It’s a condition is whispered about in hair salons, but it’s rarely spoken about in public. Yet, female hair loss is an issue that millions of women face, and it affects nearly 50% of women in their lifetime. Female hair loss can be caused by changes in hormones, shock to the body, or even repeated hair styles. Hair growth and appearance can be an incredibly intimate part of a person’s identity, and hair loss can deeply impact the way that we feel about our look.
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL), also known as female androgenetic alopecia or androgenic alopecia, can affect around 40% of women by age 50. This is caused by a reduction in hair volume, combined with hair shedding from resting hairs. FPHL can be a frustrating condition for many women, particularly those with early signs of thinning hair.
Overall, female pattern hair loss is very different than male pattern baldness in how it appears. Male pattern balding is usually noticeable via a receding hairline or bald patch atop the head, forming an “m”-shaped pattern, but females do not generally follow a particular pattern. Within FPHL, hair shedding is more evenly distributed, though it can often begin with hair thinning along the top of the head, as well as a widening part line. For many, it may be their part getting wider, but for others it may be thinning hairs near their temples that are seen first – generally, the thinning is more widespread than for males.
There are several options for treatment of androgenetic alopecia but, up until recently, the treatment options have felt less-than-perfect for many patients. There are topical treatments such as daily topical minoxidil (Rogaine), which can be tiresome and lead to inconsistent results. There are also medications such as oral finasteride which can be effective, but are often contraindicated for women. Additionally, hormonal medications like birth control or Spironolactone, can often be effective for women, but daily medication is not always a good fit for a patient, and can have potential side effects.
Thankfully, recent research in the world of dermatology has led to new discoveries in hair restoration. Studies have shown that platelet-rich plasma treatment, or PRP injections, is an effective way to improve new hair growth and hair thickness. The use of PRP for treating hair loss uses your own blood to apply stimulating growth factors to the scalp, using a centrifuge to separate out red blood cells from restorative white blood cells and platelets that are vital for regenerative treatments within the body. PRP therapy requires virtually no downtime and can help to stimulate increased hair count and hair growth at and around a PRP injection site, creating a healthy head of hair.
Dr. Michele Green is an expert in PRP and hair loss and one of the first NYC physicians to bring PRP to her patients with hair loss. If you’re frustrated by thinning hair or female pattern hair loss, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green is here to help. Contact our New York City office today to develop your custom hair restoration treatment plan.
What causes female pattern hair loss?
Genes for FPHL can be inherited from either parent but, unlike male pattern baldness, androgens are not the only reason for female pattern baldness, or ‘female androgenetic alopecia’. Androgens are hormones which do play a significant role in both hair growth and sexual function. For some women, an increase in androgens, testosterone, can be the cause for the hair loss. In others, it can be caused by a decrease in estrogen levels. FPHL is more common after menopause, suggesting estrogens may also have some more direct relationship.
The natural hair growth cycle has four primary stages: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. During the anagen stage, the hair grows. During the catagen stage, the hair undergoes a simple transitional phase that lasts a little over a week. In the telogen stage, the hair no longer grows, typically lying dormant in the hair follicle for a few months. Then, in the exogen stage, the hair falls out, leaving space for the cycle to repeat. In the case of female pattern hair loss, instead of the cycle starting anew, the hair shedding is permanent and the hair follicle does re-enter the anagen stage.
This process of female pattern hair loss can occur at any point, and can occur in patients as young as 20 or more typically into the 40’s and 50’s. Hair loss may also occur in phases, meaning it may happen for a few months and then reoccur at a later date. In addition to cosmetic issues, it can cause mental health and wellness issues, interfering with daily activity through feelings of depression or unattractiveness.
There are many other factors which cause hair loss, such as stress and nutrition. For instance, low iron levels (anemia) can cause hair to thin, while vitamins can boost hair growth. Temporary hair thinning can also occur in females due to childbirth, illness, menopause, or sudden changes in diet, so it is important to know if PRP is the right solution for you.
As similar conditions to female pattern hair loss can be caused by stress or hormonal issues, it is important to discuss potential any hair loss influences with Dr. Green prior to initiating treatment. There are several hair loss treatment options available for women who suffer from thinning hair or hair loss due to other factors, and Dr. Green can help to work with you to develop the best hair regrowth plan for you.
Is PRP effective for female hair loss?
So, is PRP good for female hair loss? According to multiple studies released in journals like the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, PRP therapy has been indicated as a successful treatment option for hair restoration. Improved hair growth, hair count and hair thickness has been shown in patients who experience both alopecia areata (spot baldness) and androgenetic alopecia. Though PRP is not an effective treatment for all causes of thinning hair or hair shedding in women, it has been shown to improve hair quality at or near the PRP injection site for patients with female pattern hair loss, as well as several other forms of hair loss.
In 2019, a systematic review of PRP therapy for hair restoration was featured in Dermatologic Surgery, which looked at 19 investigative studies that observed PRP treatment for hair loss in 460 people. This review demonstrated that the studies overwhelmingly reported hair regrowth in patients with both androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata when treated with PRP injections. It’s considered to be a promising treatment for hair loss. However, it’s good to note that the studies thus far have used varying PRP treatment preparations, session intervals, and techniques, so not all PRP hair restoration treatments are created equal. Dr. Green is an expert in anti-aging dermatology and PRP therapy and can therefore offer you a treatment option that is both effective and safe.
Will PRP stop hair loss?
On average, patients who receive approximately three PRP treatments over the course of 3-4 months are able to see improved hair growth that reverse the signs of hair loss in patients with androgenetic alopecia. In fact, according to a study on PRP therapy for hair growth over a one-year period released by the National Institutes of Health, PRP injections caused an increase in hair density and created overall hair restoration satisfaction in over 70% of participants.
