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PRP & Low-Level Laser Therapy: Are They Effective?

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PRP & Low-Level Laser Therapy: Are They Effective?

There are quite a few hair loss treatments out there and they range from tried and tested household name medication to good old snake oil hoaxes. Navigating it all can be at the very least, puzzling and at the very worst, life-ruining. At &BAM we try to demystify it so you can make informed decisions about your hair loss and any treatments you want to explore, and today we’re talking PRP and Low-Level Laser therapy.

What Is PRP & Low-Level Laser Therapy?

PRP is short for Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy. You’re probably more familiar with it in the context of vampire facials – a facial treatment where professionals apply microneedling and plasma from your own blood to your face. Yikes. It sounds frightening, but it seems to have some cosmetic benefits and could even help your receding hairline.


Low-Level Laser therapy is another dermatological treatment and it’s a popular hair loss treatment. While more research needs to be done to find out exactly how effective it is, recent studies are promising. 

How Do PRP & Low-Level Laser Therapy Work?

PRP is an effective method to heal sports injuries and we don’t know why exactly, but PRP does seem to improve the condition of both your face and your scalp. One theory is that the plasma brings with it a bunch of growth factors (substances that trigger growth) that result in a reviving effect. If this is the case, then it’s no wonder that essentially flooding your scalp with the stuff works.
The theory behind low-level laser therapy is that by applying light stimulation to the follicles, you improve the circulation to the area and encourage hair growth.

The Procedures

So how does it all go down?


PRP treatment involves a number of steps. First you give blood. Your blood is then put in a centrifuge that spins it so fast it splits the blood into components: red blood cells, platelet-poor plasma, and platelet-rich plasma (AKA The Good Stuff). After that, the platelet-rich plasma is sucked into a syringe and transferred into the scalp by injection.


For laser treatment you sit on a reclining chair similar to a dentist’s. The light source is directed to your scalp through a helmet, an overhead panel, combs, a cap, or a hood, and you sit there catching those rays for up to 60 minutes. You’ll see results around 4-6 weeks post-procedure, and you’ll probably ne a number of sessions for optimum efficiency.

How Much Does It Cost?

Depending on the practice you look at prices for low-level laser therapy ranges from R3000 to R16000. The prices vary based on the clinic and number of treatments you want to get.


Also depending on the clinic and number of treatments, PRP costs anywhere from R2500 to R20 000 with the average cost being R2900.

Pros & Cons Of PRP & Low-Level Laser Therapy

Laser treatment for hair loss

Pros

  • It’s fairly painless
  • It’s non-invasive
  • Minimal side effects
  • Hair grows back stronger
  • You’re likely to see some results

Cons

  • It’s expensive and time consuming
  • It might not work for you
  • It can affect other medication you’re using
  • Long-term effects aren’t known yet

PRP for hair loss

Pros

  • Good results
  • Fairly painless when used in combination with local anaesthetic

Cons

  • Invasive procedure
  • Knowledge of PRP is still in its infancy
  • You may develop scar tissue
  • Potential complications including injury to nerves and blood vessels, infection, and calcification
  • Pricey and time consuming
  • If you have certain health conditions you could be rejected for this treatment

Alternatives

PRP and low-level laser therapy are pretty common hair loss treatments. They’re more invasive and inflammatory than topical treatments and they cost a good few bucks. For these reasons they’re both generally used as a supplement to more consistent, long-term hair loss treatments like Finasteride and Minoxidil.
We recommend getting a doctor’s input. You might find that other avenues of treatment might get you the results you want at a fraction of the cost and a whole lot less pain.

Final Thoughts

PRP and low-level laser therapy both hold some weight as reputable, effective, and generally safe hair loss treatments, but they are typically used as a supplement to your daily hair loss regimen because they’re pricey and a lot depends on the practitioner you use. Add in the fact that they might not always give results, it becomes a risky investment. Doing your research is key, and by making it this far you’ve started in the right direction. It’s always best to consult a professional and get their opinion – you might find that you can get the lush locks you want and save some cash in the process.

 


The articles published by &BAM are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. If you have any medical questions or concerns, you should contact your doctor.


 

References
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3565396/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30895745/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30393988/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944668/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944668/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26690359/
  7. https://www.healthline.com/health/laser-treatment-for-hair-loss
  8. https://www.healthline.com/health/prp-for-hair-loss#side-effects

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