Category Archives: Platelet-Rich Plasma

PRP Hair Loss Treatment Variation

I last updated my main platelet-rich plasma post (does PRP work for hair loss) in 2020. In there, I list over 50 studies that support the benefits of PRP scalp injections for hair growth.

I have written many other posts on platelet-rich plasma. Among the highlights include: a summary of key growth factors in PRP; rare instances of hair darkening; and Dr. John Cole’s interesting experiments with activated and sonicated PRP.

However, most readers are justifiably very skeptical about PRP. We see very few positive testimonials and reviews on hair loss forums, while studies suggest otherwise. One possible reason is that the methods used for PRP treatments are all over the place and impact success rates significantly.

Doctors who are totally inexperienced with hair loss treatments often start injecting PRP into patient scalps without any training. Many use the cheapest possible centrifuges and never even try to measure platelet counts.

In this post, I attempt to describe platelet-rich plasma treatment methodologies used by various leading hair transplant surgeons. Note that some physicians often combine PRP treatments with one or more of: ACell, exosomes and microneedling.

PRP Hair Growth Treatment: Platelets per Microliter

  • Perhaps the most experienced doctor in the US when it comes to using platelet-rich plasma for hair growth is Dr. Joseph Greco. I have covered him a few times. Besides using PRP, he also uses a purified version of PRP called CRP (Cytokine Rich Plasma). See this chart on his site for a comparison of differences between the two.
  • Dr. John Cole who I mentioned earlier is also among the most experienced American physicians when it comes to using PRP for hair growth. Dr. Cole also uses CRP. On his site, he has a very interesting article titled “Dr. Cole discusses differences in PRP.” He notes that most PRP kits in use today lack when it comes to  ultimate platelet concentrations and platelet yields. In his opinion, the best benefit for hair growth comes at platelet-rich plasma concentration levels of 1 million platelets per milliliter.
  • Dr. Cole uses a Hemoccult machine that uses light to differentiate cells and quantify them accurately. One interesting thing that Dr. Cole told me was that “What I can tell you for sure on PRP is that you want a reddish PRP. Not a yellow PRP. The best and youngest platelets are on the surface of the red cells. Hence, you want a little flash of red in the final spin to capture those platelets.”
  • Dr. Joseph Yaker shared with me an interesting series of slides he made for a presentation on the need to standardize PRP dosing. Since 2018, he has been using the TruDose™ system at his practice for platelet-rich plasma dosing accuracy. Dr. Yaker offers his own version of platelet-rich plasma called Precision PRP™️.
PRP Treatment
PRP hair loss treatment using the TruDose™ system.
  • The foremost expert on PRP for hair growth in the world might be Dr. Pietro Gentile from Italy. Especially when it comes to number of study publications. Dr. Yaker in his aforementioned slides mentioned a 2015 study from Dr. Pietro Gentile that found an ideal PRP dosage of 1.5 million platelets per microliter. The exact quote from this study:

“A mean of 1,484,555.6 platelets per microliter in the PRP preparation could effectively stimulate follicular and perifollicular angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), which is suggested to be one of the major factors in active hair growth.”

  • Another leading US based hair transplant surgeon Dr. Aron Nusbaum published a study in 2018 titled: “Examining the Variability of PRP with Different Preparation Systems.” Him and his partner found that the concentration of platelets produced by four different commercially available systems demonstrated wide variance. Also, while most systems only require blood collection of 15-22cc, the Arthrex System uses over 120ml of blood. Dr. Nusbaum told me that his clinic uses the Angel System by Arthrex. They found this device leads to the highest platelet concentration. He also adds ACell during the procedure, and they recommend PRP treatments every 6 months.
  • Dr. Jerry Cooley is yet another highly experienced platelet-rich user. In one of his past comments he stated the following:

“There a lot of different ways to ‘do’ PRP. Adding ACell is just one variable. Some of these other variables are: the device used to centrifuge the blood; the concentration of platelets achieved; the total volume injected; the size of the syringe and needle used to do the injecting; the depth level in the scalp it is injected; whether the PRP is ‘activated’ or not; the use of microneedling; etc. All of these can affect the result in my opinion.”

