No one wants to think about the possibility of losing their hair. Reality is we all lose some of our hair, an average of 50 to 100 hair strands per day. But with over 100,000 hair follicles on our scalp, the loss of 100 hairs a day doesn’t make much difference in appearance.
But when those numbers increase, our hair begins to thin. There are several reasons this can happen, as we’ll discuss below. There is one common thread in this for men and women — no one likes losing their hair.
At Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, we offer two treatments for hair restoration, microneedling with platelet-rich plasma and exosome injections. Both methods help keep more of our hair follicles in the active growth phase, rather than lapsing into rest and then dormancy.
How common is hair loss?
Although full balding is more likely in men, women are nearly as likely as men to have thinning hair. Most women experience this in their 50s and 60s, but it can happen at any age for different reasons.
- Genetics — For women, the primary cause of hair loss is androgenic alopecia, female pattern hair loss. This is hereditary and affects about 30 million American women. Unlike men, whose hair tends to recede or become fully bald on the crown, women’s hair generally thins along the part line. Androgenic alopecia causes the hair follicles to shrink, leading to this thinning.
- Alopecia areata — This form of hair loss is more common in women than men. The immune system attacks the hair follicles, disabling them and causing small patches of hair to fall out.
- Medical conditions — Hair loss is common during pregnancy, with thyroid disorders, or due to anemia. Psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis can also lead to hair loss in women.
- Stress — Periods of extreme stress or physical trauma (say from surgery or illness) can cause hair loss. Even dramatic weight loss over a short period can affect the hair.
- Hairstyles — Tight braids and cornrow hairstyles can lead to hair loss through what is known as traction alopecia. Even too much brushing and blow drying can cause hair loss. In these cases, the hair will usually grow back when the stress is removed from the hair.
What is microneedling with PRP for hair restoration?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used by professional athletes for a couple decades to help speed healing after injury or surgery. PRP helps stimulate the healing process.
PRP is filled with seven growth factors and healing mechanisms. Growth factors are the messengers in the body, signaling cells to perform various functions. That’s why platelets are so important for wound healing, as they initiate new tissue growth. By putting the healing power of PRP to work on thinning hair, the growth factors help to “turn back on” hair follicles that have begun to spend more and more time resting.
The procedure for creating PRP is simple. We take a normal blood sample. This is placed in a centrifuge to separate out the red blood cells and concentrate the platelets and the growth factors. Now we have PRP.
This is where we do things a little differently at Austin Plastic Surgery. We add microneedling to the treatment. At this point, we use our SkinPen, which has 14 surgical-grade stainless steel microneedles, and pass it across the areas where your hair is thinning. The microneedles oscillate up and down as the SkinPen handpiece is moved. We set the depth to a shallower degree than we do for facial microneedling, as the skin on the scalp is not anywhere near as thick. The hundreds of microscopic punctures created by the microneedling then initiate a wound-healing response in the skin. This is a popular method for facial skin rejuvenation, but we also use it for hair restoration for our patients from Austin and the surrounding areas.
Once the microneedling is complete, your scalp is then primed for the application of the PRP, as the hundreds of microscopic channels down through the outer scalp provide easy access. We apply your PRP across your thinning areas, either topically or through dozens of shallow injections.
Then we let the PRP do its magic. Over time, it encourages the hair follicles to spend more time in the growth phase of the hair lifecycle. It also helps follicles that have recently moved into dormancy to return to growth.
Austin Cosmetic Medspa by Christine Fisher MD
- Known for advanced aesthetic medicine and skincare treatments that scientifically and safely create a natural-looking result.
- Providers have a combined 30+ years of experience in cosmetic dermatology and medical aesthetics.
- Treatments administered by Sandy Lanier, PA-C; Katie Bertling, RN, LE; Lara Montfort, BSN, RN; Jeremy Porche, CRNA; and Africa Maldonado, MA.
- Offers full range of medical-grade skincare products to improve skin quality and treat aging skin.
- 4.9-star average rating over hundreds of online reviews for non-surgical laser and injectable treatments.
Download Our Skin Care & Non-Surgical Rejuvenation Post-Procedure Care Guides
We've compiled detailed post-operative care instructions to best equip our skincare & non-surgical rejuvenation patients throughout their recovery process. To ensure the best and safest recovery, your plan encompasses appropriate prescriptions and clear directions towards maintaining your comfort to get you back to normal life and activity as soon as possible. Individual patients respond uniquely, and the type of procedure may differ, but these basic guidelines will help you along your journey.
What are exosomes for hair restoration?
Exosome therapy is one of the newest hair restoration treatments in the aesthetic world. It is similar to PRP, but the hair restoration benefits provided by exosomes could be even better.
Exosomes are extracellular vesicles, a thousandth the size of a cell. Exosomes come from donated human mesenchymal stem cells in bone marrow. They are purified in a sterile filtering process for use in various regenerative treatments, including hair restoration.
Exosomes contain microRNA and an assortment of growth factors. They also have over one thousand signaling proteins that promote functions in the body from regeneration to fighting inflammation and warding off potential tumor formation. On the scalp, exosomes turn back on hair follicles that are trending toward dormancy or have recently become dormant.
These are simple treatments. We numb your areas of thinning hair. We then inject the exosomes at shallow depth across those areas. From there the growth boosting capabilities of the exosomes get to work.
Are these injections painful?
We apply topical numbing anesthetic across your thinning areas prior to your treatment with both microneedling with PRP and exosomes. We inject these materials into the scalp using a special syringe with three needles. The PRP and exosomes are injected at approximately every half inch across the area of thinning hair. The injections are not at any depth, so they aren’t painful.
How long will it take to start growing hair?
The goal with these treatments is to first stem the patient’s hair loss. Most patients first notice decreased hair shedding. From there, real growth usually is noticeable after the first two to three months.