You might have seen a video I posted last year about my hair. I got PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy for a balding spot and was really happy with the results. We interviewed my clinician Dr Janice Brown at Sandown Dental & Implant Clinic in Belfast about this newish treatment modality that practice owners looking to add extra revenue channels without much effort after lockdown will be interested in.
Janice, how was demand for this before lockdown?
We had an ad running on local radio but we noticed prior to that people were coming in and already knew about PRP. They found us through Google and our website. There seems to be a well informed client base that’s struggling to find what they need. I think there are more bespoke hair loss clinics in the US that advertise better than over here. I’m doing an MSc in Aesthetic Medicine and am currently focusing on hair loss. When you Google hair loss the amount of things coming up is incredible, there are a lot of things being advertised but the level of science really varies. With PRP the evidence is emerging, and better evidence is coming through now with randomised control trials. There’s more scientific weight behind it than a few years ago when we started it, so I think that is driving demand.
Who’s your typical patient?
They already know a lot about hair loss. They’ve already tried a couple of solutions. The two main things they’ve tried are Minoxidil and Finasteride. Minoxidil has lots of scientific evidence behind it but patient compliance is key, it needs to be applied to the hair twice a day and many patients fail to comply, it’s like asking a patient to floss, many don’t do it. When you send men home with a tooth whitening kit typically they’ll do it twice then get bored. This is similar. Finasteride is a tablet that’s given mostly to men. It’s a hormone blocker and is typically used for male pattern baldness. The main side effect is impotency and loss of libido because the drug blocks the production of testosterone. While we know these two options are effective many people don’t want to comply with them.
So what’s the appeal of PRP for these patients?
There’s no compliance needed apart from attending your treatments. It’s not invasive and side effects are minimal. It’s taken from your own blood, we spin it in a centrifuge and remove the platelet rich plasma that contains your growth factors, and inject them to stimulate your follicles. You do need to have follicles present, so it doesn’t work on areas that are already bald. You need to come in with thinning hair. The response varies from person to person but even someone having a hair transplant can benefit from PRP either before or afterwards because it stimulates the follicles so it improves the condition of the site. At Sandown we use PRP for other applications such as accelerated healing for dental implants. That’s why we got the equipment initially, and for any practice doing implants and facial aesthetics it’s a no brainer.
How much do you charge?
We offer three treatments for £800. We could easily charge more. These are a month apart, then patients are advised to do one every four or six months depending on their results. The results need to be maintained, this isn’t a one off treatment, so it’s a good long term revenue generator as a repeat purchase. Hair takes at least three months to fully respond, that’s due to the hair cycles of growing, resting and falling out. On the third visit if the hair still isn’t responding we might treat them again at four months before we leave a longer gap of up to six months.
Was the PRP equipment a large investment?
It’s one of the more expensive pieces of kit we have but it wasn’t ridiculous. We use it for facial aesthetic treatments too including a skin renewal treatment called the vampire facial which Kim Kardashian made famous. We also use it on hands and chests. It can be applied anywhere on the body really.
Janice is teaching PRP on an upcoming PG Cert course to register your interest email [email protected].