Make sure to see Hair Transplant Mentor Joe Tillman’s video of his platelet-rich plasma treatment with Dr. Cooley in 2016:

Activated versus Non-Activated

Many researchers recommend differentiating between autologous activated versus non-activated PRP. The former entails “activation” to induce growth factor secretion via the addition of calcium gluconate (or sometimes calcium chloride or thrombin). In the above video, Dr. Cooley injects calcium thrombin during the activation process.

A new January 2022 paper titled “Lasers, lights, and compounds for hair loss in aesthetics” contains a detailed section on platelet-rich plasma. It includes a discussion of autologous activated PRP (AA-PRP) versus non-activated autologous PRP (NA-PRP). The full version of the paper can be read via Sci-Hub (whose link keeps changing, so I am not posting here).

Among the most relevant quotes in this paper:

“The number of centrifugations, revolutionary speed, and spin time can affect platelet activity, degranulation, and growth factor viability. For example, longer or faster spin cycles more effectively separate the erythrocytes, buffy coat, and plasma, but this may also damage platelets and cause premature release of growth factors.”

“Preparation parameters should include the presence or absence of an anticoagulant, volume of blood drawn, presence or absence of leukocytes, spin method (speed and duration), activator used, and fraction of plasma collected. Authors should also report the mean platelet concentration, total volume, and volume per area used in treatment. This level of detail will allow for improved standardization that can be applied to real-world dermatology practice.”

Leukocytes and Fibrin Matrix

A proposed classification system that the above paper outlines would break out platelet-rich plasma into five categories:

  1. Pure or leukocyte-poor PRP (P-PRP).
  2. Leukocyte-rich PRP (L-PRP).
  3. Leukocyte-poor platelet-rich fibrin matrix (P-PRF).
  4. Platelet-rich fibrin matrix (PRFM),
  5. Leukocyte-rich fibrin and platelet-rich fibrin (L-PRF).


Does PRP for Hair Loss Work?

This post on PRP treatment for hair loss was first published in March 2014. I have now updated it and added links to more recent studies at the bottom of this post. Note that even the respected Mayo clinic recently found PRP to work to temporarily regrow hair in women.

Update: February 2022 — Yet another new study finds superior hair growth via PRP administered using dermapen microneedling.

Update: October 2020 — New study finds PRP and microneedling combination treatment to be more effective than PRP alone.

Platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) injections will not grow robust plentiful hair in the vast majority of hair loss sufferers. PRP will almost never grow lengthy new hair in areas of the scalp that have been totally bald for many years. If you ever decide to get this procedure, you should go in with modest expectations.

However, there now exist over 50 studies from around the world that have shown PRP to grow at least some hair. More often, PRP therapy will make existing hair thicker. Platelet-rich plasma contains numerous growth factors, many of which are well known to benefit hair growth.

PRP hair growth and pigment change
PRP and ACell hair growth and color change. Source: Dr Jerry Cooley.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post in order to see the updated list of PRP and hair loss studies. Most of them have detailed patient statistics on success and failure rates. Also make sure to read my post on PRP sometimes making hair darker.


As I mentioned earlier, PRP will almost never regrow hair in completely bald areas of the scalp. In most best-case scenarios, PRP treatment will thicken and seemingly improve the density of existing scalp hair. If you are really lucky, it will make recently miniaturized hair grow back stronger and lengthier. Even if effective, PRP is not a permanent solution to your thinning hair loss problems.

Numerous people on online hair loss forums have been disappointed with their PRP treatment results. In stark contrast, on local TV programs in the US, doctors have frequently presented real life patients who claim to be very pleased with their PRP hair growth results. They always show impressive before and after photos and videos as evidence. In most cases, they are likely presenting their absolute best case outcomes.

On realself, as of May 2020, an astounding 87 percent of patients have voted their PRP hair growth results to be worth the expense and effort. I am extremely skeptical about this success rate number. Some great before and after PRP hair loss treatment photos can be found in those realself reviews.

I have not done any research on the reliability and accuracy of these testimonials. On sites such as Yelp, you can find numerous fake ratings and reviews. Youtube also has many videos on PRP and hair loss treatment before and after experiences.

