Regenerative Hair Loss Treatments
Hair loss can be caused by genetics, medications, stress, medical conditions and hormones. Hereditary hair loss with aging, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common cause of thinning hair or baldness in both men and women. Nearly 85% of men experience hair thinning by the age of 50 and about 40% of women by the age of 40. Men tend to lose hair from the temples, front of their forehead and the top of their head. Women usually experience thinning mostly across the top of their scalp, usually noticed first as a widening part. Ironically, women also tend to notice brow hairs becoming sparser as lower face hairs sprout more.
Each hair follicle seems to function as an individual, with its own growth cycle timing. For unknown reasons, some of the scalp follicles become more sensitive to the effects of hormones with aging, especially dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, a byproduct of testosterone. DHT causes the growth phase of the hair to shorten and the follicles to shrink until they no longer produce hair.
Until recently, the only effective treatments for hair thinning were drugs such as minoxidil and finasteride, or hair transplants.
Recent studies show promising results for early hair loss with regenerative treatments like injections of PRP, nanofat and exosomes that all are rich in growth factors to either increase hair thickness or at least stop it’s loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune-related disease that causes patchy bald areas, & some studies have also shown improvement with these treatments.
PRP, Nanofat and Exosomes all show promise in hair thickening
Platelets are cells in our blood that are rich in many types of growth factors and PRP, or platelet rich plasma, is the liquid portion of the blood in which the platelets have been concentrated and the other blood cells removed. The effects of PRP on hair loss are thought to be due to effects of the platelet growth factors on the hair follicles. PRP is obtained by drawing a small blood sample & then spinning the tubes to seperate out the red and white blood cells while isolating the concentrated platelets.
What is Nanofat
Nanofat is a misnomer since it’s actually not fat but the healing factors and stem cells that have been filtered out from a small amount of a patient’s fat that’s used in regenerative treatments. Unlike fat, nanofat can be injected as a liquid through a small needle with little discomfort.
Often confused with stem cells, which are cells that have the potential to turn into other types of cells, exosomes are the messengers that are produced by cells to transfer information between cells. Exosomes are little buds on cells filled with important substances like miRNA, mRNA, and proteins, that break off and provide signals to other cells.
Exosomes perform multiple functions from stimulating the growth of tissues to repairing tissue and regulating immune responses and are producing amazing results with hair restoration. Unlike PRP or nanofat that require drawing blood or having a mini-liposuction to obtain fat, purified exosome solutions are available from tissue banks so treatments require only simple injections.
Because exosomes are obtained from commercial sources, the treatments have a higher cost than treatments utilizing your own cells like PRP & nanofat.
PRP, nanofat and/or exosomes can be injected into the scalp (and brows if desired) or applied during a microneedling treatment, after anesthetic cream, to get down into the thinning hair follicles.
Regenerative hair therapies are not effective if the area being treated has no remaining hair follicles, so it’s best to start early.
Depending on the cause of your hair thinning, medications like progesterone, vitamin D and/or finasteride may be added to improve results.
How Long Are the Treatments?
After an initial series of 3 bi-monthly PRP treatments, roughly 30% of patients will see an increase in hair growth, 30% won’t see an increase but they won’t continue to experience hair loss in the months after treatment, and 30% won’t see any change. It’s too soon to know what the predicted improvement or longevity of results will be with single nanofat or exosome treatments, but the results so far look even better than with a series of PRP treatments.
Maintenance treatments for all of these treatments are recommended but vary from every six to eighteen months depending on the type of hair loss, treatment and the individual.
Before and After