Application of superluminescent diodes (sLED) in the treatment of scarring alopecia - A pilot study

Agnieszka Gerkowicz, Joanna Bartosińska, Katarzyna Wolska-Gawron, Małgorzata Michalska-Jakubus, Mirosław Kwaśny, Dorota Krasowska
Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy 2019, 28: 195-200

INTRODUCTION: Photobiomodulation therapy with the use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is a fast growing therapeutic technique with a wide range of dermatologic indications. Recently it has been suggested that LED therapy could be beneficial in scarring alopecia.

AIM: Assessment of the efficacy of novel superluminescent diodes (sLED) with a "soft- start" as an adjuvant treatment in selected types of scarring alopecia.

METHODS: This pilot study included 16 female patients: 8 with frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) and 8 with lichen planopilaris (LPP), aged 41-76 years with a stable treatment, either topical or systemic. In all patients, sLED irradiations were performed once a week for a 10-week period. The sLEDs' effectiveness was assessed clinically and using trichoscopy.

RESULTS: The therapy was well tolerated. Both Lichen Planopilaris Activity Index (LPPAI) and Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia Severity Score (FFASS) were significantly reduced after the therapy (p = 0.012, p = 0.017 respectively). Within the treated area, the number of thick hairs significantly increased after the therapy (p = 0.009), whereas the number of medium-sized hairs and thin hairs did not change significantly (p = 0.836, p = 0.675 respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Irradiations with sLEDs were demonstrated to be safe and well tolerated. This noninvasive therapy leads to the reduction of subjective symptoms, and improve the outcome both in FFA and in LPP. This effective novel light source can be used as an adjuvant therapy in patients with chronic LPP or FFA. However, further studies including a larger study group and a control group are needed to evaluate the long-term effects of the therapy.

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