Affecting 147 million people globally and 6.8 million in the United States, Alopecia Areata is one of the most common autoimmune disorders, causing unpredictable and severe hair loss. Alopecia Areata is a non-scarring type of hair loss that primarily affects the scalp but can also extend to other areas with hair, including your hair, legs, beard, and eyebrows. Alopecia Areata can manifest in various forms, from small, coin-sized patches of hair loss to complete loss of all body hair. While covering bald patches with makeup, scarves, and hats is a common strategy, PRP can be used to prevent hair loss and restore growth. Read on to learn more about treating Alopecia Areata with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP).
Alopecia Areata Causes
Though the root cause of Alopecia Areata isn't still known, according to researchers, it is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body's immune system identifies healthy cells (hair follicles) as foreign substances and attacks them, causing severe hair fall. The possible risk factors of Alopecia Areata include:
- Deficiency of Vitamin D.
- Health conditions like Vitiligo, Diabetes, Lupus, Thyroid, and Down Syndrome.
- Nivolumab-Induced Alopecia Areata is a condition that affects people undergoing invasive cancer treatment.
Alopecia Areata Symptoms
The primary symptom of Alopecia Areata is hair loss, resulting in round or oval bald patches on the scalp. The bald patches are usually smooth, without any scaling or inflammation. In severe cases, hair fall may also occur in different body parts such as eyelashes, beards, and eyebrows. Other symptoms of Alopecia Areata are given below:
- Toenails and fingernails become brittle, pitted, and red.
- More hair loss in winter.
- Hair growing in some areas and falling from others.
A person suffering from Alopecia Areata may initially find tufts of hair in the shower or on their pillow. However, if these spots appear on the backside of your head, you will need someone else's help to identify the Alopecia Areata-affected areas. In some cases, individuals might experience greater hair loss due to the two rare alopecia conditions:
- Alopecia Universalis – Alopecia universalis is a severe form of alopecia areata in which there is a complete loss of hair on the scalp and the entire body, including eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, and body hair. Individuals with alopecia universalis have no hair growth whatsoever, giving them a hairless appearance from head to toe.
- Alopecia Totalis – Alopecia totalis is also a type of alopecia areata, but in this case, there is complete hair loss on the scalp alone. People with alopecia totalis may still have hair on their bodies, eyebrows, and other areas, but they lose all the hair on their heads, making them bald.
Treating Alopecia Areata with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Before we jump to how Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) can be used to treat Alopecia Areata, let's discuss how the autoimmune disorder is diagnosed. The healthcare provider will start by conducting a physical exam and ask you questions about your hair care routine, diet, family history, and medical history. To confirm the diagnosis, they might also perform a blood test, scalp biopsy, blood test, and light microscopy.
While drugs like Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Corticosteroids can prevent hair loss and slow the progression, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is the most effective treatment of Alopecia Areata. Otherwise known as "Vampire Treatment," Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a component of the blood rich in growth factors and cytokines. It is obtained by drawing a small amount of the patient's blood and processing it in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. Given below is the PRP process in detail:
- Blood Extraction: The PRP process begins with the extraction of the patient's blood, typically from the arm, similar to a routine blood test.
- Centrifugation: The extracted blood is placed in a centrifuge, a machine that spins rapidly to separate the different components of the blood. During this process, the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are separated into distinct layers.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma Isolation: The layer containing the concentrated platelets is carefully extracted, leaving behind the other components. The resulting plasma is platelet-rich and contains a higher concentration of growth factors.
- Preparation for Injection: Before injecting the PRP, the scalp is thoroughly cleaned and numbed to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
- PRP Injection: Once prepared, the PRP is injected directly into the affected areas of the scalp or other areas experiencing hair loss
How PRP Helps Treat Alopecia Areata
A study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery in 2014 evaluated the effectiveness of PRP in 45 patients with Alopecia Areata. The researchers found that 58.9% of the patients showed significant hair regrowth after three sessions of PRP treatment, with no major side effects reported. Another clinical trial was conducted in 2019, where two groups of 20 people were treated with PRP injections and Rogaine (minoxidil), respectively. At the end of the study, people treated with Platelet-Rich Plasma showed improved hair growth compared to those given minoxidil. Here is how Platelet-Rich Plasma helps in the treatment of Alopecia Areata.
- Hair Follicle Stimulation: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) contains growth factors that encourage the activity of hair follicles, promoting hair growth in areas affected by Alopecia Areata.
- Reduced Inflammation: PRP has anti-inflammatory effects that can help calm the autoimmune response targeting the hair follicles, potentially reducing further hair loss.
- Improved Blood Circulation: PRP therapy enhances blood circulation to the scalp, ensuring better delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles, which is essential for healthy hair growth.
- Accelerated Healing: PRP accelerates the healing process of damaged tissues, which may aid in the recovery of hair follicles affected by Alopecia Areata.
Fight Alopecia Areata with Suncoast Skin Solutions
Are you struggling with hair loss due to Alopecia Areata? Experience the transformative power of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy at Suncoast Skin Solutions. Our state-of-the-art PRP treatments are designed to stimulate hair regrowth and combat the effects of this challenging condition. Take charge of your hair restoration journey today and join countless others who have benefited from our innovative PRP therapy.
Don't let Alopecia Areata hold you back any longer. Give us a call to schedule a consultation and discover how our experts can help you regain a healthy head of hair in the most natural, unobtrusive way possible. Say goodbye to hair loss and embrace life with confidence and vitality with Suncoast Skin Solutions. Still have questions? Click here to talk to an expert right away!