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Apira Science's iGrow: lasers in the service of ending baldness

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For men and women who are losing their hair

"We have peer-reviewed science!" says Jeff Braile, the president of Apira Science's medical device division the moment I walked up to their booth at CES. Clearly he was familiar with my oeuvre.

The company's iGrow laser therapy was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use by men in August, and for use by women in December. It works using low-level light therapy, which uses a laser set to a certain amount of energy and a certain wavelength — both cold lasers and LED devices can be used. The technology has been used for skincare for decades; the hair growth effect was first discovered in mouse experiments in the 1960s, Braile says. There are more than 100 study abstracts in PubMed on the therapy.

The device, which a user wears four times a week for 25 minutes, was shown to increase women's hair count by 37 percent in four months, according to a study published in Lasers in Surgery in Medicine. And men also experienced a 35 percent increase in hair counts, according to separate study, also published in Lasers in Surgery in Medicine. No adverse effects or side effects were reported. The sample sizes are a little smaller than I generally prefer, but holy cats was it nice to see one of these personal health products that had actually thought to run a study to back up their claims.

The laser cap doesn't come cheap. It'll set you back $695 and is available for direct-to-consumer purchase at the online stories for Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Hammacher, Drugstore.com, and Frys; some retail locations may also have the device. When I raised my eyebrows at the price, Braile pointed out iGrow is cheaper than 10 years' worth of Rogaine.

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