Dr. Leonard Reviews the Capillus272 Pro Laser Cap
Join acclaimed hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Robert Leonard, for a full review of the Capillus272™ Pro laser cap. In the video interview below, Dr. Leonard covers all the basics about androgentic alopecia (hair loss), treatment options, and why so many men and women experience such extraordinary results after laser hair therapy with Capillus.
"I've been using laser therapy in my practice for many years, and the feedback I get is extraordinarily positive."
Interviewer: This is the Capillus272 Pro, a medical device that uses low level laser therapy to promote hair regrowth. Now, to get this, you need to go through a licensed medical provider, like Dr. Robert Leonard. Can you tell us what kind of hair loss this is used for?
Dr. Leonard: The Capillus272 Pro is a device to treat androgenetic alopecia[…], the most common type of hair loss that’s around. In fact, about 98% of hair loss is due to genetics, or androgenetic alopecia.
Interviewer: Why do you need to get this [laser cap] through a provider like yourself?
Dr. Leonard: This device needs to be obtained through a provider because a person does not necessarily know if he or she has androgenetic alopecia. And going to a hair loss physician or expert, of course, would be the place to begin seeking the cause of the hair loss. The Capillus272 Pro is one of many treatments, in fact, to treat this particular condition.
Interviewer: And are there certain signs, or symptoms, that people need to be aware of, in terms of [identifying] this hair loss?
Dr. Leonard: Yes, there are. Hair loss can begin at any age, from the teens all the way up through the 9th decade of life. And the most common sign, is shedding of hair, excessive shedding of hair. It’s amazing to see, after 100 hairs of shed per day is where we consider that to be a problem. So, we consider abnormal shedding to be more than 100 hairs per day. People don’t believe that, but it’s very, very true. That is the most common sign for androgenetic alopecia.
Interviewer: So if I’m someone that is concerned with my hair loss, what do I do? Do I collect the hairs every day? How do you suggest we go about doing that?
Dr. Leonard: I’m been specializing in hair restoration surgery for over 29 years, and I’ve seen calendars full of hair, I’ve seen bags full of hair. One of the things patients can do, is they can count the number of hairs after they shampoo, for example. What I have patients do is a hair count, so it’s simply counting the number of hairs coming off their head in 1 day, during the first hour of the day. So the 4 areas I ask patients to look at are any hairs laying on their pillowcase in the morning, in the shower drain— so if they have big holes, they should cover it to catch the hairs— in the towel when they dry the hair in the morning, and then in the comb or the brush. So if that number exceeds 100, then there’s a strong possibility they have androgenetic alopecia, and they should seek the services of a physician who’s interested in treating hair loss.
Interviewer: And how is this hair loss different in men compared to women?
Dr. Leonard: Well, hair loss is essentially the same in men and women. The numbers of patients who experience androgenetic alopecia are different. So, 1 out of every 2 men have male pattern baldness, and 1 out of every 4 women experience female pattern hair loss. The genes that cause the hair loss are not determined by the person. You can’t change those genes. But, you can look back in the family history and see if a mother, an aunt, or a grandmother, or a father, grandfather, uncle has hair loss. You have to see where your family lies in that regard.
Interviewer: Is it more diffuse in women?
Dr. Leonard: Hair loss tends to be more diffuse in women, that is right. A common pattern of hair loss in women is a retained hair line, about a quarter to a half an inch remains along the hair line, and behind that it gets generally thin. Some women also have low density in their donor areas, which is something important for someone like myself, as a hair restoration surgeon, to evaluate. In men, there can be many different patterns, so there is a scale called the Norwood Scale, and it goes from 1 to 7. Norwood Class 1 is just a little bit of a receding hair line in the front. And it goes all the way up to full baldness on the top of the head.
Interviewer: Now many people associate lasers with hair removal. How does this [Capillus272 Pro] promote hair regrowth?
Dr. Leonard: Well this laser, the Capillus272 Pro, is absolutely not a hair removal laser. So hair removal lasers are ablative, they damage things, they damage the hair follicle, they damage hair. This is a bio-stimulating laser, it’s totally different from a hair removal laser. The Capillus272 Pro actually increases the capillary blood flow to the dermis of the skin, which helps with the benefit of slowing down the progression of androgenetic alopecia, as well as potentially regrowing hair.
