Category Archives: Grey Hair

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Hair Darkening

At the beginning of this year I wrote a very lengthy post concerning the cure for grey hair. In that post, I mentioned Dr. Carlos Wesley’s recent surprising forum thread on how platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can return hair to its original darker color.

I found this very surprising, since PRP is not known to grow back hair that has been gone for many years. So how could it make grey or white hair darker years after pigment loss?

If PRP cannot bring back long destroyed hair follicle stem cells, how can it somehow bring back long destroyed melanocyte cells? I was initially skeptical about Dr. Wesley’s claim that many other clinics around the world have also reported this phenomenon. However, I then contacted a few of the most renowned physicians who offer PRP to treat hair loss, and I got some surprisingly positive feedback.

Word of warning from Dr. Robin Unger:

I have seen many people with gray hair that turned dark with PRP. The effect is not permanent, but striking. I was neither looking for it, nor anticipating it. One patient was known for his beautiful white hair and was not happy.

PRP and Hair Darkening

Please note that the below images are best case scenarios. In all likelihood, very few people do have a chance of reversing their grey hair with PRP. Nevertheless, I now do believe that PRP is giving select patients stellar results, both in terms of hair regrowth and improved hair pigmentation.

Perhaps even in the best case scenarios, hair color only comes back if it has been lost in the recent 5 year or so period. I am not sure about those details. Per several responses, this darkened hair becomes lighter again after a few months unless the patient keeps getting PRP injections several times a year.

No matter what your opinion about platelet-rich plasma, it is worth keeping a track of this sector of the hair loss world. Especially when it comes to new studies on the subject. Do make sure to read my comprehensive post on PRP and hair loss.

Dr. Joseph Greco

The first person I approached was the Florida based PRP guru Dr. Joseph Greco. We have e-mailed each other close to ten times over the past three years. From what I can tell, he is the most experienced PRP practitioner in the world when it comes to treatment for hair loss. His own version of PRP is known as cytokine rich plasma (CRP). See this article from his site on the difference between the PRP and CRP.

Dr. Greco agreed that PRP sometimes does bring back pigment to hair. I have pasted the contents of his e-mail below. Underneath that are a couple of great before and after photos that he sent me of one of his patients who got darker hair from PRP treatment.

“Yes, I have about two dozen patients who saw an improvement in hair color over the years ranging from 20 to 50’s, both male and female. Attached is a female patient in her 40’s who has been coming since 2011. After her initial couple of treatments she does a yearly maintenance and when she came in a few months ago I told her “I like her hair color”. But she said she never “colored her hair”, so we pulled up her before photo’s from 2011 and here are her results.

Not only is the hair darker, but it is aesthetically denser and looks in healthier condition. This is regenerative therapy so I think it is doing both bringing back the secondary hairs improving the existing hair and turning on the melanocytes. I have not seen gray hair turn dark, but most patients say “there hair gets a few shades darker.”

Note: The “No Hair Color” label in the below photos means no hair coloring dye was used by the patient.

PRP Darker Hair in Female
PRP makes hair darker in a female.

PRP Female Hair Regrowth

Dr. Jerry Cooley

Dr. Jerry Cooley is one of the most renowned hair transplant surgeons in the US, and a winner of the ISHRS Platinum Follicle Award in 2008. His clinic in North Carolina participates in cutting edge research in diverse areas ranging from hair cloning to PRP. In an e-mail to me, he stated that: “I routinely see a slight darkening effect with PRP/ACell”. He attached the below photo as an example of this phenomenon:

PRP hair growth and hair color pigment change.
PRP hair growth and darkening: before and after photo.

Dr. John Satino

For more than four decades, Florida based bio-engineer Dr. John Satino has been heavily involved in the hair loss world. Sad to say, I only heard about him a few months ago while reading a recent news article on stem cells.

He has been among the earliest adopter and tester of numerous new treatments, including PRP and stem cells. In fact, he has had a hair transplant as well as stem cell injections to his own scalp. Dr. Satino has had especially significant success in treating patients with alopecia areata.

Dr. Satino told me that at his practice, he has definitely seen hair darken significantly after PRP treatment in some patients. He sent me a great before and after photo of an elderly woman showing this phenomenon. I have pasted that photo after his below e-mail content.

“We were the first pioneers after Dr. Greco to use this technology. We use Aphanizomenon orally, prior to the blood draw. This helps release more stem cells from the bone marrow, as seen in Cardiovascular Revascularization Medcine Vol.8 2007 CD34 and CD33 in vivo CXCR4 Expression. We also do fat extraction for more difficult cases.

We charge $1,500 for the PRP injections with the Aphanizomenon and laser cap included. As I stated in our conversation, I believe the low level laser plays an important role in PRP therapy. So I include a laser cap. Even if they have a laser comb, they probably don’t use it, since their arm gets tired, and the cap can be used any place you can wear a ball cap.”

Platelet-Rich Plasma in Older Person
An older person’s hair turned blonde after PRP injections.

Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport

I have covered New Jersey based Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport a few times before on this blog. My 2014 post with videos about him is worth a reread. When I asked him whether PRP has darkened scalp hair in any of his patients, he also answered in the affirmative. Below are three sample before and after images that he sent me. In the female one, it is not too clear if some hair is darker unless you zoom and enlarge the photo.

PRP Blonde Hair Thicker

Platelet-Rich Plasma Hair Growth

PRP Male Hair Darkening

If you ever do get PRP injected into your scalp (with or without ACell), make sure to post a comment in this thread about your experiences. Blog readers as well as myself would be very appreciative.

Brief Items of Interest, May 2015

Nothing especially significant in recent hair loss related news articles and items of interest.

— An interesting new study from Taiwan that suggests an improved method of producing trichogenic keratinocytes.

— Seems like this BBC radio segment might be over a year old, but it appeared on my Twitter feed this week.  Worth a listen.

— Yes by now most of us know that mothers are the not the only culprits.  Nevertheless, an interesting recent article on the genetics of hair loss.  The last part of the article is especially important.  I knew about the correlation of baldness with higher rates of heart disease, but did not realize the correlation with higher rates of blood pressure and cholesterol.  I do not find these “higher” rates especially high, but from a scientific perspective, even a 10 percent greater risk is very significant.  I do wonder if these studies miss the possibility that a significant portion of balding people just become reclusive and start overeating and not exercising and subsequently get more health issues: i.e., correlation does not imply causation.

— Beware of the numerous gray hair cure scams out there.  Update: Read my 2016 post on the cure for grey hair.

— Over the years, there have been many hair loss forum threads on demodex mites perhaps causing or exacerbating hair loss.  I never did much research on this subject.  Now I am curious due to this superb recent image-filled BBC article on demodex mites that are on all of our faces.

— Unfortunately, no artificial hair replacement section in here, but nevertheless an excellent summary on various artificial body part replacements.  Scroll all the way down that page.  Medical science is steamrolling ahead.

Bionic eyes could give you 3 times better vision than so called 20/20 perfect vision.

— A good short BBC video on the fight against aging, with an appearance by Aubrey de Grey.