For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume you already know a little about scalp micropigmentation and how it works. If you’re not sure, or you’re in the early stages of your research, see this article I wrote recently for an introduction.
I’m also going to assume that you know much less (if anything) about platelet rich plasma treatment for hair loss, most commonly known as PRP. In most cases this is a fairly safe assumption because PRP is still in the process of gaining the recognition that (I believe) it rightly deserves.
So what exactly is PRP?
The easiest way to describe this treatment is as follows. Blood is extracted from the patient and is spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the red blood cells, and create an incredibly rich plasma. This is injected back into the scalp, and is intended to stimulate activity in the hair follicles. The treatment has been used in cosmetic applications for years. Kim Kardashian famously had PRP in her face to stimulate the production of collagen. In terms of hair loss treatment however, PRP is still very much in its infancy. For more specific information about standalone PRP check out Evolve Hair Clinic in the United States, and Vinci Hair Clinic in Europe and South America.
There is a lot of debate about whether or not PRP can re-awaken dormant follicles, as not even established treatments like finasteride and minoxidil can do that, despite what you may have heard. My belief based on what I have read and been told, is that PRP cannot cause dormant follicles to start producing hair again, but it can probably help to revive follicles that will soon be dormant. These follicles typically play host to the very fine ‘baby’ hair that your regular hair is reduced to before it is lost. As these follicles are still active, I believe that in some cases, platelet rich plasma treatment can help these follicles produce thicker and more resilient hair.
How can SMP and PRP be used together?
It is important to recognise that scalp micropigmentation and PRP are at opposite ends of the hair restoration spectrum. Scalp micropigmentation replicates hair that is lost, whilst PRP attempts to regrow and stabilise real hair. On the face of it, there is little point in having PRP treatment if you’re planning to have scalp micropigmentation anyway, however there are two possible applications I can see in this regard that are worth considering.
The first is as a last ditch preventative measure before ultimately committing to SMP. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan or advocate of trying every hair loss remedy under the sun for the sake of it. This strategy will just make you depressed and broke, so what’s the point? There are however certain treatments that are proven to work in some cases, so at least there is a compelling reason to try them out, aside from the proliferation of false hope. For many years these treatments have numbered just two – finasteride and minoxidil – however, I believe PRP may finally provide a third viable option.
For the purpose of clarity, scalp micropigmentation is not a ‘last resort’ for most people, in fact the majority of people who have SMP skip the interim treatments and head straight for their chosen clinic. Some people however try to keep their real hair for as long as possible, and it is this group who may find PRP most useful. You’ll also notice that I make no mention of hair transplant surgery. That’s because I view hair surgery as a remedial measure like SMP, not as a preventative measure like PRP.
The second scenario is all about texture. Many people prefer their heads to have some sort of ‘feel’ after scalp micropigmentation, so that if their partner, friend (or whoever) rubs their head, they can feel real hair there. They understandably believe that realism of their new ‘hair’ is enhanced by having what is commonly referred to as the ‘sandpaper’ effect when their head is rubbed.
Personally I think the concept of texture is overrated. I had SMP about 18 months ago and I don’t think anyone, except my wife, has rubbed my scalp since then.