Interviewer: So using this cap, can you show us how it works?
Dr. L: Yes, it’s very easy to use. This is the battery pack. This is charged overnight, and the charge lasts for 1 week. The device is turned on—you can see the red laser light shining here— this device is actually placed on the patient’s head, and he or she wears it for half an hour, every other day. So the device is utilized by the patient at home, which is a big benefit because we’ve had laser therapy in our practice for many years, and for the last 4 or 5 years we’ve had the Capillus available to our patients, and they can do it at home. Which allows for this very good treatment to be done on a very easy basis, without having to come to the doctor’s office.
Interviewer: Now, are there any contra-indications, or medical reasons, not to be using this device? What do you tell, what do you advise your patients?
Dr. Leonard: There are just a couple of things to be concerned with. One is pregnancy. With pregnancy, there have been no studies with pregnant women, so we tell people if they become pregnant, they need to stop the therapy. The other is epilepsy. This is a strobe type of light, it is not a direct continuous light, and epileptics can be affected by strobe lighting, so we tell those patients not to use it. The other type of patient, it’s questionable whether there is a photosensitivity issue, like a patient who might have migraines after seeing bright lights. We advise patients with migraine history to use it with caution.
Interviewer: What about patients who take medications that might make their skin more sensitive?
Dr. Leonard: That’s a good question, but the photosensitivity from medications is UV radiation, and the Capillus272 Pro has nothing to do with UV, it is at the other end of the light spectrum. That’s not a problem.
Interviewer: Okay, so this is not going to burn your skin, or feel hot to the touch?
Dr. Leonard: Well, some people have a little warm sensation, just from the light, but it would be very rare to have any issue like that at all.
Interviewer: Tell us about what kind of patients you are treating with this device. Describe your patient population.
Dr. Leonard: Well by far, the types of patients I treat at my practice are men and women with androgenetic alopecia. So patients come in to the office, and they’re noticing excessive shedding. We evaluate that patient and determine whether or not laser therapy will be helpful for him or her. And once they are determined to have androgenetic alopecia, we begin laser therapy at home. So the Capillus272 Pro is a device that patients use at home. So with this device, we actually have them wear it 1 half hour, every other day. And what I explain to my patients about how this actually works, in my words, is that every single hair follicle— 100 to 150 thousand on the scalp— actually has it’s own little artery and it’s own little vein. And they are all connected by this capillary bed, which is located in the dermis of the skin where the follicles reside. One of the causes of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, is decreased blood flow in this particular circulatory system. So, what the laser does, is it revamps, or increases the circulatory system in that capillary bed, which therefore allows for the positive effects of slowing down progression of hair loss, as well as regrowing hair.
Interviewer: I was just going to ask you, you talked about the fact that this has been around for a little bit. There are combs, there are helmets, there are panels— what’s different about this?
Dr. Leonard: It’s secure, and it’s private for patients. The Capillus272 Pro, unlike these other devices you mention, is secure on the patient’s head, it’s easy to use, and it’s not cumbersome at all. This fits within a baseball hat. You can use the Capillus hat, or your favorite team, and the hat is worn very comfortably while patients spend a half hour doing whatever they would normally do, whether in the privacy of their home, in the car commuting, or at work, or wherever they are. The other devices often require you to hold something up, and it’s awkward. This is not.
Interviewer: Now “272” stands for the number of light elements in the cap, right?
Dr. Leonard: That’s correct.
Interviewer: Why is this important?
Dr. Leonard: Well, with laser therapy, the number of lasers in the device is actually one of the more important factors. How many, and how close they are approximated. So there are other devices that have 9, or 11, or 15, or 50 or 80, and they cover less scalp. So fewer follicles are impacted by these direct laser lights. The beauty of the Capillus272 Pro is that it is the most concentrated type of laser device to treat hair loss in the world, and patients have great results.
Interviewer: We talked about there are a few contra-indications. But are there any safety concerns, have there been any adverse reactions to this at all?
Dr. Leonard: In my experience, there have been no adverse reactions, actually. The safety concern would be staring into the laser. Just like you would not stare into a laser pointer. It’s the same advice. It’s common sense, certainly you do not want to look into this laser light.
Interviewer: Do you have to wear any special glasses, or anything like that?
