What is Hair Loss or Alopecia?

hair loss and grey hair, Male head with hair loss symptoms front side

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, it is defined as the partial or complete absence of hair in areas of the body where hair normally grows such as the scalp.

According to the American Hair Loss Association, alopecia can be classified into three main types according to the pattern of hair loss:

  • Alopecia areata: Hair loss in small patches on the scalp or other parts of the body.
  • Alopecia totalis: Hair loss across the entire scalp.
  • Alopecia universalis: Hair loss across the entire body.

Who Can Suffer from Alopecia?

According to the American Hair Loss Association, two thirds of men above the age of 35 show signs of hair loss. Although more prominent in men, hair loss is a condition that affects also women starting in in their 50s and 60s. There are various types of hair loss. The most common is androgenetic alopecia, also referred to as male or female pattern baldness.

What are the Causes of Hair Loss?

There are several causes of hair loss. Some causes of hair loss are transient such as stress, pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, intake of pills containing hormones (e.g. birth control pills), chemotherapy, among others. Other causes of alopecia, such as immune mediated diseases and genetics, can lead to long-term hair loss.

The most common type of hair loss in women is androgenic alopecia, which is caused by an increased in the blood levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of the male hormone testosterone. Women who suffer from androgenic alopecia experience diffuse thinning of the hair all over the scalp. On the other hand, men who suffer from androgenic alopecia have distinct patterns of baldness.

What are the Current Available Therapies for Hair Loss?

hair_loss_prp_therapyCurrently, the most used medical therapies for hair loss include topic solutions of Minoxidil and Triamicinolona, hormone therapies, and hair transplants.

Minoxidil is widely used to treat alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia. Its efficacy in the treatment of other types of alopecia is limited. With the continuous use of Minoxidil over the course of various months, hair can start to grow again. One of the drawbacks of this treatment is that hair tends to fall out again once the treatment has stopped, especially if the underlying cause of hair loss is not addressed properly. The most common side effects of Minoxidil include scalp itch and irritation, allergies, and growth of unwanted facial hair.

The correction of hormone imbalances is indicated in some cases of alopecia, such as androgenic alopecia in women.

Recently, the use of stem cells and Platelet Rich Plasma (PrP) has been proposed as a treatment option for alopecia. Autologous stem cells and PRP have the huge advantage of being derived from the same patient to whom they will be applied. This means that the body’s immune system will not reject the injected cells or PRP because they are recognized as “self”.

Platelet Rich Plasma therapy has established itself as an effective treatment option to treat hair loss. The procedure has been discussed on many patient forums like or and has a high patient review rating on

PRP is obtained from the patient’s blood and injected into the area of alopecia to promote hair growth.

The injected PRP is locally activated so that growth factors are being released. These stimulate the formation of new blood vessels nearby the hair root, so that the supply of nutrients through the blood is re-enabled. The growth factors also shorten the rest-period of the follicle, so the growth phase is extended.5

PRP for the treatment of hair loss is not a one-time procedure but rather a treatment regimen. It is designed by the physician, according patients need, consisting of typically 4– 6 procedures.

A study has found PRP Therapy to be more effective than Minoxidil, of the most prescribed topical drugs for hair loss6.

PRP is also often used during a hair transplant procedure. It is used to maintain the viability of the graft. Studies have also shown that PRP injected into the scalp during hair transplant procedure has beneficial results for the patients7.

Research studies have shown that treatment with PRP can lead to hair regrowth and can increase the thickness of hair in patients suffering from different types of hair loss1.

How Can PRP Therapy Help Reduce Hair Loss?

According to a study published in Scientific Reports in 20171, a type of cells found in the scalp called hair dermal papilla cells, DPCs for short, is the source of hair regeneration in alopecia patients. The research study found that PRP releases certain molecules, called endogenous growth factors, that significantly increase the proliferation of DPCs, which translates in enhanced hair growth.

What is the Evidence Behind PRP Therapy for Hair Loss?

A clinical trial performed at the University of Rome in 2015, evaluated the efficacy of PRP for hair regrowth in 20 male patients between the ages of 19 and 63 years.

The patients received 3 PRP injections 30 days apart. Two weeks after the last injection, an increase in the number of hair follicles and thickness of the scalp was observed. No side effects were observed during the treatment2.

According to the researchers, this clinical trial “clearly highlights the positive effects of PRP injections on male pattern hair loss and the absence of major side effects”2.

Researchers from Santosh Medical College in India obtained similar results on another clinical trial. Patients who received PRP injections on the affected area over a period of 3 months showed improvement in terms of hair counts, hair thickness, hair root strength, and overall degree of hair loss.3

According to Dr. Sukhbir Singh from Kamal Hospital in India, more long-term follow up studies are needed to determine the rate of recurrence in patients who have receive PRP for the treatment of hair loss4.

Is PRP therapy for Hair Loss Safe?

Published scientific data reveals that patients who have received scalp PRP injections for the treatment of alopecia did not present any side effects1,2,3,4.

Overall, the currently available scientific data supports the effectiveness and safety of PRP for the treatment of alopecia. PRP treatment is a promising, affordable, and safe alternative to effectively treat hair loss in men and women.

Ask your doctor if PRP Therapy for the treatment of hair loss is the right treatment option for you.

Author: Dr. Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz


1Xiao, S.E. et al. (2017). As a carrier–transporter for hair follicle reconstitution, platelet-rich plasma promotes proliferation and induction of mouse dermal papilla cells. Scientific Reports. 2Gentile, P. (2015). The Effect of Platelet-Rich Plasma in Hair Regrowth: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. 3Singhal, P. (2015). Efficacy of platelet-rich plasma in treatment of androgenic alopecia. Asian Journal of Transfusion Science. 4Singh, S. (2015). Role of platelet-rich plasma in chronic alopecia areata: Our centre experience. Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery. 5Gupta AK. A mechanistic model of Platelet Rich Plasma treatment for androgenetic alopecia. Dermatologic Surgery 2016. 6El Taieb MA. PRP versus minoxidil 5% in treatment of alopecia arreata. Atrichoscopic evaluation. Derm Th 2017 6. Uebel C. 7The role of platelet plasma growth factors in male pattern baldness surgery. Plastic reconstructive Surgery 2006



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