I’ve tried it all.
From hair extensions to supplements and switching to chemical-free shampoos and conditioners. My hair has always been an uphill battle. I never had thick hair, but after having Diego, my hair really started falling out and I started seeing the effects of hair loss. I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease (a thyroid disorder) which also caused me to lose hair. In other words, I was in desperate need of some hair help!
For a while, I had extensions in and I loved them! But recently I decided that I was just masking the problem of my hair loss and decided to start addressing the problem head-on. So, off came the extensions, and I was left with short hair (which to be honest, took me a long time to get used to, haha!) It was then I decided to try the PRP Hair Treatment as well as adjust my whole hair routine to encourage healthy hair. If you’re experiencing any of the same things, you are in the right place.
RELATED: Dealing with Post Pregnancy Hair Loss: My Tips
My Hair Routine
One of the first steps I took to grow my hair faster was to change up my hair routine. I started incorporating the following steps into my day to day activity.
- I only wash my hair every 3 days
- Scalp massage with organic castor oil 2-3 times a week
- I take Nutrafol daily
- I also use the Theradome twice a week
While it is tedious and takes some time getting used to, I’ve found that these things have actually helped my hair grow. And for those wondering, the days when I don’t wash my hair, I love to use the Dry Shampoo from Primally Pure.
When I do wash my hair, these are the shampoos that I use.
YOUR Hair Routine
If you’re looking to jump-start your hair routine, my first hair growth tip is to get on a schedule. Screenshot the following schedule I’ve created to get your routine going. Please note that this schedule is meant to be a jumping off point. After you reach Sunday, keep it going by washing your hair every third day and incorporating castor oil scalp massages and Theradome usage to create a schedule that works for you.
Not only did I add some steps to make my hair better, but I also made some swaps with some of the tools I use every day. That said, my second hair growth tip is to find hair-safe accessories. Here are some of the ones I like:
RELATED: My Experience with Natural Beaded Weft Hair Extensions
Interview with Dr. Zen
Now to the big treatment I did and my third hair growth tip: the PRP Hair Treatment. Dr. Zen is the one who did my PRP hair treatment and I have been so grateful for all of her knowledge and expertise throughout the whole process. So much so, I asked her to share a little bit about the treatment! Check out the interview.
What causes premature hair loss in women? What is normal hair loss and what is not?
There are a variety of causes of premature hair loss seen in women, which is why it is so important to work with a physician who will take a comprehensive look into your health. Finding the cause of your unique premature hair loss will allow your physician to specifically address that concern. This is why I highly recommend consulting with a licensed naturopathic physician. (the best resource to find a qualified naturopathic physician in your area is the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians).
Some of the causes of premature hair loss in women include:
- Thyroid Disorders
- Low Iron or Low Ferritin
- Heavy Metal
- Adrenal Disorders
- Nutrient Deficiencies
- Restrictive weight loss diets
- Not eating enough protein – I am not saying you have to eat meat to get your adequate protein intake, however, if you are not eating meat, you need to make sure you are getting adequate protein from plant-based products.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is normal to lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair per day. As women, we are more likely to lose closer to 100-150 strands per day depending on how often we color and style our hair.
If you are worried about hair loss, you can perform the “pull test”. Start by finding a small area of clean, dry hair and run your finger through it, tugging gently once you get to the ends of your hair. If you notice more than 10 hairs per about 100 strands coming out, it is likely time to consult with your doctor. It is also more common for women to lose hair during their menstrual cycle, so if you are using the pull test, please perform it about 1 week away from your period.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Hair Treatment?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a natural treatment that uses components found in your own blood to stimulate hair growth. You may have heard of this treatment for other areas including in pain management as well as for skin rejuvenation (also known as the Vampire Facelift).
The reason this treatment has become so popular is because it uses your unique blood to help stimulate your own hair growth which significantly reduces the risk of negative reactions as the only thing that is injected is your own plasma. There are no syntenic fillers or toxins injected.
The way PRP works is based on the understanding that Platelets (which are normally found in your blood plasma) promote healing and tissue healing and regeneration. Think of platelets as the cells in your blood that typically help you heal from a cut or wound. They create the scab. For hair restoration, the platelets in PRP help stimulate inactive or newly implanted hair follicles into an active growth phase leading to hair growth.
Who is the treatment for?
This is a great treatment to help someone with mild to moderate hair loss/ hair thinning. I highly recommend having a consultation prior to your first PRP treatment, as not everyone is a good candidate for this treatment. One of the main types of patients that I believe are not good candidate are those with chronic hair loss. The whole point of PRP is to active inactivated hair follicles however if your hair follicles are already dead, PRP will not bring these follicles back to life.
When I consult with patients, I often want to make sure we are not only treating the hair but also identifying the most likely root cause of their pre-mature hair loss (like I mentioned earlier, thyroid, adrenal, heavy metal, nutrition and etc). Make sure your doctor is looking at your overall health as this will play a big role in the treatment being successful.
