Low-level Light Therapy in Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia

Article summary by Tejashri Venkatesh | MD Candidate 2025 | Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University

Low-level light therapy (LLLT), also known as photobiomodulation therapy, has long been utilized for its healing and restorative properties in the human body1. While it was FDA-approved as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia (female or male pattern hair loss) in 2007, to date there is minimal evidence for its efficacy in scarring alopecia. A recently published prospective study attempted to assess the potential of LLLT as an adjunctive therapeutic for central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA)2.

Four African American women with a biopsy-proven diagnosis of CCCA, who were on a stable treatment regimen for three months prior to the onset of the study, were directed to use a  LLLT device for 10 minutes per day. The average duration of their disease before LLLT treatment was 16.5 years, and their disease stability was rated as moderate to severe at study initiation. On average, participants followed the treatment regimen 94% of the time as tracked by an online app. Hair density was evaluated at 2, 4, and 6 months on therapy.

After six months of using LLLT, three out of four patients showed increased hair density seen in photos. One had less hair breakage. In three patients, the scarring of hair follicles did not worsen. Two patients felt less itching on their scalp. All patients noticed their hair growing back during the treatment. The quality of life of three patients, measured by the Dermatology Life Quality Index, improved since when they started.

These findings show that LLLT could be a helpful add on treatment for CCCA when used along with standard treatment options. The authors suggest that this therapy might work by lowering inflammation through changing the levels of certain proteins and growth factors in the body1. However, it is important to note the small size of the study with only four patients. Further large, controlled studies are necessary to corroborate these findings and determine the optimal treatment regimen.

See full article here.


  1. Avci, P., Gupta, A., Sadasivam, M., Vecchio, D., Pam, Z., Pam, N., & Hamblin, M. R. (2013). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery32(1), 41–52.
  2. Cook, M. K., Feaster, B. N., Subash, J. J., Larrondo, J., & McMichael, A. J. (2023). Use of low-level light therapy in management of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia: A case series of four patients. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine39(6), 673–675. https://doi.org/10.1111/phpp.12905