Researchers Discover a New Way to Stimulate Hair Growth

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Korean researchers have just developed a flexible and portable photo-stimulator that can stimulate hair growth. This new invention could allow millions of women and men with alopecia to partially recover their hair.

Bald Man
Bald Man

In the US, it is estimated that 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from hair loss. Hair Loss, which can lead to complex and profound distress, has been the subject of numerous studies by scientists for many years.

A new technological breakthrough could help people suffering from Hair Loss to recover part of their hair. Korean researchers have in fact developed a flexible and portable photo-stimulator that can stimulate the hair follicle. Their results are published in the journal ACS Nano.

Technology smaller than a stamp

One of the treatments so far used for alopecia is the use of lasers on the bald area to induce the proliferation of hair cells. Problem: This treatment, which can be performed in an institution or clinic, is expensive and particularly unsuitable for domestic use.

The technology developed by Professor Keon Jae Lee and his team at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is flexible and portable. It consists of an ultra-thin set of 900 flexible vertical light emitting diodes (LED) (μLED) in red. The entire device fits on a chip “slightly smaller than a stamp” and is only 20 micrometers thick. It can withstand up to 10,000 bending cycles.

If this new technology is interesting, it is also because it consists of red μLEDs that cannot heat up enough to damage human skin. They are also environmentally friendly because they consume 1,000 times less energy than a traditional phototherapy laser.

A promising test on mice

In the lab, researchers tested his device on the shaved backs of rats. After 20 days of treatment once a day for 15 minutes, the rats recovered their hair much faster than the shaved rats that did not receive treatment and also those that got minoxidil injections to promote hair growth.

Although further testing is still needed before a possible marketing authorization for humans, this device is promising and gives people suffering from alopecia the hope of an effective and inexpensive home treatment.

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References:

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.8b05568

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