NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Does growing hair with your own blood sound too good to be true?
A number of studies show that it’s possible with something called platelet rich plasma – PRP for short.
PRP has been used on everything from tennis elbow to back pain with mixed results, reported CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
Some athletes have gotten tremendous results, and others not so much.
Some improved technology now looks like it can put PRP to work growing hair.
“I don’t see the top of my head, but my wife does, and she informed me I was getting thin up there,” said Ronald Woody.
It’s the classic male pattern balding: Hair follicles going dormant on the crown of Woody’s head.
Hair loss is a problem for women, too.
“It comes out in the shower,” said Kamila Singh. “I had bangs in front, they’re all gone.”
Singh has what looks like a very full head of hair, but she noticed her hairline in front was receding, and she was losing hair on top, too.
Neither she nor Woody wanted a transplant or lifelong medication use to hang on to their hair.
So Singh came to see Dr. Bruce Katz, who explained she hadn’t actually lost her hair follicles.
“The follicles are still there. They’re just dormant, asleep,” said Dr. Bruce Katz of Juva Skin & Laser Center.
To wake up those sleeping follicles, Dr. Katz and others have turned to PRP. First, some blood is drawn from Singh, which is then spun down in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets in the plasma. Then the platelets are activated so they can secrete the compounds that are thought to be responsible for hair growth.
“They secrete six different growth factors that wake up the follicles,” said Dr. Katz.
The activated PRP is injected into the areas of the scalp where the hair is thinning. This particular system uses a kind of matrix that keeps the platelets in place for up to seven days so the growth factors have a chance to really work.
Hair regrowth results have been published for both men and women.
SIngh’s had a few treatments that grew back her hairline. Woody had four treatments a month apart, and his hair growth is clear. He said his wife is pleased.
The PRP treatments work best before a person gets shiny bald, and the hair follicles are in deep sleep.
The cost is $500 to $600 per treatment, and you usually will need 4-6 treatments a month apart. It’s not cheap, but it’s a lot less than a hair transplant, or years of medication use.