PRP Treatment for Hair Loss

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is the concentration of platelets that are derived from the plasma portion of one’s own blood. PRP contains various growth factors, cytokines and other bioactive factors. Because the plasma is autologous (i.e., extracted from a patient’s own blood), there is minimal possibility of any significant adverse side effects.

To obtain PRP, a small amount of blood is first extracted from a patient. This blood is then spun in a centrifuge that leads to separation into three layers:

  1. Platelet-poor plasma (PPP).
  2. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
  3. Red blood cells.

The whole procedure typically requires one or two spins of the centrifuge and takes less than 15 minutes. The concentration of platelets in PRP is usually around five times as much as in normal blood. This PRP is then injected into a patient’s scalp in order to try and improve his or her hair.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Growth Factors

The key benefit from platelet-rich plasma seems to arise from various growth factors. The main growth factors in PRP that are relevant to hair growth include:

  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF)
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF)
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1)
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)
  • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)
  • Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)
  • Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-β)

Interestingly, a number of other hair loss treatments that I have read about over the years also target one or more of the above growth factors. Among these, the most impressive one is include Shiseido’s Adenosine based products. Adenosine is thought to increase FGF-7, FGF-2, IGF-1, and VEGF.

A company named Follicept was working on a widely touted product to deliver IGF-1 to the scalp. However, it seems to have ceased operations in 2016 after the demise of one its main researchers.

On an important note, it is interesting that one of the ways in which Minoxidil works to grow scalp hair is via the upregulation of VEGF.

Related to this subject matter, a 2017 small-scale study from Spain looked at something called plasma rich in growth factors (PRGFs), and found it to have significant benefits towards hair growth.

Treatment Guidelines

PRP therapy typically consists of three injection sessions spread across a 4-8 week period. Thereafter, maintenance treatments are recommended every 4-6 months. PRP injections are not particularly painful or uncomfortable for most patients. Their nonsurgical nature with negligible chances of side effects is also appealing to many people. Make sure to see this great pre- and post-care instructions resource page.

Among the reasons that PRP results can vary so much include: the significant variance in techniques; equipment used; and concentrations of platelets in the final product. Centrifuge quality, in particular, differs substantially depending on manufacturer.

If you are contemplating getting a platelet-rich plasma treatment on your scalp, it is imperative to choose a reputable doctor. Many hair restoration surgeons have significant experience in the use of PRP for hair growth purposes. Clinics and plastic surgeons that specialize in many different cosmetic procedure are often less preferable to hair experts.

Note that initial shedding after platelet-rich plasma treatment is a common side effect. The bald truth talk forum section on PRP is worth a visit to read about patient experiences and reviews.

PRP and Hair Transplants

If I was undergoing a hair transplant procedure today, I would seriously consider the addition of PRP to the procedure. Even if the benefits are not always guaranteed. An increasing number of hair transplant surgeons are adding PRP to the procedure in the belief that the growth factors improve yields and donor area healing. Some are certain about the benefits. It remains to be seen if this is just a revenue making scheme or a scientifically sound add-on.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Hair Loss Treatment Cost

The cost of PRP for hair loss varies drastically. In the US, the lowest price that I have read about is $500 per treatment. The highest has been $2,500 per visit. The latter is ridiculous, since most people will require a few sessions for optimal results. And the results will often not last for more than a year.

On the realself website that I mentioned earlier, the average cost of PRP treatment for hair loss is $2,125 as of 2020. Most health insurance plans will not cover cosmetic treatments such as PRP for hair growth.

PRP for Hair Loss Clinical Studies

A number of recent studies on platelet-rich plasma have shown favorable outcomes (often when used in conjunction with ACell) on hair growth. I really like the fact that these studies are coming from all over the world rather than from just one country such as the US. This limits the potential for any kind of sponsor-influenced or self-interest-driven fraudulent “findings”.

Sources and References:

Egypt, 2020 — Autologous PRP is a good tool for androgenic alopecia treatment.

United States, 2020 — PRP effective treatment for hair regrowth in female AGA, but not as good as minoxidil. Interestingly, patients preferred their PRP results and quality of life after treatment.

