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 titled “does PRP work for hair loss“?

Dr. Joseph Greco — PRP and CRP

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. This person got darker hair from PRP hair 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.

36 thoughts on “Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Hair Darkening”

    1. I recently started PRP. I’ve had three treatments every 4 weeks. It’s been a month since my last treatment and I’m shocked that some areas of my hair are really dark.
      I have a white streak in front but it’s been that way for 3-4 years. I had started getting all white hair around my hairline. Now it’s very dark. I feel like my hair is a bit thicker but hopefully will get better as time goes on.
      Originally my plan was to do every 4 weeks for 6 month, then wait for results. Due to Coronavirus I’ve missed my 4th treatment. But I’m excited about the adventure.

  1. Admin, thx for this news. But who cares about hair darkening … We are 1000 years far away form cure.

    1. There is also some hair growth in there if you look closely Vedran.

      In any case, while we await for the cure, we need to also focus on these smaller things, especially since they can help people with limited hair loss a lot.

      1. Especially important for women, I imagine. I think I actually have female pattern hairloss (for a few reasons) and would love to try PRP…. the only issue being cost and access :(

        1. My Dermatologist told me 3 treatment. Then a once a year booster. $750 a treatment.
          My Botox RN does mine for $400. Check around, pricing may vary.

          1. I live near Phoenix and my PRP only cost me $150 out of pocket. Per session at my dermatologist’s office. If any higher, I would not have been able to afford it either!

        1. I don’t, either. I see hair styled differently, cut differently, etc.

          There’s no evidence that PRP does anything other than self-reported anecdotal evidence by the very same people who are selling it – at $1000+ per treatment (and they claim you need five or more treatments, plus follow on “maintenance”).

          It’s a scam, and a highly unethical one at that.

          1. It is a scam if you are paying $1000 per treatment? No way. That’s a rip. Nothing will give you a bush of hair except a wig. But 10-12% more is worth it.

  2. Very interesting to read PLUS the fact that it is already being offered. I would definitely consider doing this now.

    Also, to the people questioning why a gray hair cure is also important, it’s not a simple matter of “just dye it”. Gray hair is often a drastically different texture to regular hair and looks really awful when dyed (esp on men). Having better options for hair color as well as hair loss is crucial for a good, natural-looking improvement in appearance.

  3. what i dont understand is why the treatments we have nowdays, only work in a small % why? if it works, why doesnt work for every part of our head, for all our follicles? (Min, Fin, Dut, PRP) so frustrating..

  4. I find it very odd that there is an absolute paucity of on-line testimonials about the efficacy of PRP. On the three biggest hair loss forums, there are just about ZERO posts from people claiming to have had any regrowth at all from PRP. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – there are many, many posts from people who say that the protocol had absolutely no effect at all. It seems that the only place one can find positive anecdotal evidence for the protocol is on hair transplant surgeons’ websites Given the average cost of PRP (about $1000 a treatment, and often much, much more – $5000 – $10,000 for a complete course of treatments), I think it may be the biggest scam in the hair loss industry. The fact that it is practiced and promoted exclusively by hair transplant surgeons does not help its credibility.

    1. I have read around 10 positive PRP testimonials on the forums over the past several years (and I never spend time looking for such posts, so there are surely far more). I do think there are more negative versus positive testimonials.

      If you go through all the threads in the below link, you will probably find a decent number of positive stories:

      Many of the people posting do not write the name of the doctor they went to and whether they also had ACell in the mix. That would be useful.

      1. Hey admin if you get a chance could you ask Dr Wesley about how his pilofocus is coming along. Would be nice to at least have the option of a scar less transplant in the near future. Is he even still working on that?


      2. Don’t you think that’s pretty poor evidence? It’s been commercially available for years – if it worked, wouldn’t there be many, many positive reviews, not just a handful? Without hair counts, efficacy is judged by perception, which is affected by a number of variables, only one of which is actual hair growth (and even the casualty of that is unknown without a proper double-blind study).

