PRP stands for platelet rich plasma, with the first “P” being key to this innovative treatment. Platelets circulate in the bloodstream and are abundant: normally up to 450,000 per milliliters of blood. They bind together to stop bleeding at sites of injury and release a variety of growth factors and signaling molecules necessary for healing. Platelet rich plasma is a therapy that collects a high concentration of these cells and uses their molecular contents to repair and rejuvenate skin and hair. Dr. Hausauer speaks nationally on the topic and often explains, “PRP represents an intersection between regenerative and aesthetic medicine. The body is phenomenally intricate and resilient; so let’s harness its ability to heal itself. Let’s use it in a way to make skin luminous and hair lustrous.”
What is PRP? How is it performed?
Obtaining and preparing PRP is similar to having routine labs checked. Simply put, Dr. Hausauer and her team draw a vial of blood and spin it in a centrifuge, a device that rapidly rotates like a carousel. This circular motion separates the different blood cell types by weight with light platelets at the top and allows for removal of a highly concentrated solution of platelets in plasma, the liquid portion of the blood. Hence, the name PRP—platelet rich plasma.
When injected into the skin, these platelets discharge their signaling molecules, which can promote new collagen production, augment wound healing after microneedling and other procedures, or work on hair follicles to restore normal growth.
How does it work? What is the science?
Over centuries, the body has developed a finite number of ways for cells to communicate. These systems are used again and again such that signaling molecules in the blood are also active in collagen and elastic fiber synthesis pathways as well as hair growth cycles. They promote cell proliferation, differentiation, and migration. Some critical growth factors in PRP include:
- Platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) – promotes cell replication, collagen production and metabolism, blood vessel formation
- Transforming Growth-Factor-alpha (TGF-a) – promotes keratinocyte (the surface skin cell) proliferation and migration
- Transforming Growth-Factor-beta (TGF-b) — promotes collagen metabolism, production of the matrix between cells, blood vessel formation; alters immune cell function
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) — promotes blood vessel formation and permeability
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) — promotes keratinocyte proliferation and migration, collagen formation, blood vessel formation
What skin conditions does PRP treat? Is it effective?
As our understanding of molecular biology and regenerative technologies advances, so does the interest in and applications of PRP. First gaining notoriety in the field of orthopedics to heal athletic and other joint injuries, albeit with mixed results, PRP has found a home in dermatology because of its ability to stimulate fibroblast (the cells responsible for making critical components of the deeper skin layers) proliferation and alter collagen, elastic fiber, and hyaluronic acid production. Studies suggest PRP can help with wound healing, scarring, stretch marks, and overall skin rejuvenation, fine lines, wrinkles and folds. Combining PRP with therapies that injure the skin such as surgery, lasers, and microneedling can minimize downtime and promote better healing. Of late, Dr. Hausauer has also noted great promise in treating dark circles around the eyes, an indication she is actively studying.
How does PRP treat hair loss? Is it effective?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 80 million men and women in the United States have some degree of heredity hair loss or balding, medically known as androgenetic alopecia. That’s equivalent to an estimated 50% of men and 21 million women in the United States alone. Considering these numbers and the fact that there are few FDA approved treatments for androgenetic alopecia, finding cutting-edge therapies is essential.
PRP is one such therapy.
Mounting scientific evidence suggests that the same signaling molecules found in PRP control hair growth cycles, so scalp injections of the concentrated solution may be helpful in treating male and female pattern hair loss. Dr. Hausauer directed one of the most recent studies generating scientific buzz and has quickly become known as an innovator in this field.
Is it safe to have before or after a hair transplant?
In short, yes. Studies show that bathing transplanted hairs in PRP increases graft survival and injecting the scalp makes it more hospitable with better circulation and nutrient delivery to the new follicles. Of course, talk to your transplant surgeon prior to pursuing PRP at Aesthetx.
When will I see results? How do I know if it is working?
Anyone who’s ever sustained an injury knows that healing takes time, and rejuvenating skin with PRP, either by injection or combined with microneedling, is no exception. Treatments offer gradual results, and you should notice incremental improvements over the course of several treatment sessions.
In the skin, some effects become evident within weeks but others may take 3 months or more. For hair, the process is even slower and requires patience. Remember hair growth is a slow and steady process, about 0.5 inches per months. So, in order to change growth patterns, the PRP has first to stimulate existing follicles then these hairs have to grow enough to pierce the scalp surface and become noticeable to the human eye. This process usually takes six to 12 months, but at Aesthetx, Dr. Hausauer is one of the few physicians to use a sophisticated, magnified camera that can detect changes in hair count and thickness before they become clinically visible. These metrics allow us to adjust and monitor progress more precisely.
Who gets the best results?
Not all hair loss is created equal. Those who have recently noticed hair thinning and have a strong family history respond more quickly and impressively to PRP. However, even more severe or longstanding hair loss can benefit.
In studies, PRP has been less effective at treating alopecia areata, an autoimmune form of balding, or hair loss with scarring. That being said, Dr. Hausauer studied under one of the few internationally acclaimed hair specialists and starts all consultations with a thorough examination to insure you are a good candidate for this or any other therapy.
Is it painful?
Despite requiring multiple injections with acupuncture-sized needles, the treatment is usually relatively painless. We have the option of applying topical numbing cream prior to the procedure. However, after one or two sessions, most forgo this step because of Dr. Hausauer’s unique injection technique, with which patients typically report average discomfort of 2 on a 10-point scale.
Are there side effects?
Since the injections are made up of components taken directly from your own blood, the risk of allergic reaction is very low. We add no medications or synthetic agents to the solution, so it is ideal if you want a more natural approach to skin and hair revitalization. Facial injections can also cause mild swelling that resolves within 24-48 hours.
What should I expect after treatment?
Downtime is minimal with easy post-procedure care instructions. Most people go back to work or play immediately after the appointment. Sometimes the area feels tingly, tight, boggy, or itchy. What we like to call active, since these sensations represent platelets discharging their vital molecules and growth factors. A warm shower can help calm the skin and get the PRP to diffuse more evenly to a wider region than that treated. Avoid exposing the treatment areas to sunlight without protection.
Why chose a board-certified dermatologist for my PRP? Why Dr. Hausauer?
As innovators, Drs. Berkowitz and Zeidler began incorporating PRP into their state-of-the-art surgical procedures long before it became a hot topic in the aesthetic medical literature. Dr. Hausauer now expands these practices into the realm of skin care and minimally invasive soft tissue and scalp regeneration. Serving as the principle investigator of a recent clinical trial to optimize patient outcomes with PRP for hair loss, she has become an authority in the field and performed hundreds of treatments with high satisfaction. Dr. Hausauer speaks nationally on the topic, leads hands-on training workshops, and looks forward to designing a long-term management plan tailored to your specific concerns and needs.
Aesthetx is renowned for extremely informative and in-depth consultations. To schedule a consultation for PRP or hair loss and minimally invasive hair restoration or to learn more about the procedure, contact Aesthetx by visiting HERE or calling (408) 559-7177.