Scientists in America have announced a trial to see if a laser that is normally used to refresh ageing skin has any effect on the scalps of people with genetic hair loss
or the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata
, which typically leads to sudden, patchy shedding.
The researchers, who are based at Chicago’s Northwestern University, will soon be recruiting around 20 people for the study, which will involve the participants receiving five sessions of Fraxel laser treatment spread across 150 days.
On its trial announcement at clinicaltrials.gov, the research team states that it will be recruiting people with non-scarring alopecia meaning that they will be recruiting from the roughly 2% of the US population which has alopecia areata, and also the far greater percentage which has either male pattern baldness
or female pattern hair loss.
An area measuring 100cm2 on the scalp of each participant will be targeted.
Recruits to be split?
Volunteers must be 18 years or older and in good health, and it would seem that they may be split into two groups. The first are those people who have never used the proven hairloss drugs finasteride 1mg and minoxidil; the second are those who have consistently used these products for at least a year. In this way the research team will be able to see if the application of Fraxel's controlled micro-injuries appears to enhance existing treatments, as well as assessing if it is any use on its own. Continues below...
According to the Fraxel website, treatments typically last between 15 and 45 minutes and the company states that during treatment, fractional lasers penetrate top skin layers. This results in micro-thermal zones where the light energy stimulates collagen production. The net result, it says, is that “your skin’s natural rejuvenation process smoothes wrinkles and scars by stimulating collagen.”
The laser treatment is typically offered as a cosmetic procedure, often as a facial, to help fix fine lines and wrinkles, surface scarring, pigmentation and sun damage amongst other things. Clearly, the point of the Northwestern study is to move into new territory and see what effect, if any, it has on the scalps of people who are losing their hair.
The prognosis for people presenting at a specialist clinic with common hair loss conditions is often very good. In cases where the hair follicles are still active, there are options available that have been shown to stabilise hair fall, promote hair growth and prevent baldness
in cases of androgenetic alopecia.
There are effective, clinically-proven, MHRA licensed and FDA approved hair loss solutions
for men and women with thinning hair caused by male and female pattern baldness. Whilst alopecia areata treatment
has provided significant hair regrowth results for people with the bald spots symptomatic of the scalp-only form of this autoimmune disorder in many cases.
In addition to utilising either or both of the recognised medications, treatment courses can be accompanied by additional hair growth supporting products
. These range from hair growth supplements, such as Belgravia's exclusive Hair Vitalics
, to low-level laser therapy devices designed to be used at home, such as the HairMax LaserBands
It would appear that the Chicago study may have Fraxel in mind as a similar potential hair growth booster.