Researchers have developed a flexible, wearable LED photo stimulator that could speed up hair growth in mice, an advancement that can one day be used on the human skin to stimulate hair growth.
A team led by Keon Jae Lee, scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), fabricated an ultra-thin array of flexible vertical micro-light-emitting diodes (µLEDs).
The array consisted of 900 red µLEDs on a chip slightly smaller than a postage stamp and only 20 µm thick.
Alopecia is considered an aesthetic, psychological, and social issue among modern people.
Although laser-induced skin stimulation is utilized for depilation treatment, such treatment has significant drawbacks of high energy consumption, huge equipment size, and limited usage in daily life.
However, the new device, reported in the journal ACS Nano, uses almost 1,000 times less power per unit area than a conventional phototherapeutic laser, and it also does not heat up enough to cause thermal damage to human skin.
The array was sturdy and flexible, enduring up to 10,000 cycles of bending and unbending.
The researchers tested the device’s ability to regrow hair on mice with shaved backs.
Compared with untreated mice or those receiving minoxidil injections, the mice treated with the µLED patch for 15 minutes a day for 20 days showed significantly faster hair growth, a wider regrowth area, and long hairs, the findings showed.