Alopecia is a common disorder affecting over half of the world's population. Within this condition, androgenic alopecia (AA) is the most common type, affecting 50% of males over 40 and 75% of females over 65. Anecdotal paradoxical hypertrichosis noted during laser epilation has generated interest in the possibility of using laser to stimulate hair growth. In this study, we aimed to critically appraise the application of low-level laser therapy for the treatment of AA in adults. A systematic review was performed on studies identified on Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane database, and clinicaltrials.org. Double-blinded randomized controlled trials were selected and analyzed quantitatively (meta-analysis) and qualitatively (quality of evidence, risk of bias). Low-level laser therapy appears to be a promising noninvasive treatment for AA in adults that is safe for self-administration in the home setting. Although shown to effectively stimulate hair growth when compared to sham devices, these results must be interpreted with caution. Further studies with larger samples, longer follow-up, and independent funding sources are necessary to determine the clinical effectiveness of this novel therapy.
Keywords: Androgenic alopecia (AA); Hair growth; Lower-level laser therapy (LLLT); biostimulation; trichogenesis.