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Photobiomodulation for the management of alopecia: mechanisms of action, patient selection and perspectives

Authors Hamblin MR

Received 19 April 2019

Accepted for publication 13 August 2019

Published 6 September 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 669—678


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jeffrey Weinberg

Michael R Hamblin1–3

1Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA; 2Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA; 3Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Correspondence: Michael R Hamblin
Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 40 Blossom Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA
Tel +1 44 7710 980821

Abstract: Photobiomodulation (PBM) or low-level laser therapy was discovered over 50 years ago, when Mester in Hungary observed regrowth of hair in mice when irradiated with a ruby laser. At the present time, several different PBM devices are marketed to assist with hair regrowth in alopecia patients. This review covers the three main types of alopecia (androgenetic, areata, and chemotherapy-induced), and discusses the mechanism of action of PBM for each disease. The different devices used (mostly low powered red laser diodes), dosimetry, animal models, and clinical trials are summarized. Criteria for patient selection are outlined. Finally a perspectives section looks forward to the future.

Keywords: photobiomodulation therapy, androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, chemotherapy-induced alopecia, hair follicles

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