Efforts to restore a magnificent mane to those suffering from alopecia, or excessive hair loss, have been tangled up with complex, energy guzzling laser stimulation systems. An alternative approach engineered by an international team of researchers uses a wearable photostimulator for hair-growth applications. The flexible device has been shown to stimulate the return of hair, at least in shaved mice.
An ultrathin array of flexible vertical micro-light-emitting diodes (mLEDs) was produced with a simple monolithic fabrication process. The photostimulator bristled with 900 red mLEDs on a chip slightly smaller than a postage stamp and only 20 mm thick. Energy consumption per unit area was almost 1,000 times less than that by a conventional phototherapeutic laser, and heat emissions were low enough to protect skin.
The mice treated with the mLED patch for 15 minutes a day for 20 days showed significantly faster hair growth compared with untreated animals or those receiving minoxidil injections.
Researchers from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital contributed to this hirsute development.