“Vampire” Hair Growth

Heard about the vampire facial? Step aside and let’s chat about vampire hair growth!!

Most of you out there have probably heard about the “vampire facial”, an anti-aging skin therapy that basically uses your own blood to restore youthful looking skin.   What you probably haven’t heard about is using a similar process to help combat hair loss. Sound creepy? It IS!! And where can I sign up? But first, some information.

Quick chat about women’s hair loss.

Hair loss is a fairly common concern for men and women alike, but for women in their late 40’s and early 50’s hair loss can be quite impressive.  And not in a good way. The rate of hair loss can increase dramatically due to hormone shifts around the time of peri-menopause and menopause.

Current treatment strategies for hair loss include: Birth control pills, Rogaine topically, Spironolactone (a blood pressure medication that can block testosterone receptors in the hair follicle) and even Propecia for men, but used in women.  The issue with these drugs is that they may have significant side effects and must be used continuously or else hair loss will return.  Check out my prior post on female pattern hair loss for more details about causes and things you can do to improve your health and hair loss.  

What is PRP for hair loss?

PRP refers to platelet-rich plasma.  PRP is a part of your own blood that is rich in growth factors.  These growth factors can help improve blood flow and delivery of nutrients to the hair follicle to promote new hair growth.   Preliminary studies  using PRP have been published in the journal Stem Cell Transplant Medicine showing clinical benefit for patients treated with PRP compared to the control group.  The treated group showed:

  • Increased hair thickness
  • Increased hair count
  • Microscopic evidence of increased blood flow to the area treated

What is involved?

  1. Draw blood from your arm.  
  2. Put the tube of blood into a centrifuge machine to spin the blood and separate the red blood cells from the plasma.
  3. The plasma, rich in platelets and growth factors is treated to “activate” the platelets
  4. Inject the PRP directly into the scalp at the level of the hair follicles.
  5. The injections are spaced about every ½ inch over the area of thinning hair.  
  6. The whole thing takes about ½ an hour.

What are the risks involved?

It’s not so much risky as it is….….uncomfortable.  (That’s the word doctors use so that patients don’t run screaming down the hallway.)  Really, what DID you think needles to the scalp would feel like? So if you are a guy it’s excruciating.  If you are a woman, it’s uncomfortable but tolerable. Ice packs can help numb the pain, but there is no real numbing option available.   Bruising could occur but resolves within a week or two. The downtime is about 24 to 48 hours of leaving your hair and head alone. Hot shower with no soap is fine after a day to help the blood flow.  

Who can PRP help?

Anyone with hair loss is a candidate for PRP treatment, but it’s best to use it early on and not after you have experienced years of hair loss.  It is a great option for androgenetic alopecia, the most common genetically related cause of hair loss.  This is often the kind that affects women in their 40s and 50s.   It has also been studied in patients with a stress-related autoimmune cause of hair loss called alopecia areata.   In general because it helps blood flow and stimulates growth, it could be helpful for all types of hair loss.

How many treatments do you need?

You need one treatment a month for 4 months.  At this point you should start to see some benefit.  However, the more treatments you do, the better the response. Recall that hair growth cycles are 4 month cycles, so that’s the earliest you will see results.  

Maintenance is required every 3 to 6 months afterward to continue to stimulate the growth factors that prevent hair from falling out and promote regrowth.   If you see absolutely no benefit after 4 to 6 months, then this may not be the right treatment option for you.

How often does it work? 

The studies are ongoing but most physicians performing this procedure report that 50-70% of patients report improvements in hair thickness.  This has been our experience as well.  It works better for top and back of the head hair than for receding hairline or frontal hair loss but it has been reported to help all areas.

Bottom line

PRP is a cutting edge, additional approach to hair loss that can help reduce continuing hair loss and stimulate regrowth.  It is a great option to use if you wish to avoid medication or if you want to enhance the benefit you receive from your current hair loss treatments.   In my office we typically pair this treatment with the right supplement support, targeting specific nutrient deficiencies as well as treatment to reduce inflammation.   Find out more about hair loss treatment. Read my article and then speak with your provider about what you can do!!

What I Do To Avoid Traveler’s Diarrhea

Nothing ruins a trip faster than Montezuma’s revenge.  That and losing your luggage.  And finding out that your plane left the day before.  Or sitting next to a farting dog.  I speak from (sadly) direct experience.  Back to the diarrhea story.  Keeping your gut health in tip top shape requires 3 things:

  • Excellent hygiene practices
  • Preventive supplement strategies
  • A Doctor’s bag of tricks should Montezuma strike

Hygiene Practices

You are going to come in contact with germs.  That’s a given.  But take some precautions along the way to reduce your exposure when you can. 

  • Bring a hand-sanitizer with you everywhere and use it liberally.  Definitely use before you put something in your mouth.   Try to avoid the commercial brands that are full of harmful chemicals. You can make your own or this brand is a great alternative.  
  • Drink directly from bottled water and don’t pour it into a glass.  Avoid ice (lord knows where THAT came from)
  • Avoid salad, uncooked veggies and fresh fruit you haven’t peeled yourself.
  • Don’t eat at a food truck.  Do you really want to take that risk?  For one thing, your digestive system has never EVER encountered the likes of whatever is happening outside of your home turf.  Don’t submit to the temptation.

Preventive Supplement Strategy

This is stuff that I take on a daily basis while traveling.

  • First, I boost my daily probiotics.  I take 2 capsules daily — one saccharomyces boulardii probiotic (Sacro B from Thorne Research) and one multi-strain probiotic blend like Orthobiotic from Orthomolecular.
  • Second, I take an adrenal support formula to help reduce the stress related to traveling.  I love Adrenomend by Douglas Labs.  Take 2 capsules in the morning or HPA axis by Gaia, 2 capsules in the morning.
  • Third, I take an immune booster, like Myco-immune by Thorne Research (1 dropperful twice a day) or a SBI protect, an immunogloblulin formula that gives you some antibody support at the front line….your gut.  You can also use colostrum to do the same thing.  SBI protect is colostrum on steroids.Take 4 capsules daily as prevention.

Your Personal Bag of Tricks if you start to feel something a brewing…

The second I feel something is not right with me — stomach rumbling, feeling achy, some nausea, fatigue– I start reaching into my bag of tricks…..

  • Paraguard — a fabulous combo formula from integrative therapeutics with herbals designed to repel parasites and bacterial freeloaders.  3 caps a day.
  • Oregano Oil — A great all-in-one bug killer 2 caps 3 times/day.
  • Increase your probiotics to 2 caps 2x/day especially the sacro B which is great for diarrhea
  • SBI protect — an immunoglobulin formula – literally antibodies to bind up all the evil traveling through your precious gut. Take 4 caps twice a day until diarrhea subsides.

Be prepared and make your trip a memorable one for all the right reasons!  Hope this helps.

Please Share the Health if you liked what you read.!!!  

For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com.  Look! You are already here.Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!