PRP hair restoration should not be considered a cure-all for hair loss, and typically patients will engage with maintenance PRP treatments in order to continue new hair growth and hair thickness. The amount of PRP treatments for optimal results depends on the individual needs and aesthetic goals of each individual patient. Currently, there is no total cure for either androgenetic alopecia or alopecia areata, and alternative treatments such as Rogaine or oral finasteride require continued daily maintenance. For these reasons, PRP therapy is considered an excellent alternative to daily medications or topical treatments.
How does PRP work for female hair loss?
If you’re wondering, how does PRP work for women’s hair loss?, the process is simple. First, you’ll meet with Dr. Green for an initial consultation to discuss your hair loss symptoms and determine which treatment will be best for you. If PRP therapy is recommended, the PRP injection treatment is quite simple. First, a standard blood sample size is taken and put through a centrifuge. The centrifuge is able to separate the different components of your blood, intensely concentrating the platelets within your blood into a platelet-rich plasma that has three times the standard amount of growth factors. As the PRP solution is made up of components from a patient’s own blood, there are very few risks associated with the serum itself.
While the centrifuge is preparing the platelet rich plasma, a topical numbing cream will be applied to the scalp to reduce any possible discomfort on the injection sites. Then, Dr. Green will inject the PRP into target areas of the scalp where hair loss is most acute. The process in total takes about a half hour, and you can continue with normal activity post-treatment, though it’s best to wait until the next day to wash your hair/scalp.
PRP treatment for hair restoration does vary amongst medical professionals, but Dr. Green’s procedure for PRP is tailored to maximize hair growth in healthy individuals experiencing thinning hair, hair shedding, and hair loss. Patients typically engage in three treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart, and results continue to develop over the course of several months following treatment. If PRP is an ideal match for hair regrowth, then patients can engage in maintenance treatments spaced at either the six month or one-year mark.
PRP Therapy Before & After Pictures
34 year old female, PRP to scalp for hair loss – after 3 treatments
Are there any side effects to PRP treatment?
PRP hair restoration for female pattern hair loss is a new use for PRP therapy and, according to published studies over the past few years, PRP treatment can improve hair growth with minimal side effects. Common side effects include minimal discomfort or soreness at the injection site. Occasionally, patients may experience swelling, headache, itching, or temporary bleeding at the injection site. Though downtime is minimal post-treatment, Dr. Green recommends avoiding exercise immediately following treatment, and steering clear of alcohol consumption or smoking for a minimum of 3 days. In order to make sure that PRP treatment is safe for each patient, Dr. Green assesses previous medical history, as well as the nature of any hair loss.
As platelet-rich plasma uses a blood sample from the patient, it is absolutely imperative that the process be overseen by a medical professional. There have been known to be severe side effects when platelet-rich plasma has been derived in a non-medical environment, including in a medical spa context. This is why Dr. Green conducts all patient consultations and procedures herself for PRP hair restoration treatment. The safety and satisfaction of Dr. Green’s patients is her top priority.
Is PRP for hair loss worth it?
For those who are struggling with female pattern hair loss and who are either contraindicated for or disinterested in daily oral medications or topical treatments, PRP for hair loss is an excellent option. Dr. Green is experienced in PRP treatment for hair growth, and her patients have seen remarkable improvement in the look and feel of their hair. It’s a wonderful treatment option that requires no downtime and can lead to long-term hair restoration.
PRP has optimal results anywhere where hair loss has occurred, but the hair follicle is not dormant. This means that PRP can be particularly worthwhile for those who are experiencing early hair loss or are struggling with resting hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss can be common after pregnancy or due to a stressful or traumatic experience, such as a car accident or intense emotional stress. For some, this kind of hair loss is only subtly noticeable, if at all, but for others, resting hair can account for almost 60% of hair count. In these instances, hair regrowth treatment may be needed to restore fulness, and platelet-rich plasma treatment can be ideal for restoring a healthy head of hair.
What hair restoration treatments are available?
While there is no set cure for female pattern hair loss, various treatments are available. These include topical treatment such as minoxidil (Rogaine), which unfortunately can come with unpleasant side effects like hair growth in other areas and weight gain. There are also other common medications for FPHL, such as oral finasteride (Propecia), flutamide, or dutasteride. In terms of non-invasive cosmetic procedures for hair growth, patients can look to laser treatment or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. When you meet with Dr. Green, she will work with you to consider all possible options for hair growth treatment, and to determine which treatment option is best for you.
37 year old female, PRP for hair loss – after 6 months
Should I do PRP for hair loss?
Overall, there are many causes of female pattern hair loss and it is important to discuss options and get an accurate diagnosis from a board certified dermatologist beforehand. Many conditions with hair loss look similar but require different treatment methods. Additionally, there are a few patients who are contraindicated for PRP for hair loss, such as those who suffer from thyroid disease or autoimmune disorders that lead to continued hair loss. Lastly, those who are currently taking blood thinners will be poor candidates for PRP therapy, as their blood samples won’t have the levels of platelet concentration needed for proper hair restoration. A good candidate for PRP therapy is someone who suffers from female pattern hair loss and is seeking treatment to reverse the signs of hair shedding or hair loss.
If you’re frustrated by thinning hair or hair loss, there’s a solution that can finally help. Dr. Michele Green is an international expert in hair loss and one of the first physicians to incorporate PRP to treat hair loss in her NYC boutique practice. Find out today how to delay female pattern hair loss and reverse hair loss with PRP treatments by contacting Dr. Green to schedule a consultation at (212) 535-3088 or contact her online.