(male pattern baldness)
What Is Alopecia?
Alopecia is a common autoimmune disorder that often results in unpredictable hair loss. The condition can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, though most cases occur before the age of 30. It affects roughly 500,000 Australians, and in the majority of cases, hair falls out in a few small patches. The condition is not contagious, so you don’t have to worry about spreading it to anyone. There are three main different types of alopecia, classified by how the hair falls out.
- Alopecia areata is when hair loss occurs in patches. With this type, hair loss cycles over time. One area may lose hair and then grow back while another area begins losing hair.
- Alopecia totalis is when all of the hair on the scalp falls out.
- Alopecia universalis is when all of the hair on the entire body falls out.
However, there is also androgenetic alopecia, which is known as male pattern baldness, which affects all men to some degree as they age. Progressive thinning of the hair may eventually lead to baldness. There is very little scientific evidence that alopecia is caused by stress.
Commonly Prescribed Treatment
The most common form of treatment is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. These are mostly commonly administered through local injections, topical ointment application, or orally. Other medications that can be prescribed that either promote hair growth or affect the immune system include Minoxidil, Anthralin, and two topically applied ointments, SADBE, and DPCP. Although some of these may help with the re-growth of hair, they cannot prevent the formation of new bald patches.
How Can Low Level Laser Therapy Help?
Low Level Laser has been found to have a beneficial effect on immune functions. An autoimmune disorder occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues. No one knows precisely what causes autoimmune disorders, but triggers can include genetic malfunction, viral infection, or environmental factors. There are more than 80 known autoimmune disorders.
William J Kneebone, CRNA, DC, CNC, DIHam, writing in the journal Practical Pain Management concludes in his article Immune-modulating Effects of Therapeutic Laser:
Laser therapy can provide a boost to aid in immunological adaptation and stimulate immune responses. A secondary benefit of treating various ailments with therapeutic laser is that each patient’s immune system is also being stimulated due to the global effects that occur coincidently with laser therapy. Therapeutic laser can be a safe, effective immunomodulator that can be applied to patients of all ages with a wide variety of clinical conditions.
Behrooz Barikbin,Zeinab Khodamrdi,Leila Kholoosi,Mohammad Reza Akhgri,Majid Haj Abbasi,Mojgan Hajabbasi,Zahra Razzaghi &Samaneh Akbarpour. Comparison of the effects of 665 nm low level diode Laser Hat versus and a combination of 665 nm and 808nm low level diode Laser Scanner of hair growth in androgenic alopecia. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy.
Ladan Afifi MS, Eric L. Maranda BS, Mina Zarei MD, Gina M. Delcanto BA, Leyre Falto‐Aizpurua MD, Wouter P. Kluijfhout MSc, Joaquin J. Jimenez MD. Low‐level laser therapy as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia. Journal of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2016
Kim H, Choi JW, Kim JY, Shin JW, Lee SJ, Huh CH. Low‐level light therapy for androgenetic alopecia: A 24‐week, randomized, double‐blind. Sham Device‐Controlled Multicenter Trial. Dermatol Surg 2013; 39(8):1177–1183.
Pinar Avci, MD,1,2,3 Gaurav K. Gupta, MD, PhD,1,2 Jason Clark, MD,1,2 Norbert Wikonkal, MD, PhD,3 and Michael R. Hamblin, PhD1,2 Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) for Treatment of Hair Loss Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 46:144–151 (2014) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/lsm.22170