At the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, Dr. Rapaport educated physicians on a simple technique using platelet-rich plasma to achieve hair regrowth. Amazingly, there are at 50 million men and 30 million women who suffer from hair loss. By the time a male is 50, half of his peers will be affected by hair loss.

This weekend was a refresher of the same things we, as dermatologists, have used for treatment of hair loss, mostly with little effect or patient satisfaction. Rogaine, Propecia or its generic finasteride, the newer Qilib, hair transplantation and the multitude of over-the counter products which promise hair restoration, thickening and regrowth only seem to work so well. Even transplantation, which continues to improve with time, especially using robotics, is limited by the natural aging and progression associated with hair loss.

Enter platelet-rich plasma. There is a ton of data out there on PRP, but mostly in Asia and Europe. There is very little documentation on the subject in the U.S. Unfortunately, it has left many of my colleagues with skepticism on this non-FDA approved regenerative treatment for hair restoration, as well as cosmetic facial dermatology. Platelet rich plasma is, in fact, FDA-approved for bone grafting—a procedure performed by orthopedic surgeons.

I began using the original harvest PRP five years ago when I brought in a blood bank centrifuge and spun down the blood and serum to its original form. I used in under the eyes in an area for which there is few solutions to the tissue paper aging effect of that delicate skin which continues to age and worsen over time causing lines, wrinkles and dark circle. Newer technology emerged with a company named Selphyl. I saw better results and continued using them, however due to the expected and necessary platelet activation which occurred immediately with this product, I was held to a timer of ten minutes or less in order to inject it before the product would form a gel, rather than a thin liquid.

Two years ago, I found Eclipse. Eclipse is a company based on the improvement of a product that was even more robust than its Selphyl predecessor, and one which had no time constraints in terms of injection time required. With time we have discovered other uses of PRP besides simply facial rejuvenation. It works wonderfully applied topically post-ablative procedures such as Halo, Fraxel, microlaser peels, chemical peens and microneedling, decreasing wound healing time by ½, and improving our clinical outcomes significantly by giving a much-needed boost to the collagen by concentrating these all-important growth factors.

Today, Dr. Rappaport laid out in a simple protocol his experience and results in the area of hair restoration. He acquired his information through multiple journals across the pond, but provides a wonderful solution to his patients in New York.

Typically, a series of 2-4 injections are required to stimulate the dermal papillae which is located down under the dermis at the layer of the dermal-fat junction. When used alone or in combination with things like oral finasteride or topical Qilib, results are unprecedented.

Now we have a newer and better solution for men and women who are silently suffering from the diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia, or male and female-pattern baldness. It is also a great application for us after hair transplantation since the transplant affects the areas and follicles where the transplant occurred, but does not address the continue issue of ongoing hair loss that these patients suffer. By adding in PRP post-transplantation, patients will continue to see the fullness and thickening of the hair they desire and expect.