The first ever laser workshop for hair loss professionals took place in San Diego in April. Top medical experts, laser researchers and hair loss specialists flew in to share their expertise with 40 privileged guests.
Hosted by The National Hair Society, the purpose of this two-day event was to give participants a solid understanding of low level laser light therapy, its history, benefits and commercial applications. At the end of two days of back to back presentations and demonstrations, attendees knew more about this important technology than probably anyone else in the country. Christopher Webb, founder and publisher of The National Hair Journal, opened proceedings with an analysis of the changing hair loss marketplace. He drew attention to changing demographics in our image-driven society and the increasing predisposition of people to turn to technology to find solutions to everything from medical care to personal image management.
A highlight of the workshop was an in-depth presentation by Randy Veliky, COO, Lexington International, LLC, who described the clinical trials undertaken by his company that resulted in FDA clearance of the HairMax LaserComb. The statistical data, and supporting photography, provided conclusive evidence that used correctly, the LaserComb delivers impressive hair growth results. Spectacular video demonstrated how light energy is transferred from cell to cell. Veliky methodically outlined the research data, pointing out that FDA clearance was device-specific and related solely to the HairMax LaserComb. He emphasized that "clearance" did not mean commercial "approval," pointing out that the FDA accepted the HairMax LaserComb as safe for its intended use and that it had demonstrated the ability to generate hair growth in the defined research sample.
In a subsequent session, Veliky cautioned guests against using the FDA clearance of the HairMax as a marketing device to promote other lasers or laser services. He emphasized out that it was up to each laser manufacturer to demonstrate its own products efficacy by conducting independent research. In a separate demonstration, Randy Veliky illustrated how the bristles of the laser separate the hair and allow the laser beam to shine directly on the scalp. Without the bristles, the light energy would be obstructed by strands of existing hair and only a small percentage of the laser light would penetrate the skin to produce meaningful benefits. The design of the plastic teeth or bristles, featured in the LaserComb design is patent protected and Lexington cautioned everyone that the company was obligated to defend its intellectual property. Failure to do so, would undermine the patent so the company had no choice but to prosecute any infractions.James Britt, president of AlphaLase International and the first man to import a hood laser into the United States, summarized the history of light therapy in the United States before presenting AlphaLase, LX 400, the only professional laser to incorporate a professional audio recording to educate patients about light therapy as it was actually taking place. Doctors Ronald Chao and Dan Hale talked about the value of low level laser light therapy for hair transplant patients, telling the audience that it had major benefits at virtually every stage of the hair restoration process, starting with the post surgery period when it actually jump-started the telogen, or hair growth cycle, minimizing shedding and putting the patient several weeks ahead of non-laser patients. Both doctors indicated that laser therapy in conjunction with hair regrowth drugs delivered a geometric benefit, something previously noted at other medical research conferences.
The cosmetic surgeons were followed by Dawn Harrison, president of Invisible Hair, a company that specializes in hair loss solutions for women. Dawn pointed out that light therapy was particularly important for women since they were precluded from taking oral medication like Propecia and frequently subjected their hair to aggressive chemicals and traction alopecia. Dawn and Leonard Venti pointed out a little known fact of great value to hair replacement wearers; light therapy not only generates new hair growth, it also thickens existing hair. When the diameter thickness (denier) of each hair is increased, they not only look healthier and more lustrous, their color intensity is magnified. In this way, the fringe hair beneath a man's hair replacement system will have deeper colors and will be easier to match with his replacement hair. Similarly, a woman wearing an integration or extension will find it easier to match the texture and color of her growing hair. And if she wears long, heavy extensions or multiple extensions for extra density, she will certainly appreciate the added strength of her growing hair and its ability to anchor those extensions more securely.
The laser workshop was privileged to have Dr. Alex Khadavi, a member of the faculty of the University of Southern California and creator of the Revivogen product line, explain the benefits of low level laser light therapy in conjunction with of topical or oral hair regrowth medication. His company had conducted numerous studies not only on the effectiveness of Revivogen in halting hair loss but the benefits of combining Revivogen with light therapy. He presented detailed charts explaining the process of hair miniaturization and the role of Revivogen and laser therapy in arresting and even reversing this process.
On Sunday night, it was the guests turn to light up the night as they donned luminescent wristbands and necklaces and headed off to the Napa Valley Grille for a special dinner hosted by Lexington International, LLC. After a day of intense laser instruction, it seemed entirely appropriate that everyone should glow in the dark, though whether it was from the decorations or from the wine, no one will ever know.
The National Hair Society wishes to thank its distinguished panel of experts for giving up their time to share their knowledge. We are grateful to Lexington International for sharing its research data and providing valuable guidance and direction. A special thank you also to AlphaLase for complimentary samples of their Anagen Therapy products and shower filters, and to Revivogen for their product samples. The Society is indebted to Penny Moss and Heather Simon, who listened to Hair Society members and made their requests a physical reality.