Background and objectives: Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) affects 50% of males by age 50 and 50% of females by age 80. Recently, the use of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been proposed as a treatment for hair loss and to stimulate hair regrowth in AGA. This paper aims to review the existing research studies to determine whether LLLT is an effective therapy for AGA based on objective measurements and patient satisfaction.
Study design: A systematic literature review was done to identify articles on Medline, Google Scholar, and Embase that were published between January 1960 and November 2015. All search hits were screened by two reviewers and examined for relevant abstracts and titles. Articles were divided based on study design and assessed for risk of bias.
Results: Eleven studies were evaluated, which investigated a total of 680 patients, consisting of 444 males and 236 females. Nine out of 11 studies assessing hair count/hair density found statistically significant improvements in both males and females following LLLT treatment. Additionally, hair thickness and tensile strength significantly improved in two out of four studies. Patient satisfaction was investigated in five studies, and was overall positive, though not as profound as the objective outcomes.
Conclusion: The majority of studies covered in this review found an overall improvement in hair regrowth, thickness, and patient satisfaction following LLLT therapy. Although we should be cautious when interpreting these findings, LLLT therapy seems to be a promising monotherapy for AGA and may serve as an effective alternative for individuals unwilling to use medical therapy or undergo surgical options. Lasers Surg. Med. 49:27-39, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Keywords: HairMax LaserComb; TOPHAT 655; alopecia; androgenetic alopecia; low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.