Alopecia areata affects 0.1% to 0.2% of the population. It results in well defined circular patches of hair loss spread sporadically over the scalp in men and women as well the beard regions of men. The patches of hair loss can vary significantly in their distribution and can indeed merge together to result in much larger areas of hair loss or in fact total hair loss. The cause of alopecia areata is not completely understood but is very likely to have an autoimmune cause whereby the body’s own immune system attacks hair follicles in the scalp and beard.

Treatment options for alopecia areata include the use of intra-lesional steroid injections (steroid injections into the patches of hair loss) as well as systemic corticosteroids in the form of tablets. Other more marginal treatment options do exist, however, steroid resistant alopecia areata can be extremely difficult to treat and be the source of significant psychological distress for sufferers of the condition.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is rapidly gaining a reputation for a wide variety of uses in the field of medicine. It has been used for years in cardiothoracic, orthopaedic and plastic surgery. It has now taken on real significance in aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. PRP treatment comprises using your own platelets, harvested from your own blood, concentrated and then applied to the region of interest. When activated and subsequently injected in high concentrations, platelets are able to attract large numbers of critical growth factors that instigate a powerful inflammatory response as well invigorating the local blood supply.

Treatment options for alopecia areata include the use of intra-lesional steroid injections (steroid injections into the patches of hair loss) as well as systemic corticosteroids in the form of tablets. Other more marginal treatment options do exist, however, steroid resistant alopecia areata can be extremely difficult to treat and be the source of significant psychological distress for sufferers of the condition.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is rapidly gaining a reputation for a wide variety of uses in the field of medicine. It has been used for years in cardiothoracic, orthopaedic and plastic surgery. It has now taken on real significance in aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. PRP treatment comprises using your own platelets, harvested from your own blood, concentrated and then applied to the region of interest. When activated and subsequently injected in high concentrations, platelets are able to attract large numbers of critical growth factors that instigate a powerful inflammatory response as well invigorating the local blood supply.

The result is that when injected into the face it can have a powerful rejuvenating effect helping to tighten skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. When injected into scars and stretch marks it can help them to remodel and improve. When injected into chronic wounds it can help to accelerate the healing process. It has even been used for penile enhancement and for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in the form of the popularised ‘p-shot’. Finally, when injected into the scalp, and in the right patient, PRP has been shown to reduce hairloss and reactivate dormant hair follicles and result in increased hair growth. This is especially the case in androgenic alopecia, also known as male and female pattern hair loss.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been shown to have huge promise in the treatment of alopecia areata. Indeed, evidence is gathering to suggest that PRP could be a real alternative to steroid treatment, especially where patches are proving very resistant to conventional approaches. At Rejuvence Clinic we specialise in the use of PRP for a variety of anti-ageing concerns, especially hair loss in the form of male and female pattern hair loss as well as alopecia areata. We pride ourselves on empowering our clients with all the information they need prior to embarking on a course of treatments. Hence, we only offer evidence based treatments. Evidence based medicine concerns the use and adoption of treatments that have been scientifically proven to work.

This month, Dr Moustafa El Taieb and his team, based at Aswan University, Egypt, published the results of a trial comparing the use of 5% Minoxidil (commonly found in products such as ‘Regain’) with PRP in the treatment of alopecia areata in 90 patients. This research was published in the Dermatologic Therapy. Patients were divided into 3 groups of 30. One group was treated with 5% minoxidil. One group was treated with PRP and the final group was treated with a placebo. PRP treatment for alopecia areata involved 3 sessions of PRP injections into the bare patches spaced 4 weeks apart. Minoxidil was in the the form of a topical gel.

Both minoxidil and PRP were found to be significantly more effective in the treatment of alopecia areata than placebo. However, PRP was more effective in patchy alopecia and resulted in earlier and better response than minoxidil.

Dr El Taieb’s findings were in keeping with those of Dr Singh who published research in 2015, concluding that PRP had a definite role to play in the treatment of alopecia areata. This was after Dr Singh treated 20 patients with PRP for alopecia areata and obtained excellent positive results in 19 of them. He also noted that those treated with PRP did not suffer from recurrence of symptoms on stopping treatment whereas those being treated with minoxidil often suffered a rebound hair loss. This has also been a feature of the use of minoxidil in the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss. In other words, those using topical minoxidil for male and female pattern hair loss often suffer significant increased hair loss when they stop treatment. Dr Jeff Donovan published a case report in 2015 highlighting the success he had with the use of PRP in a case of steroid resistant alopecia areata.

Dr Bagherins, based in Iran, published an article in Dermatologic Therapy in 2016, where he discussed the findings of a study conducted by Dr Trink in 2013. Dr Trink conducted a high level study consisting of 45 patients with alopecia areata who received intra-lesional steroid injections to one half of their head and PRP injections to the other half. Neither the patients nor the doctors asked to review response to treatments were made aware of which lesions were treated with which. Dr Trink concluded that PRP was indeed a safe and alternative option to intralesional steroids and may indeed help to avoid the potential side effects and complications associated with intra-lesional and systemic steroid therapy.

At Rejuvence Clinic we have recognised that PRP is potentially a viable alternative to steroids and minoxidil for the treatment of alopecia areata. At Rejuvence Clinic we specialise in PRP treatments for a wide variety of anti-ageing concerns. We use the Dracula PRP system, devised by Dr Daniel Sister, otherwise regarded as the Godfather of PRP in the UK. We inject the PRP at varying depths and our use of the U225 Meso Gun means we are able to administer scalp and skin treatments in an almost painless manner as well achieving excellent penetration into the skin and even and accurate distribution of PRP. Our Rejuvence Regrow Intense package in extremely competitively priced at £995 and consists of 4 sessions of PRP combined with micro needling. These are spread over a course of 3 months and can be followed up with maintenance sessions every 6 months at a discounted price. Please have a look at our page on alopecia areata for further information.