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Low-level laser therapy for the treatment of androgenic alopecia: a review


There are many new low-level laser technologies that have been released commercially that claim to support hair regrowth. In this paper, we will examine the clinical trials to determine whether the body of evidence supports the use of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to treat androgenic alopecia (AGA). A literature search was conducted through Pubmed, Embase, and for clinical trials using LLLT to treat AGA. Thirteen clinical trials were assessed. Review articles were not included. Ten of 11 trials demonstrated significant improvement of androgenic alopecia in comparison to baseline or controls when treated with LLLT. In the remaining study, improvement in hair counts and hair diameter was recorded, but did not reach statistical significance. Two trials did not include statistical analysis, but showed marked improvement by hair count or by photographic evidence. Two trials showed efficacy for LLLT in combination with topical minoxidil. One trial showed efficacy when accompanying finasteride treatment. LLLT appears to be a safe, alternative treatment for patients with androgenic alopecia. Clinical trials have indicated efficacy for androgenic alopecia in both men and women. It may be used independently or as an adjuvant of minoxidil or finasteride. More research needs to be undertaken to determine the optimal power and wavelength to use in LLLT as well as LLLT’s mechanism of action.

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Correspondence to Evan Darwin.

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Darwin, E., Heyes, A., Hirt, P.A. et al. Low-level laser therapy for the treatment of androgenic alopecia: a review. Lasers Med Sci 33, 425–434 (2018).

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  • Low-level light therapy (LLLT)
  • Low-level laser therapy
  • Androgenic alopecia
  • Hair loss
  • Alopecia