My natural hair process has been happening for almost a decade now. I’ve worn my hair in protective styles here and there to help it grow over time. Then, two years ago, I wore a wig with clips that tugged at my braided hair underneath the wig. Along my edges on my crown’s right side, I experienced slow to no hair growth and very thin strands. For a couple of years, I tried all the remedies from different oil types to vitamins to different bonnets. Finally, I had a consultation with a dermatologist that I was able to ask about PRP.
PRP (platelet-rich plasma) has received significant attention in the fields of tissue engineering, wound healing, bone grafting, and trauma surgery in recent years. This is because PRP contains up to 30 times the amount of growth factors your blood normally contains, making it the liquid gold of tissue regeneration and restoration. PRP reverses baldness by stimulating multiple dimensions of hair follicle growth. It prevents hair-fall, thickens the hair shaft, increases shine and vitality, and decreases hair splitting and breakage.
For hair growth, this liquid gold is paired with micro-needling and injected into the desired place for regeneration. After trying everything under the sun, I went to the SLK clinic and decided to give it a shot! After all, I saw it on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. It must work.
Here’s the STEP-BY-STEP:
A collection tube containing a physical gel separator is obtained. This is a key step in ensuring platelets rise to the top of the tube, while larger inflammatory cells like granulocytes and red blood cells are filtered to the bottom of the tube. Many clinics use PRP systems without gel separators but we find it is critical to ensuring plasma quality.
My SLK provider drew blood into the collection tube. The collection tube is pH balanced, so the PRP does not produce a burning sensation when injected into the patient’s skin.
The collection tube is then placed into a centrifuge where it is spun for several minutes to separate the plasma from the red blood cells.
The nurse removes the collection tube from the centrifuge. The red and white blood cells are now located below the gel separator so they cannot contaminate the upper layer of plasma. The plasma layer is now yellow or straw-colored.
STEP 5: MATRIX FORMATION (PRFM)
Besides the use of a gel separator, another reason SLK’s PRP process differs from that of others’ is the activation of a matrix to support the platelets. Prior to injection, our RN/NPs initiate formation of a fibrin matrix (PRFM) in the tube by adding a small amount calcium chloride. This matrix provides a scaffold to keep platelets in place and to support prolonged growth factor release, resulting in prolonged stem cell activation. The PRP remains liquid for approximately 10 minutes before forming the matrix.
STEP 6: INJECTION
The platelet-rich plasma is now ready for injection. Small needles or cannulas will be used to inject the PRP into the subdermal layer of skin where the platelets may now release significant levels of growth factors while being securely retained in the fibrin matrix.
My appointment with the SLk clinic took less than 45 minutes. The NP explained each step above as she was doing it. Numbing cream was used to ease the pain for injection. The treated area was a bit red for about a day or so, and I was instructed not to bother it. It’s been almost a month since I had the procedure done, and I can tell that my hair is trying to grow a bit in that area. Results can take a few months. Multiple sessions may be necessary. I will keep you all posted on my results.