses the underlying causes of hair loss. Blood vessels play a crucial role in the hair growth cycle. These vessels supply the scalp with essential oxygen and nutrients. With age, they weaken and blood flow decreases, and hair may thin as a result. PRP promotes cell regeneration and blood vessel formation to stimulate dormant follicles and restore lost strands. Because it addresses hair loss at the source and reverses the effects of aging on a deep, cellular level, the results of PRP hair restoration are permanent and look completely natural.