PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Hormones, disease, genetics: these are all factors that can cause baldness in men, as well as women.
A hair growth expert in the Valley, however, is offering hope.
While the use of Plasma Rich Protein (PRP) to generate growth is not a new technique, Dr. Lee Laris is now injecting the serum-like substance directly into scalps, and the results speak for themselves.
For patients like Lynette Rike, the procedure begins with taking pictures, of her head. For Rike, the road to treatment began, years ago.
"Probably three, four years ago, I was not feeling right," said Rike. "Feeling like I was having trouble breathing all the time. Went to lots of different doctors to see what was wrong, and was finally diagnosed with Valley Fever."
Rike was eventually treated for her symptoms, but six months after that, the medicines she took had a startling and scary side effect: hair loss. Rike's hair began to fall out, in what she described as clumps.
"I'm kind of freaking out because I am thinking I have to stay on this medication because it was working, but I'm thinking how much hair am i going to keep losing?" said Rike.
There was a chance that Rike's own blood -- more specifically, the Plasma Rich Protein in her blood, can help her hair grow back. Under Laris' treatment, the light colored, serum-like substance directly into the scalp.
"PRP was used initially in Asia, and they did a lot of studies with it for healing," said Laris, who is with the Phoenix Skin Medical Surgical Group. "It came into the U.S. first for orthopedic use. What we're finding is when we inject the PRP into the area where we are trying to make changes, it calls that 'construction crew' those cells into the area, and call stem cells into the area."
Laris has been studying and treating hair loss for 25 years. It's a condition that affects 35 million men and 21 million women, in this country alone. A recent study shows after four PRP treatments, hair count increased from an average number of 71 hair follicular units, to 93.
Patients say the results speak for themselves.
"This hair line used to come back through here," said McKenzie Kelly. The 27-year-old aesthetics manager at Phoenix Skin helped test the procedure.
"After that second treatment, when I went to go do my third one, we took photos again i could not believe," said Kelly.
Dr. Laris said there are limitations.
"I do tell all of my patients that come in with smooth bald head that it most likely won't work for them," said Dr. Laris. "I do tell most of my patients though that have early thinning that have some velous hairs, which are the little baby hairs and that have early loss that hey should see a difference."
Dr. Laris recommends a series of three treatments, each involving about a dozen injections. Patietns can expect little to no side effects. There may be some discomfort, but patients like Rike said it's worth the awaited results.
"Who likes needles? nobody," said Rike. "It makes me excited to think that we could get my hair back to normal, you know, or at least close to be being what it was."
The cost for a package of three PRP treatments is about $900.