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Hair Restoration Research

Survey Finds Red, Low-Level, Laser Light Therapy is an Effective, Alternate Treatment for Androgenic Alopecia

Researchers from the Harvard Medical School surveyed five clinical studies designed to measure the effects of low-level light laser therapy (LLLT) on androgenic alopecia in both men and women. In each case, they found that red and near-infrared LLLT was a safe and effective treatment option for both men and women with genetic balding.

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Hair Restoration Research

New Research Shows Laser Therapy (LLLT) is an Effective Treatment for Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss

Given the large number of people who are affected by androgenetic alopecia and for whom traditional treatments, like surgical hair restoration or hair loss medications, may not be indicated, could low-level laser therapy be a viable and effective treatment option? New research published this year, 2014, in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, says yes.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

British Vogue Interviews Dr. Bernstein on Women’s Hair Loss and Female Hair Transplants

British Vogue Interviews Dr. Bernstein on Women's Hair Loss and Female Hair TransplantsHair transplantation for women is in vogue. In more ways than one. Dr. Bernstein was featured in an article in the ‘Beauty’ section of the October 2012 issue of British Vogue.

After describing a visit to Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration in New York City and giving readers a primer on hair transplant surgery, the article turns to Dr. Bernstein to describe the surge in popularity of the treatment of hair loss in women.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Stop Medical Treatment For Hair Loss Once Started?

Q: I am taking finasteride as you prescribed. You also suggested using minoxidil liberally over the entire front and top of my scalp once a day. During our meeting I think that you said that once I start using this I would not be able to stop it, and, if I did, it might lead to further hair loss. Hence, I decided to use the laser comb three times a week in addition to the finasteride. Having said that, if you still feel I should start using minoxidil daily, I will start doing so. — H.K., Brooklyn, NY

A: Stopping therapy doesn’t lead to further hair loss in that it doesn’t accelerate it; you just continue on the path that you would have been without the treatment. When you stop, there may be an initial shedding as you quickly lose any benefits that you had from the treatment.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Which Handheld Laser Therapy Device Do You Recommend?

Q: I am interested in trying home laser therapy for my androgenic alopecia? Which handheld laser device do you recommend? — N.M., Northfield, NJ

A: There are several handheld lasers currently marketed as a home use treatments for androgenic alopecia. To my knowledge there has never been a clinical study comparing different laser devices. Most of the devices use diodes to emit a narrow band red light. This wavelength of light is actually similar to those that are used in hair removal lasers, except they are at a much lower intensity. The theory is that high intensity laser damage hair follicles causing hair loss, but low level laser energy can have a bio-stimulation effect and actually induce hair growth.

If you would like to try laser therapy for hair loss, I suggest using a HairMax laser comb. This is the only device that is FDA approved. They sell a few different “strengths” of lasers for different costs. They have not shown any clinical evidence supporting one laser comb versus another. The more expensive ones have more diode lights so it would be reasonable to conclude that they are “stronger” and require less frequent use. I have patients who have used the “mid tier” laser comb, the Premium Lux 9 successfully, so that is the one I recommend to other patients.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Is Laser Therapy With Hand-held LaserComb Better Than Revage Helmet Unit?

Q: If I want to use a laser to try and stimulate my hair to grow, should I use one of the hand-held units, such as the LaserComb or X5 Laser, or use a helmet?

A: Of the hand-held lasers, I feel the LaserComb is most effective. With the helmet units used in salons or doctor’s offices, we recommend the Revage. There is no evidence that the helmet lasers works any better than the LaserComb.

Some patients prefer a helmet, such as the Revage, since they can just relax and don’t have to worry about using it correctly or concentrating on reaching every spot. Others prefer the hand-held unit since it is less expensive and can be used at home.

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Hair Restoration Answers

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

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.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Schweiger Discusses LaserComb for Hair Loss in Women in Wall Street Journal

Wall Street JournalDr. Eric S. Schweiger, an Associate at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration, was interviewed recently for an article in the Wall Street Journal.