Dr. Leonard: No, nothing is necessary because one of the nice things about the Capillus272 Pro as well, is that it fits within the confines of the baseball cap, for example. When it’s placed on the scalp, it’s completely hidden. There’s no light coming around the periphery of the scalp, so there’s really no reason that anyone would have that need for glasses or anything in that regard.
Interviewer: And you mentioned this is used for 30 minutes, every other day. Why is compliance so essential?
Dr. Leonard: Compliance is essential for anything you treat, any medical problem, wether it’s a pill, or a topical product, or a laser. One of the things that I describe to my patients about laser therapy is, just like you have a loading dose of a medication, sometimes. So it takes compliance and regularity of use in order to get the benefits because anything with the hair cycle takes a few months to impact it in a wholesome way. So one of the common concerns about another product that is a topical, for example, is that it has to be applied to the scalp twice a day, every day, and it takes about 4 months. And people want everything to be done yesterday. That’s the human way. We all want to have everything done yesterday. As so it takes time, and that’s another reason why patients should see a hair loss expert, because we can describe the timetable of results. We can describe how it’s used, etc. I think it’s critical important for that to be.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about the results, and what is the timetable? How much regrowth can people really expect? I know there was a clinical trial that was done.
Dr. Leonard: In my experience as a hair restoration surgeon for many, many years, is that I tell patients the effects of any treatment, whether it’s topical, oral, surgical, or low level laser therapy, takes about 4 months really to see a clinical effect. It takes that amount of time for anything to impact the hair follicle to do anything in a positive way. So, I tell my patients it takes about 4 months for the laser to slow down the progression of hair loss— to see less hair in the drain, less in their comb or brush, less on their clothing, and less in the shower. And about a year to a year and a half to really see regrowth. So laser therapy, like these other nonsurgical treatments, does better to stabilize progression of androgenetic alopecia, and it’s a lesser effect to regrow hair. So laser therapy, like any other treatment, takes a long time to see the results. And it works better to stabilize progression, versus regrow hair.
Interviewer: And I think it’s important to note, as you mention, that this is a treatment. It’s not a cure, right? So what happens if somebody uses this, as instructed, for 2 years and decides, ‘Nope, I don’t want to do this anymore,’?
Dr. Leonard: Well, I think it’s something that has to be discussed during the consultation. Any therapy typically needs long term usage to be effective in the long term. I have been using this therapy for many, many years, and my observation is, with laser therapy, unlike with Propecia or Rogaine for example, that it can be stopped at the end of 1 year protocol. And 90% of the people retain the clinical benefits. 10% of people will revert back to shedding, like they had prior to their usage of the treatment. The other two treatments for hair loss, Rogaine and Propecia, if they stop those, 100% of people will revert back to their pre-treatment situation. So, with laser therapy you have a more long lasting approach than any other treatment available in my hands.
Interviewer: What kind of feedback are you getting from patients?
Dr. Leonard: As I’ve said, I’ve been using laser therapy in my practice for many years, and the feedback I get is extraordinarily positive. One of the biggest benefits, in addition to using it at home, is that it’s easy to use. There are other treatments to treat hair loss which are more difficult, and more burdensome. The nice part about the Capillus272 Pro is that patients can put it on while they’re exercising, or watching television, or on the computer, a half an hour every other day, and it’s easy. I use it myself, and I find it to be very, very easy. As I said before, it takes a long time to see results, so I’ll get a phone call after a week or after a month saying, ‘Well, it’s not working, it’s not working,’ and I have to remind them it takes at least 4 months to see results, in my experience. The feedback otherwise is very positive, because it’s easy. It’s easy to do, it doesn’t interfere with their lives to get good therapy to stabilize progression of androgenetic alopecia. And people are happy, because you can have control over many things, but it’s very difficult to control hair loss. If you’re fat, you can lose weight. If you’re skinny, you can gain weight. But with hair loss, it is very difficult. People have this black cloud over their heads, saying ‘Oh my gosh, what can I do? There’s nothing I can do about my hair loss.’ And we have an opportunity to help patients. And I have to say, I get some of the nicest letters from my patients, mostly women I might add, that they are very, very happy that they have the hair loss under control. And that’s a big, big positive for a doctor who is making recommendation.
Interviewer: Thank you so much.
Dr. Leonard:You’re welcome, thank you.