You should not have PRP done if you have any of the following conditions:
- History of malignancies (mostly skin)
- Platelet disorders
- Anemia or bleeding disorders
- Current anticoagulant therapies (aspirin, Warfarin, etc)
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- HIV +
- Hepatitis B or C
- Active skin disease or infection at the treatment area
- Regular use of steroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS)
- History of immunosuppression (chemotherapy, steroid therapy, etc)
If you are unsure about any of the above-mentioned condition, ask your doctor before your first treatment.
What are the different stages of the process? How long is the process total?
Step 1) Draw your blood. (typically for hair treatments 11ml are drawn)
Step 2) Your blood will be spun in a centrifuge. This will help separate your red blood cells from the platelet rich plasma.
Step 3) The platelets are removed and placed into a syringe. (on average for every 11ml of blood drawn you will get about 5-7ml of PRP.
Step 4) The platelet rich plasma is injected into the scalp. (See Video Below)
Does the PRP treatment actually work? Does it have a good success rate and does it work for everyone?
PRP definitely works but the treatment requires multiple cycles so it is important for patients to understand this is a treatment that requires consistency. Of course, just like any other treatment, there is no guarantee it will work for everyone which is why I recommend patients complete three full cycles before determining if the treatment is providing them with results. Each cycle is completed three to six weeks apart.
What hair routine would you recommend for someone who is trying to grow more hair?
It is really important to nourish the hair as much as possible so avoiding heat, excessive washing, and putting your hair up is important. I recommend to patients that if they need heating tools to style their hair, to use good quality products that have temperature controls. This will allow you to reduce the heat exposure given. I also recommend you leave your hair down as much as possible. Hair ties can damage your already fragile hair.
Make sure to wash your hair, at most, three times a week. Over washing your hair can deplete your hair of essential nutrients.
Castor Oil hair masks are an easy and very effective way to help you stimulate hair growth. I have used this treatment on many patients including patients wanting to stimulate hair growth after treatments like chemotherapy.
If possible, use less toxic hair dyes or go less often. If you are someone who loves coloring your hair, consider using less toxic hair dyes or completing treatments like balayage, which can be done once every six months. The fewer toxins you expose to your hair the better.
How much does the treatment cost?
Treatments vary however they typically range from $350 – 500 per cycle. Remember that you will need to commit to at least three cycles so the investment really is more like $1050 – $1500.
I know this seems expensive, but if you compare it to a hair transplant *which on average is about $10,000 – $15,000 PRP is a fraction of the cost.
Who is the right person to perform the treatment? A doctor?
Always make sure you do your research before completing this or any treatment for that matter. It is really important to find someone who not only understands how to do the procedure but looks at the root cause for why you are losing your hair in the first place. This is why I highly recommend getting treatments done with a physician.
Are there any products you can recommend?
- One of my favorite shampoo companies is Living Nature.
- Cold Press Castor Oil – (available at any Sprouts or health foods store) can be an affordable and easy way to stimulate hair follicles at home.
- Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner
- Favorite Dry Shampoo – Acure Organic Dry Shampoo
About Dr. Zen…
I’m Dr. Alissia Zenhausern, NMD, (but my patients call me Dr. Zen for short). I am a naturopathic physician practicing at my private practice, NMD Wellness of Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona. My ultimate goal as a naturopathic doctor is to educate, empower and inspire women to take control of their own health, naturally. Today, I work with a variety of women with a variety of conditions, including hormone disorders, preconception detoxing, gut health as well as anti-aging. My goal is to get to the root cause of disease instead of using a medication or supplement to cover up symptoms. As a naturopathic physician, I am a primary care physician, which means I can still prescribe pharmaceuticals when necessary, however, over the years, I have seen that natural treatments not only work but are much more effective in the long term care of chronic disease. Along with seeing patients in my private practice, I also have been featured as a top expert in natural medicine for publications like Elite Daily, Shape Magazine, Healthy Ways and Forbes. I love working with women to help them optimize their health naturally. Feel free to connect with me on social media @drzennmd. I love answering your questions and providing you credible information about all things health and wellness.
I have been dealing with what I have been told is Androgenic Alopecia with TE for 5 years now. I tried PRP recently having 3 sessions one month apart. at week six I noticed more shedding and was scared to do my last session. My hair continued and continues to shed more than I have ever experienced in my life. It have been about 4 months since my first session. I have read article after article finding no one with my experience. It has been all positive. I’m I all alone here? Has this happened to anyone else?
Dear Dr. Zen,
Thanks for the informative article, I would like to have some clarity on the post PRP therapy. Is it necessary / mandatory to start using Minoxidil after / while you are on PRP therapy?
Your response on this will be highly appreciated.
Here is DR Zen’s response: Hi there! In regards to your question about the use of Minoxidil after and while you are on PRP therapy, this is not mandatory and in my practice I have not seen added benefit of incorporating Minoxidil and PRP. I do like to remind patients that PRP takes time and depending on the extent of hair loss, don’t get discouraged if you don’t notice instant results after only one cycle. Patients typically notice improvement between cycles 2-5. I also believe hair loss is often a sign of an internal imbalance so I think it is critical to address those internal imbalances in order to get the best results. For example, some of the causes of hair loss can include, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), heavy metals, malabsorption, thyroid disorder, gut dysbiosis, and etc.