PRP Vs Minoxidil: Which One Is Better For Your Hair Growth?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Are you caught in the web of confusion, trying to decipher the difference between PRP and Minoxidil for hair growth? 

In the maze of hair restoration treatments, these two stand out as popular choices, each promising to restore your crowning glory. But which one trumps the other?

Welcome to our comprehensive guide that aims to demystify the puzzle of PRP vs. Minoxidil for hair growth. 

In this article, we will dissect both treatments, exploring their functionality, effectiveness, pros, and cons to empower you with knowledge and help you make an informed decision about your hair health. 

Summary

Choosing between PRP and Minoxidil for hair growth feels like navigating a complex maze. Each presents unique benefits and challenges, making the choice dependent on cost, convenience, individual health status, and personal preference. 

Ultimately, it's important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another, as hair loss can stem from various underlying causes. 

It is important to consult a healthcare provider or a dermatologist to make the most informed decision about your hair restoration journey. 

Whether you opt for the growth factor-rich power of PRP or the accessibility and affordability of Minoxidil, the goal remains the same: restoring the health and vitality of your hair.

What is PRP?

prp vs minoxidil

PRP, short for Platelet-Rich Plasma, is a non-surgical treatment that stimulates hair growth. It involves injecting platelet-rich plasma, obtained from your own blood, into your scalp to encourage the development of hair follicles.

PRP has gained significant recognition in the medical world for its healing properties. The process involves extracting a small amount of a patient's blood, which is then centrifuged to separate the platelet-rich plasma. 

This plasma is rich in growth factors, amino acids, and proteins that can promote cell repair and regeneration.

Regarding hair loss, the idea behind PRP is that injecting this plasma into scalp areas where hair loss has occurred can stimulate the hair follicles to grow. It's a natural and minimally invasive procedure because it uses the patient's blood. 

The treatment usually requires multiple sessions, and the results can vary based on individual responses and the extent of hair loss.

How does PRP increase hair growth?

PRP therapy for hair loss works by injecting platelet-rich plasma derived from the patient's blood into the scalp. The platelets in this plasma are rich in growth factors known to stimulate tissue regeneration. When introduced into areas of hair loss on the scalp, these growth factors can promote the activity of hair follicles and induce new hair growth.

Clinical Studies and Results

Let's look at some clinical studies that have been conducted on PRP and its effects on hair growth:

  1. A 2017 study published in "Eplasty" showed that PRP treatment led to significant hair regrowth in the patients, with no significant side effects reported. The study concluded that PRP injection is a safe, effective, and promising treatment for hair loss. 
  2. Another 2017 "Aesthetic Plastic Surgery" study found that PRP treatment could promote hair growth and increase hair diameter and density. The authors suggested that PRP could serve as an alternative treatment option for hair loss, especially for those who are not eligible for surgery or prefer a more aggressive non-surgical approach to treatment. 
  3. In a 2019 study published in "Dermatologic Surgery", the researchers found that PRP treatment improved hair density and thickness compared to a placebo. The study demonstrated that PRP is a safe and effective androgenetic alopecia (AGA) treatment option. 
  4. A meta-analysis published in the "Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology" 2020 reviewed 11 studies. It concluded that PRP treatment could significantly improve hair density in patients with androgenetic alopecia, but the effects on hair thickness were inconclusive. 

These studies, while promising, underscore the need for further research to understand the long-term impacts of PRP therapy on hair growth and to establish standardised treatment protocols.

What are the risks and side effects of PRP?

Like any treatment, PRP is not without potential risks and side effects, including:

  • Infection: Any procedure that involves injections carries a risk of infection, although it is usually relatively low if performed under sterile conditions.
  • Injury to blood vessels or nerves: Although rare, there's a slight chance of damaging blood vessels or nerves in the scalp during the injection process.
  • Scalp Sensitivity: Some patients might experience scalp sensitivity, pain, or discomfort at the injection site.
  • Headaches: Some people may experience mild headaches after the treatment.
  • Inflammation and Redness: The injection site may show signs of minor inflammation and redness, which typically resolve in a few days.
  • Temporary hair shedding: This is a rare side effect where patients notice increased hair shedding soon after the treatment. It's usually temporary and part of the hair cycle transition.

Always consult with a professional healthcare provider to understand the potential risks and benefits of PRP therapy in the context of your individual health status and goals.

What is the cost of PRP?

The cost of PRP treatments for hair loss can vary depending on the location, the doctor's experience, and the number of sessions required. On average, each session can range from $500 to $2,000. 