        Bottom line, $5,000, $10,000 or more (the total cost for a full course of treatments) is a lot to gamble on something that has, at best, very weak anecdotal evidence of efficacy. There is absolutely no good reason for the markup on this procedure (the technology is not capital intensive – just a few vials of blood and a $1,500 centrifuge), except for the fact that the HT doctors who offer it know they can get desperate people to pay that much.

        It’s a scam, and it’s a pity to see so many otherwise well-respected doctors like Wesley and Bernstein taking advantage of their patients.

      3. It’s hard for me to read all of the negative comments about PRP here… I am an aesthetic RN and Holistic Nutrition Coach..and perform PRP treatments, including hair restoration. The results are phenomenal. One woman had pigmentation back in some of the new growth after just one treatment. But, with any treatment, there are variables. Unfortunately it is somewhat expensive, and unless you do a series, you will not see much of a result. (Same as if you used 1/4 of a box of hair color every year… you won’t notice it)
        My patients also try to follow a very healthy diet and lifestyle which, in my opinion, can have a greater effect on results.
        Trust me I don’t get paid thousands to do this, only a commission.. but the best part for me is when my patients are so happy that they well up with tears.
        It does work.
        But, like my hair colorist friend said… “don’t go spreading that around or I’ll be out of a job”… as I’m sure most other companies that provide hair care, hair dyes, implants, etc. would feel as well.
        Most women spend approx $150 every 6-8 weeks at a salon for their hair cut& color. That’s $900 yearly and $18,000 over 20 years.
        PRP hair treatments can range but let’s say $1000 per treatment every 4 weeks for 3 months, then every 3 months, then every 6 months, then a yearly maintenance, if desired. It would be an investment the first year of about $5000-7000 but afterwards just maintenance.
        It’s all about what the person desires.

        1. $400 is average price in my area. And done with instrument that gives an even prick to about 6 areas at a time. It’s a fabulous thing.

    2. I don’t get why people pay so much for something without having any evidence that it will yield BIG results, I mean, something that is worth the money… Paying 5000-10.000 for a treatment that, sorry adm I don’t agree with you on this, MEDIOCRE, RIDICULOUS is lamentable.. I don’t get why people get into this, they must be really rich!! Cause it’s too much money for nothing!!

  5. Where can we get PRP treatment in india ? Admin, do you know any renowned doctor in india who is expert in PRP treatment ?

  6. PRP is a nice little earner of these HT docs..does it work?? You will walk out of the clinic convinced that it did.

  7. I had a PRP session using the angel system and I felt like my hair was better. My hair seemed terrible at around month 9. I had PRP with Acell in December. I’ll continue to have this done once a year. Is it a miracle? No. If you have the extra money it’s a addition I would add. I do think This treatment needs to be under $1200 a year.

  8. I had prp with rappaport in nj. I think it helped however just a little. I recall my hair lookimg better a few months after the injections. I dont known if it was worth the drive and money considering im not wealthy but I do feel it was of at least some benefit however nothing major. I would do it again if I were wealthy.

    1. “I had a PRP session using the angel system and I felt like my hair was better. ”

      “I had prp with rappaport in nj. I think it helped however just a little. ”

      Hair quality is so variable that anything that results in it being “a little better” probably had nothing to do with it at all. You could have had a hair cut that makes it look better, your hair could have been in an telogen phase (resting phase – it last around four months on average) before the PRP, then coincidentally and naturally moved into the anogen phase (growth phase) after the PRP. Any number of things could have happened that had nothing to do with PRP to make your hair look “a little” better.” And for that, doctors charge $1000 a session, and want you to commit to at least three to five sessions or more.

      It’s a scam, and a MASSIVE one at that, given how expensive it is.

  9. It is true actually I recently had alopecia areata. I took PRP treatment. Because of PRP my other hair follicles got darker too and now I have a thick and black beard. I had 10-15 white hairs in my bedard, all has tyrned black. Now I take PRP every 4th month. It is merely 20 dollars in India. Works like magic.

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