The article — Can Lasers Stimulate a Hair-Growth Spurt? — discusses the efficacy of the HairMax LaserComb and low level laser therapy (LLLT) and also touches on Dr. Schweiger’s main area of expertise, the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss in women.

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Hair Restoration Answers

After a Hair Transplant Can I Replace Hair Loss Medication with Laser Therapy or Herbs?

Q: I am interested in a hair transplant, but am turned off by the apparent side effects of follow up Propecia. Could herbs serve the purpose of Propecia? Regarding laser treatments, do they work on their own, or do you need drugs to supplement? Can laser damage in some cases, rather than benefit? It seems odd that laser therapy has been undertaken in Europe for 10 years, yet there are no published studies on the results. Might this be because it doesn’t work in the longer term? — D.D., Richmond, U.K.

A: Finasteride is the best medication. Herbs are not particularly effective for hair loss. You should consider trying finasteride.

If you are in the 2% group that has side effects with Propecia, just stop taking the medication. If you do not experience side effects, then there is no problem taking the medication long-term. Hair transplant surgery doesn’t prevent the progression of hair loss. That is why it is used in conjunction with medication.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Which Laser Comb Works Best to Regrow Hair?

Q: I have been trying to find some evaluation of which laser combs work best for “hair restoration”. I have seen some dermatologists speak about the Hair Max laser comb and its effectiveness (considering patient compliance, the amount of time the patient has been losing hair, the amount of total hair loss at time of treatment, etc.). I have also seen reference to the Sunetic laser comb which claims to have a superior technology to the Hair Max and offers a changeable head to allow treatment of the skin for healing, wrinkles, etc. A company in Michigan also offers a laser comb called the Hair Rejuvenator which it claims is superior to either of the other combs but I have not heard of any dermatologist who recommends this comb. A firm in Australia also offers a laser comb (Aculas) which it claims is the most effective; however, the makers of the Hair Rejuvenator comb say it is too powerful and dangerous and could cause blindness. Amidst all these claims, the consumer (patient) is left wondering which best option is and which is merely hype or fraud. What do you suggest?

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Hair Restoration Answers

After Hair Transplant, When Can I Resume Laser Therapy Treatment?

Q: I am currently using the Hair Max Laser Comb. I am starting on my third week and am scheduled for a hair transplant in one week. My question is: how long do I have to wait to restart the laser comb after my hair restoration procedure? This is not my first procedure and I understand the grafts are delicate for the first couple of weeks. If I keep the teeth away from the scalp and just let the light hit the grafts will this promote faster growth?

A: You can start using the laser comb again right after the surgery, as long as it doesn’t touch the scalp.

At 10 days after the hair transplant you can use it normally, as the grafts are permanent and there is no risk of dislodging them.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How do You Treat Early Hair Loss in Women?

Q: I am a 33 year old women and am just starting to thin on the top of my scalp behind my frontal hairline. What should I do? Should I have a hair transplant?

A: There are a number of things that you should consider that can be effective in early hair loss. These include minoxidil (Rogaine), laser therapy, and using cosmetics specifically made to make the hair appear fuller. Lightening or streaking the hair, as well as parting the hair off to the side, will also make the hair appear fuller.

If a surgical hair restoration is performed too early and there is still a lot of existing hair in the area, the hair transplant may actually accelerate hair loss. Surgery should not be performed prematurely.

Also, it is important that the doctor check the stability of the donor area, using densitometry, to make sure that the procedure is even possible. For those women who are good candidates, and if it is done at the appropriate time, a follicular unit hair transplant is a great procedure that can produce really natural results.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Laser Therapy: What is Revage Laser and How Does it Compare to Laser Comb?

Q: I heard that you could get a laser treatment for hair loss in a doctor’s office with a new laser called the Revage. What is this and how does it compare to the laser comb that I can buy myself?