Typically, many sessions are required for optimal results, leading to a total cost of several thousand dollars. It's important to note that most health insurance plans do not cover PRP for hair loss, which is often considered a cosmetic procedure.

What is Minoxidil?

prp vs minoxidil

Minoxidil emerged in the 1980s as an effective treatment for hair loss. Initially, it was approved for addressing androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, in a 2% solution. As time progressed, stronger 5% solutions in liquid and foam became accessible, broadening the potential for more significant results.

Despite its original focus, Minoxidil has now evolved to treat various types of hair loss. These include:

  • Androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness)
  • Alopecia areata (sudden hair loss)
  • Chemotherapy-induced baldness
  • Hair loss from scarring alopecia
  • Hair loss following a hair transplant.
  • Monilethrix (a rare genetic hair disorder)
  • Genetic hair loss

While Minoxidil has proven its efficacy in numerous clinical studies against different types of hair loss, it's important to note that the FDA has only officially approved it for treating male pattern baldness. 

This doesn't diminish its potential effectiveness for other hair loss types, but it does indicate that more research is needed for broader official endorsements.

How does minoxidil increase hair growth?

Minoxidil, a topical medication, promotes hair growth by prolonging the growth phase of hair follicles. It enhances blood flow to the hair follicles, increasing the supply of nutrients and oxygen and stimulating hair growth. Minoxidil also enlarges miniaturised follicles, resulting in thicker, longer hair strands.

Clinical Studies and Results

Let's explore some of the clinical studies and their findings regarding the use of Minoxidil for hair growth:

  1. A study from 2002 published in "The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology" concluded that 5% Minoxidil was significantly more effective than 2% Minoxidil and placebo in increasing hair regrowth. It concluded that patients with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) benefited from using a 5% Minoxidil solution to stimulate hair growth. 
  2. Another 2015 study in the "American Journal of Clinical Dermatology" found that topical Minoxidil (2% and 5%) was more effective than a placebo for hair growth in men and women with androgenetic alopecia. 
  3. A meta-analysis from 2019 published in "The Journal of Dermatology" examined five randomised controlled trials and concluded that topical Minoxidil leads to significant hair regrowth in patients with androgenetic alopecia. 
  4. A review from 2020 in "Skin Appendage Disorders" suggested that Minoxidil can also be effective for other forms of hair loss, such as alopecia areata and chemotherapy-induced alopecia. 

These studies indicate that Minoxidil can be an effective treatment for various types of hair loss. However, it's important to remember that results can vary between individuals, and it can take several months of consistent use to see significant improvements.

What are the risks and side effects of Minoxidil?

While minoxidil is generally safe for most people, it can also cause side effects, including:

  • Scalp irritation: Similar to Nioxin, minoxidil may cause redness, itchy scalp, or dryness on the scalp.
  • Unwanted hair growth: Minoxidil can sometimes cause hair growth in unwanted areas if the medicine accidentally touches other body parts.
  • Changes in hair colour or texture: Some users have reported changes in hair colour or texture with prolonged use of minoxidil.

More severe side effects such as chest pain, rapid heartbeat, hormonal imbalances, faintness, or sudden, unexplained weight gain are rare but require immediate medical attention.

A safer alternative to PRP and Minoxidil

prp vs minoxidil alternative

The Bio-Pilixin® Serum by Scandinavian Biolabs is expertly formulated to help you in your journey against hair thinning and to encourage healthier-looking hair.

Uniquely designed with multiple plant growth factors cultivated through advanced stem cell technology, this serum nourishes hair follicles and promotes healthy hair growth at the root.

The Bio-Pilixin® Serum has been clinically tested and users have noted visible changes, with significant results evident in as little as 45 days.

Users of Bio-Pilixin® Serum have reported less hair shedding and healthier-looking hair. In a clinical study, 93% of users reported satisfactory results. 

This plant-powered serum is safe for daily use and designed to give your hair the care and stimulation it needs to thrive.

Every ingredient in the serum is of the highest quality, carefully selected based on a thorough review of scientific literature. 

Capilia Longa is a nutrient-rich medium derived from Curcuma longa stem cells that has been clinically demonstrated to reduce hair loss by up to 89–90% and improve hair density by 52%.

Niacinamide, another ingredient in the Bio-Pilixin® Serum, is known for its potential to improve the overall appearance of hair by improving blood flow and protecting hair follicles from premature death due to oxidative stress caused by pollution and UV rays.

The combination of these key ingredients in Bio-Pilixin® Serum is designed to support your hair care routine.

We offer a money-back guarantee after 150 days if you are not satisfied with your experience using Bio-Pilixin® Serum.