Syria, 2020 — PRP Injections for Men with AGA Show Positive Effect on Hair Density.

Turkey, 2020 — Positive Data on PRP and AGA.

Pakistan, 2020 — Combined SVF-PRP Therapy Benefits Hair Growth more than PRP Alone.

Italy, 2020 — Systematic Review of Platelet-Rich Plasma Use in Androgenetic Alopecia. Only 17% of analyzed studies reported that PRP was not effective in treating AGA.

India, 2020 — PRP and Minoxidil Combination Superior to Either Treatment Alone.

Canada, 2020 — Small Clinical Trial Suggests PRP Hair Growth Varies Depending on Growth Factor Concentrations.

Italy, 2020 — Autologous Activated Platelet-Rich Plasma (AA-PRP) and Non-Activated (A-PRP) in Hair Growth.

China, 2020 — Sonicated PRP Promotes Hair Follicle Stem Cell Activation and de novo Hair Follicle Regeneration.

Sri Lanka, 2020 — PRP Injections Have a Positive Therapeutic Effect on AGA Without Major Side Effects.

India 2019 — PRP Gives Superior Results to Minoxidil in Treating Androgenetic Alopecia.

Netherlands, 2018 — Platelet-Rich Stroma: Platelet-Rich Plasma and Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) Combined Treatment of AGA.

Turkey, 2018 — Comparison of the Efficacy of Homologous and Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma for Treating Androgenic Alopecia.

Pakistan, 2018 — Effect of Platelets-Rich Plasma on Scalp Hair Diameter.

Egypt, 2018 — The Effect of Autologous Activated Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection on Female Pattern Hair Loss.

USA, 2018 — Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Female Pattern Hair Loss: A Patient Survey.

PRP Hair Loss Results
PRP hair growth in a female

Spain, 2017 — A Proposal of an Effective Platelet-Rich Plasma Protocol for the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia. Image on the right is one of several included in this paper, and shows the patient’s scalp and closeup view of the hair via magnification.

Italy, 2017 — Correlation Between Individual Inflammation Genetic Profile and Platelet-Rich Plasma Efficacy in Hair Follicle Regeneration.

India, 2017 — Platelet-Rich Plasma with Microneedling in Androgenetic Alopecia along with Dermoscopic Evaluation.

India, 2017 — A Split Head Study of Efficacy of Placebo versus Platelet-rich Plasma Injections in the Treatment of Androgenic Alopecia.

Italy, 2017 — Valuation of Not-Activated and Activated PRP in Hair Loss Treatment: Role of Growth Factor and Cytokine Concentrations Obtained by Different Collection Systems.

Spain, 2016 — Randomized Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Half-Head Study to Assess the Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma on the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia.

Italy, 2015 — The Effect of Platelet-Rich Plasma in Hair Regrowth: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.

Thailand, 2015 — At the 9th Congress for Hair Research, Dr. Ratchathorn Panchaprateep from Thailand presented favorable findings regarding combination therapy treatment of hair loss using PRP and Non-Ablative 1,550 nm Erbium Glass Fractional Laser in 9 patients.

India, 2015 — PRP is Effective in the Treatment of Androgenic Alopecia, with no Side Effects.

South Korea, 2015 — Therapeutic Efficacy of Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma and Polydeoxyribonucleotide on Female Pattern Hair Loss.

Greece, 2014 — Study of Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections in the Treatment of AGA over a 1-year Period.

Italy, 2014 — Platelet-Rich Plasma for Androgenetic Alopecia: A Pilot Study.

Italy, 2014 — The Effect of Autologous Activated Platelet Rich Plasma (AA-PRP) Injection on Pattern Hair Loss.

India, 2014 — Platelet-Rich Plasma in Androgenic Alopecia: Myth or an Effective Tool.

France, 2013 — Platelet-Rich Plasma: a Therapy for Hair Growth.

Taiwan, 2013 — Promotional Effect of Platelet-Rich Plasma on Hair Follicle Reconstitution in Vivo in Mice.

Brazil, 2012 — Follicular Unit Megasessions and Platelet Growth Factors.

South Korea, 2012 — Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma: A Potential Therapeutic Tool for Promoting Hair Growth.