Hair

One Quarter Benefit Significantly — Donovan Hair Clinic


In 1967, Dr Endre Mester, the father of laser medicine, first showed accelerated hair regrowth in shaved mice after exposure to a low-power 694-nm ruby laser. This fueled further research into low-level laser therapy for hair loss. Over 40 years later, in 2009, the first RCT on the role of LLLT in AGA was carried out for Hair Max Laser Comb and the low level laser ultimately received FDA clearance.

Qui et al, 2022

A recent study from China by Qui et al examined the potential benefits of a 650 nm low level laser device known as iHelmet for treating androgenetic hair loss in males and females. iHelmet is a helmet-like device with 200 lasers and light-emitting diodes. Each bulb is 5 mW similar to our standard devices. The recommended treatment is 20 minutes every other day.

The authors studied 928 patients with mild AGA and 455 were moderate to severe AGA. Two-thirds of users were male. Study participants used the device for about 10 months (38 weeks for those with mild AGA and 40 weeks for those with moderate to severe AGA).

Instead of examining simply whether hair density was better or not after using the laser, the authors assessed efficacy by examining the answers to 6 questions

(1) was scalp oil secretion reduced? (2) was the scalp dandruff reduced? (3) was scalp redness reduced? (4) was daily hair loss reduced? (5) was new hair regrown or hair density increased? (6) did hair become thicker changed into thicker?

For the above six questions, the authors assigned a 1-point score was given if the answer was “yes,” and a zero-score given for those questions if the answer was “no.” The overall efficacy assessment was graded by summarizing the total score for six items. The treatment response was said to be “not effective” for that total score was zero, and treatment responses were said to be “moderately effective” if the patient scored 1 to 3, and “significantly effective” for those scoring 4 to 6.

Overall Efficacy

The authors showed that the device was significantly effective for 27.7% users with mild AGA and 20.0% with moderate-to-severe AGA.

I noted that the authors showed that the device was moderately effective for 51.9% of users with mild AGA and 57.4% with moderate-to-severe AGA, but according to their scoring system this does not necessarily mean that patients had regrowth. So it’s difficult to interpret this.

However what was interesting in this study is that males, those who used the device more than 1.5 years, those with dandruff, dermatitis and itch were more likely to rate the device as being effective to some degree either for stopping symptoms or helping with hair growth.

Conclusions

Overall, about one quarter of patients with this laser have significant results. This number is similar to other laser studies. It’s difficult in this study to get a sense of the proportion that have moderate hair growth results based on the scoring.

However, what is interesting here is that males were found to be more likely to have good outcomes than females although both groups did report good outcomes to some extend. Some studies have supported this notion of differences between males and females including a 2014 study by Munck and colleagues whereby 45 % of males had significant improvement with a LLLT device compared to 14. 3 % of female patients.

What I also found interesting in this study is that patients with scalp redness, itching and dermatitis had benefits in either hair growth or reducing symptoms. It is increasingly clear that these laser devices are anti-inflammatory to some degree. It seems likely that they have benefit in many inflammatory scalp issues including seborrheic dermatitis and lichen planopilaris.

REFERENCES

Qiu et al. Efficacy assessment for low-level laser therapy in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a real-world study on 1383 patients. Lasers Med Sci. 2022 Feb 8.

Leavitt M, Charles G, Heyman E, Michaels D (2009) HairMax LaserComb laser phototherapy device in the treatment of male androgenetic alopecia: a randomized, double-blind, sham device- controlled, multicentre trial. Clin Drug Investig 29(5):283–292.

Mester E, Szende B, Gärtner P (1968) The effect of laser beams on the growth of hair in mice. Radiobiol Radiother (Berl) 9(5):621–626

Munck et al. Use of Low-Level Laser Therapy as Monotherapy or Concomitant Therapy for Male and Female Androgenetic Alopecia. Int J Trichology. 2014 Apr-Jun; 6(2): 45–49.



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