With Bio-Pilixin®, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain—starting with your hair!

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Minoxidil vs PRP: A comparative analysis

prp vs minoxidil

PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) and Minoxidil often come under scrutiny in the realm of hair loss treatments. While both are popular for combating hair loss, their effectiveness, cost, side effects, accessibility, treatment duration, and patient satisfaction vary. Let's delve into a comparative analysis of these two treatments:


Parameter

PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma)

Minoxidil

Effectiveness

Stimulates hair follicles using patient's own blood's growth factors

Increases blood flow to the hair follicles, promoting hair growth

Cost

Expensive ($500 to $2,000 per session)

Affordable ($20 to $100 per month)

Side Effects

Minor, related to the injection (infection, inflammation, minor pain)

Can cause scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth in nearby areas, and rare cases of heart palpitations

Accessibility

Needs a healthcare provider and clinical setting

Over-the-counter medication, widely available

Duration/Frequency of Treatment

Multiple sessions over several months

Daily treatment, ongoing use for sustained results

Patient Satisfaction

Varies; dependent on individual response

Varies; dependent on individual response and consistent use

Effectiveness

Both PRP and Minoxidil have shown effectiveness in promoting hair growth. By leveraging your blood's growth factors, PRP can stimulate hair follicle activity. 

At the same time, Minoxidil enhances blood flow to the hair follicles, resulting in increased hair density and length.

Cost 

PRP tends to be more expensive, with sessions ranging from $500 to $2,000, whereas Minoxidil, a topical treatment, is significantly cheaper, typically costing between $20 and $100 per month.

Side effects

PRP has few side effects, mainly related to the injection procedure, such as infection, inflammation, or minor pain. 

On the other hand, Minoxidil may cause side effects like scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth in nearby areas, and heart palpitations in rare cases.

Accessibility

Minoxidil, available over the counter, is more accessible than PRP, which requires a healthcare provider to perform the procedure in a clinical setting.

Duration and frequency of treatment

PRP usually requires multiple sessions spread over several months, while Minoxidil is a daily treatment that requires ongoing use for sustained results.

Patient satisfaction

Patient satisfaction can vary significantly for both treatments, as results are often subject to individual responses. Some may succeed more with PRP, while others see better results with consistent Minoxidil use.

PRP vs Minoxidil: Which one is right for you?

PRP, a natural and minimally invasive procedure, might be suitable for those seeking a biological approach to hair restoration, albeit at a higher cost. Minoxidil, a less expensive and easily accessible topical treatment, can be ideal for individuals seeking a more affordable and convenient option. 

However, ongoing daily use is required for sustained results. Always consult a healthcare proffessional to determine the most suitable treatment for your needs and conditions.

Conclusion

Choosing between PRP and Minoxidil for hair growth feels like navigating a complex maze. Each presents unique benefits and challenges, making the choice dependent on cost, convenience, individual health status, and personal preference. 

Ultimately, it's important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another, as hair loss can stem from various underlying causes. 

It is important to consult a healthcare provider or a dermatologist to make the most informed decision about your hair restoration journey. 

Whether you opt for the growth factor-rich power of PRP or the accessibility and affordability of Minoxidil, the goal remains the same: restoring the health and vitality of your hair.

FAQs

How quickly can I see results from PRP and Minoxidil treatments? 

The timeline for visible results varies between the two treatments. For PRP, improvements can typically be seen after 2-3 sessions every month apart. Minoxidil generally requires a consistent daily application for at least three to six months before noticeable hair growth is observed.

Can I use PRP and Minoxidil treatments together? 

Sometimes, healthcare providers recommend combining PRP and Minoxidil treatments to optimise hair growth. However, consulting with a professional is essential to understand this combined approach's potential benefits and risks.

Do I need to continue treatments indefinitely? 

With Minoxidil, the ongoing application is necessary to maintain hair growth; if you stop using it, hair loss can resume. PRP, however, typically involves a series of initial treatments and maintenance sessions every six-seven months to a year, depending on individual response.

References:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00266-017-0835-y 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5419033/ 
  3. https://journals.lww.com/dermatologicsurgery/Abstract/2019/05000/Platelet_Rich_Plasma_for_Androgenetic_Alopecia_.2.aspx 
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.13328 
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11807471/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25154736/ 
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30891735/ 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32158968/ 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/ 

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Dr Amy Revene M.B.B.S. graduated from the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. She is currently working as a General Physician at New Hope Medical Center. Amy has a passion for research and offers her expertise and opinions to help people in their quest to lead healthy, happy lives.