Does Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Affect Hair Loss in Men and Women Differently?

October 19th, 2009

Q: Have there been any studies showing the difference between men and women in their response to laser treatments for hair loss?

A: In the International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetic Dermatology (Vol. 5, Number 2; 2003), a study on low level laser therapy (LLLT) was conducted which indicated that there was a 55% increase of growth (hair count) in the temporal area as well as 64% in the vertex of the female subjects who were treated with LLLT for hair loss. The study also indicated a 74% increase in the hair counts of the male subjects in the temporal area and 120% in the vertex region. These results would initially indicate that LLLT works better in men than in women, but there were four times as many men in this study so the results might be different in a larger test group.

However, even in this notably smaller female group, the tensile strength of the hair increased dramatically over the tensile strength observed in the male subjects after treatment. This would indicate that, at least in this study, there was not only an increased hair count in women, but the tensile strength of that hair was greatly improved as well. This would be initially indicative that LLLT may be found to be more beneficial to women than to men.

It is important to note that this study was published in 2003. Further studies need to be conducted to confirm the initial results and to further elucidate the possible mechanisms of low level laser light therapy in both men and women with alopecia. As important, long term data needs to be accumulated to show the continued efficacy of this treatment. It had been our clinical experience that LLLT is not as effective as one would assume from the results of the initial studies.

Visit the page on Laser Therapy for more information, or read more answers to questions about laser therapy.

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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on October 19th, 2009 at 2:14 pm


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