Red-light treatment proven successful for scalp pruritus, irritation

April 28, 2020

REVIAN, Inc. releases positive data from their study investigating the REVIAN RED dual wavelength 620 nm and 660 nm light therapy device as a therapy for scalp pruritus and irritation.

REVIAN RED is a red-light treatment device that is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat androgenetic alopecia that has also proven effective for scalp irritation and pruritus, according recently published data from REVIAN, Inc.

MORE: Red light treatment proves safe, effective for androgenetic alopecia

While conducting an ongoing multicenter study to investigate the efficacy and safety of the REVIAN RED device as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia, researchers also assessed the device’s effect as a possible therapy for the scalp disorder’s side effects, including scalp irritation, pruritus and burning. 

“Scalp symptoms such as pruritus, burning, and irritation are extremely common complaints in the dermatological setting and can be frustrating for both the patient and dermatologist alike,” says Mark S. Nestor, M.D., director of the Center for Clinical and Cosmetic Research and a voluntary professor at the Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, in a press release.1

The study’s authors note that red and infrared low level light therapy (LLLT) has been shown to induce anti-inflammatory effects in plaque psoriasis patients and, when 620 nm LED light is used, inflammation, irritation and pruritus reduces as a result of an elevated release of nitric oxide in the skin.2

The immunomodulatory modes of actions commonly associated with nitric oxide include decreased E-selection expression of endothelial cells, decreased production of Interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-1β and regulation of matrix metalloproteinase activity, which lead to decreased irritation, pruritus and inflammation. Additionally, a 660 nm LED light has shown to increase adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and cellular respiration, while decreasing inflammatory cytokines.2

The study enrolled 81 subjects from 18 to 65 years old who had been diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia. The participants included women with Ludwig-Savin Scale I-1 to I-4, II-1, II-2 or frontal patterns of hair loss and men with Norwood Hamilton Classification IIA-V, while both having I-IV Fitzpatrick Skin Types.2

Participants were randomly given either the 620 nm and 660 nm dual wavelength light therapy device (REVIAN RED) or a sham comparator device to wear 10 minutes once daily for 16 weeks. Also, both patient arms tracked their daily experience and compliance using REVIAN’s Bluetooth-connected mobile app.

The quality of life impact was assessed with the Hair Specific Skindex-29 Quality of Life Questionnaire (HSSQOL) which consists of a 29-item questionnaire that contains three domains: seven symptom questions, 12 function questions and 10 emotion questions.

RELATED: Hormone’s role in postmenopausal hair changes

Results from the study reveal after the completion of the 16-week trial, 100% of the active treated arm displayed “never” or “rarely” have a “burning or stinging” symptom compared to 66.6% of the placebo arm, while 0% of the active arm reported “sometime” or “often” for the symptom compared to 33.4% of the placebo arm (p=0.007).

Meanwhile, 77.8% of the active treatment arm reported “never” or “rarely” for pruritus (“my scalp itches”) versus 44% of the placebo arm. Also, 16.7% of the active arm reported “sometime” or “often” for the symptom versus 57.6% of the placebo-treated arm (p=0.2).

Additionally, for “my scalp is irritated”, 83.4% of the active arm compared to 55.5% of the placebo arm reported “never” or “rarely”, and 16.6% of the active arm compared to 44.5% of the placebo arm reported the symptom “sometime” or “often” (p=0.07).

“The clinical data showing significant reduction in itching, burning, and irritation observed with this new class of LED light therapy that utilizes two wavelengths of light is extremely encouraging,” says Mark S. Nestor, M.D., director of the Center for Clinical and Cosmetic Research and a voluntary professor at the Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

References:

1. REVIAN® Presents Leading Clinical Trial Results for New Hair Loss Treatment. Business Wire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200121005292/en/REVIAN®-Presen.... Published January 21, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020.
2. Nestor MS, Berman B, Sinclair R, Medendorp N, Womble M, Stasko N. Clinical Efficacy of an At-Home, 620 and 660 nm Red Light Treatment on Scalp Pruritus and Irritation. https://16opuq2589oi2u1we332yms1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Clinical-Efficacy-At-Home-Red-Light-Treatment-Scalp-Pruritis-Irritation.pdf. Published January 21, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020.