A: The Revage Laser is a Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) treatment for thinning hair manufactured by the company Laser Hair Therapy of North America, LLC. It is FDA classified or permitted to be sold as a cosmetic device, but not as a medical device at this time.

The Revage system contains 30 laser diodes that rotate 180 degrees around the scalp. This dynamic process increases the contact of the laser energy with the hair follicles. It is available only through a physician’s office.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What are Pros and Cons of Laser Therapy at Home vs. Doctor’s Office?

Q: I heard that you can buy a laser for hair loss and use it at home. What are the advantages or disadvantages of doing this?

A: The advantages of home use are convenience and that it is generally less expensive than going to a doctor’s office for treatment.

The main disadvantage of using laser treatments without a doctor’s supervision is that a more effective treatment for hair loss may be available and you may not know about it. By spending time using the laser, the window for a more effective treatment may be missed. A good example is the 20 year old male who has extensive hair loss in his family and is just starting to thin. It is very important for this person to start Propecia (finasteride) as soon as possible, since the long-term benefits of using this medication are well established.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Could Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Benefit Women?

Q: I am a 33 year old woman and have been told my hair is too thin on the sides for me to have a hair transplant. Could I benefit from laser treatments?

A: Although the long-term benefits on hair growth are not known, Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is able to stimulate hair to become fuller in appearance in the clinical trials that have been carried out for six month periods.

Since the laser light serves to thicken fine, miniaturized hair, it is particularly suitable to areas of diffuse thinning, rather than areas of complete baldness.

Since hair loss in women commonly has a diffuse pattern, because women can’t take Propecia (finasteride), and the fact that women are less often candidates for surgery (as compared to men), laser therapy in females is particularly appealing.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is Origin of Laser Therapy for Hair Loss?

Q: Is the use of Low Level Light Laser Therapy (LLLT) for hair loss new?

A: These lasers have been used for hair loss in Europe for almost ten years. Classified as a cosmetic laser, they are safe for human cosmetic use.

The original research in this technology was carried out at the Wellman Labs for Photomedicine at Harvard University.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Treat Early Hair Loss with Laser Comb and What Age Should I Start?

Q: If I’m 20 years old and haven’t lost any hair yet, should I start using a laser comb now?

A: One should not treat hair loss until it actually occurs.

That said, once there is clear evidence that a person is thinning, non-surgical treatments are best started early to prevent further hair loss.

It is important to keep in mind that finasteride (Propecia) is still the most effective treatment for early hair loss and has a good record for at least some long-term effectiveness. It is not clear what additional benefit the laser-comb will have.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Much Does a Laser Comb Cost?

Q: How much does the LaserComb cost?

A: There are two types of HairMax Laser Combs currently available:

  • The Premium Comb has 9 laser beams and the cost is approximately $545.00 plus shipping.
  • The SE Compact version of the Laser Comb has 5 laser beams and costs $395.00.
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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Second Hair Transplant Repair Pits in Scalp from Prior Procedure?

Q: I recently had a hair transplant procedure done in Florida and it has been about 8 months. When I am in direct overhead light and when sunlight is behind me, I see many tiny holes that are not visible under normal light. I know these are where they placed the transplanted hair but need to know if there is a way to remove these tiny holes. I am obviously not getting any answers from the doctor that performed the hair restoration. I am wondering if dermal fillers, dermabrasion, or laser treatment would work to fix this and if so, do you offer these treatments?

A: This condition is often referred to as pitting and occurs when grafts are placed below the surface of the skin. It is more common with large grafts rather than small ones and is almost never seen in Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).

In general, visible holes can result from mini-micrografting hair transplant procedures where the grafts (and thus the recipient sites needed to hold them) are larger than approximately 1.2mm. Recipients sites smaller than 1.2 rarely leave any mark. In follicular unit hair transplant procedures, the grafts will fit into sites smaller than 1.2mm so surface changes are generally not seen (even if the grafts are not placed flush with the skin).

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