Low level light-minoxidil 5% combination versus either therapeutic modality alone in management of female patterned hair loss: A randomized controlled study

Lasers Surg Med. 2017 Nov;49(9):835-843. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22684. Epub 2017 May 10.


Background: Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common form of hair loss in women. Nevertheless, its management represents a real challenge. Among the FDA approved therapeutic modalities for FPHL are topical minoxidil and more recently low-level light therapy (LLLT).

Aim of work: Assess the efficacy and safety of LLLT in comparison to topical minoxidil 5% and to a combination of both therapies in the treatment of FPHL.

Patients and methods: This study included 45 female patients with proven FPHL. They were randomly divided into three equal groups, where group (i) patients were instructed to apply topical minoxidil 5% twice daily, group (ii) patients received LLLT using the helmet iGrow® device for 25 minutes 3 days weekly, and group (iii) patients received a combination of both topical minoxidil 5% twice daily and LLLT for 25 minutes 3 days weekly for 4 months (study duration). Evaluation was done according to clinical, dermoscopic (folliscopic), and ultrasound bio-microscopic (UBM) parameters. Patient satisfaction and side effects were reported.

Results: The efficacy and safety of both topical minoxidil and LLLT were highlighted with comparable results in all parameters. The combination group (iii) occupied the top position regarding Ludwig classification and patient satisfaction. UBM and dermoscopic findings showed significant increase in the number of regrowing hair follicles at 4 months in all groups, whereas only UBM showed such significant increase at 2 months in the combination group (iii). A non-significant increase in the hair diameter was also documented in the three groups.

Conclusion: LLLT is an effective and safe tool with comparable results to minoxidil 5% in the treatment of FPHL. Owing to the significantly better results of combination therapy, its usage is recommended to hasten hair regrowth. Lasers Surg. Med. 49:835-843, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: UBM; dermoscope; female pattern hair loss; low light laser therapy; minoxidil.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alopecia / diagnostic imaging
  • Alopecia / pathology
  • Alopecia / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Microscopy, Acoustic
  • Middle Aged
  • Minoxidil / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Minoxidil