Low-Level Light Therapy and Minoxidil Combination Treatment in Androgenetic Alopecia: A Review of the Literature

Skin Appendage Disord. 2023 Mar;9(2):104-110. doi: 10.1159/000527782. Epub 2022 Dec 23.


Introduction: We analyzed randomized clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the efficacy of combined therapy with low-level light therapy (LLLT) and topical minoxidil for treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA).

Methods: A literature search within PubMed identified RCTs evaluating hair regrowth following LLLT and minoxidil. Selection criteria were 600-1,100 nm wavelengths, treatment time ≥16 weeks, and objective evaluation for hair regrowth.

Results: Five RCTs compared LLLT with minoxidil (2% or 5%) to 5% minoxidil treatment or LLLT treatment. One study showed combination therapy of LLLT, and 5% minoxidil improved hair density more than monotherapy. Another found combination LLLT with 2% minoxidil induced hair regrowth equivalent to 5% minoxidil. Similarly, another study described LLLT with 5% minoxidil versus minoxidil monotherapy to increase the number of hairs with no statistical difference between groups. One trial found that combination group increased hair regrowth in the first 2 months. The last study found a statistically significant increase in hair density with combined therapy compared to monotherapy.

Conclusion: The studies describe either superiority or equivalence of combination therapy to minoxidil monotherapy for AGA. Early outcomes appear to support the superiority of combination therapy, but this advantage wanes at the end of the study periods.

Keywords: Alopecia; Androgenetic alopecia; Low-level light therapy; Minoxidil.

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