Background and objectives: Low-level light therapies using visible to infrared light are known to activate several cellular functions, such as adenosine triphosphate and nitric oxide synthesis. However, few clinical observations report its biological consequences for skin and scalp homeostasis. Since scalp inflammation was recognized as a potential physiological obstacle to the efficacy of the reference hair regrowth drug Minoxidil in vivo and since perifollicular inflammation is the hallmark of about 50%-70% follicular units in androgenetic alopecia, we decided to investigate whether the anti-inflammatory activity of LLLT/GentleWaves® device were assigned to L'Oréal by Light BioScience L.L.C., Virginia Beach, VA (US) could enhance hair regrowth activity of Minoxidil.
Study design/materials and methods: We conducted a first experimental clinical study on 64 men with androgenetic alopecia using LLLT/GentleWaves®, 590-nm predominant wavelength 70 seconds, specifically pulsed once per day, for 3 days, and we performed a whole-genome analysis of treated scalp biopsies. In a second clinical study, including 135 alopecic volunteers, we evaluated the hair regrowth activity in response to the upgraded LLLT/GentleWaves® device and Minoxidil.
Results: In the first clinical study, whole-genome analysis of treated scalp biopsies showed downregulation of scalp inflammatory biomarkers, such as AP1/FOSB messenger RNA (mRNA) and mir21, together with the disappearance of CD69 mRNA, specific to scalp-infiltrating T cells of about 50% of the studied volunteers prior to the LLLT/GentleWaves® treatment. In the second clinical study, we observed that LLLT/GentleWaves® was able to boost the hair regrowth activity of a Minoxidil 2% lotion to the extent of the highest concentration (5%) in terms of efficacy, number of responders, and perceived performance.
Conclusions: Altogether, these observations suggest the potential benefit of LLLT/GentleWaves® as a noninvasive adjunctive technology for skin and scalp conditions, where a mild perifollicular inflammation is involved.