News from Australia reaches us that an LED hair loss cap has passed clinical trials. A full double-blind placebo-controlled trial no less. We look closer. 

 

LED Caps 

The theory behind using light to promote hair growth and combat hair loss is an interesting one. The idea is that low wavelengths of light can irradiate photons which can be absorbed by the cells. They have been around for years now and proved popular in the market. But this study marks the first time a hair loss cap has passed clinical trials, of the sort normally reserved for medicines.

Modern caps feature dozens of medical-grade lasers and LED’s to do the job of producing those photons. 

Early reactions to the advent of the LED caps were cool. While the FDA did approve them for use this was based more on their safety and ‘equivalence.’ Where ‘equivalence’ simply means that they are similar to devices that came before them. You will note the absence of a reference to efficacy. It is a recurring problem for hair loss sufferers that FDA approval for hair loss devices is often just referring to safety. 

A team in Australia have just raised the bar by publishing results of their own trial of one product. A product, incidentally, that the FDA approved back in February 2018.

Hair Loss Trial

The trials were conducted by a team from the University of Melbourne. Principal investigator, Rodney Sinclair MD, professor of medicine, outlined the parameters for the trial. “We used the same primary and secondary endpoints as were used in (the) finasteride and minoxidil studies. We used placebo caps. Participants and evaluators were blinded, and as an outcome, these results can be trusted.”

Even with the relatively small size of this study, with 18 participants, this is a refreshing approach. The cost, even for a small study, is prohibitive. 

Hair Loss Trial Results

No doubt cost was one reason why we have not seen a full clinical trial before. But there was always the possibility that the reason was a lack of faith in their efficacy. 

That doubt may have been removed with the publication of the Melbourne team’s results. 

All participants were given a cap to use for 10 minutes a day for 26 weeks. During this time they used no other hair loss product. Comparing the two groups, placebo and active, the group that received the treatment were shown to have better outcomes. To the tune of 21.3 more hairs per square centimetre. Those treated with the placebo cap continued to lose hair. No adverse effects were reported during the trial and no volunteers needed to cease treatment. 

HIS Hair Clinic

We have waited a long time for this sort of clinical trial to be applied to laser caps. The results were worth the wait too. Adding efficacy to the safety already confirmed by the FDA. We hope that as the technology develops alongside our understanding of the processes involved, the results improve further. We will be watching and reporting back. You can see the press release as published in Business Wire by clicking here

 

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By Ian Watson

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