Low-Level Laser Therapy For Hair Growth

Low-Level Laser Therapy For Hair Growth

Hair loss isn't always natural. Sometimes it occurs as a result of heredity, stress, pre-existing health conditions or medication. In fact, not all types of hair loss manifest in the same way. For instance, natural pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is likely to start in the form of a reduction in hair growth followed by thinning of hair. On the other hand, hair loss due to a scalp infection usually starts as loss of hair in patches.

Hair loss doesn't occur on the scalp alone; it can affect the whole body. Such is the case in cancer patients that have undergone chemotherapy. However, such chemotherapy-induced hair loss/hair removal is usually temporary and normal hair growth returns after a while.

How To Treat Hair Loss

Unfortunately, the effects of hair loss are not always restricted to the physical alone. There has been evidence of psychological effects stemming from hair loss, necessitating treatment. Some of the available hair loss treatments include:

  • Use of Minoxidil, which exerts its effect by widening the hair follicles and triggering thicker hair growth;
  • Use of Finasteride, which reduces Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp, thus reducing hair loss and promoting hair regrowth;
  • Use of Topical medications in regimens designed by a dermatologist;
  • Hair transplants. These are surgeries, which essentially involve the transfer of DHT-resistant hair follicles unto the area of the scalp with reducing hair density;
  • Laser comb, and;
  • Laser helmets.

The last two treatment options are quite unique in their approach as they stimulate hair follicles to enhance hair regrowth.

What Is Laser Hair Growth Treatment?

This particular form of hair growth therapy involves the use of devices that emit light. The light emission that is produced then stimulates the scalp to regrow hair.  Most laser devices intended for this use are considered safe for home use and are approved by the FDA.

The safety of the devices is down to their underlying mechanics. For instance, Theradome laser light targets the stem cells at the base of the hair follicles, thus restoring hair health. 

A laser is made to produce and emit light of certain power and wavelength. This specificity is required for the laser to perform the specific function for which it is intended and for it to do so safely. In this case, the laser light is intended to promote hair growth, and it does so using red laser light at low power and a wavelength of 630-670 nanometers. 

These technologies specifically make use of low-level laser therapy in the form of one (or many) visible red light laser (similar to those depicted in movies). The laser light contains photons capable of raising ATP (Adenosine triphosphate, which promotes hair growth) production in the human scalp hair follicles. This, in turn, increases metabolism, promotes hair growth and subsequently reinvigorates thinning hair.

There are also related studies that back these laser devices and therapy having more effects beyond the stimulation of hair follicles. For instance, The Hair Society claims that laser hair growth therapy doesn't just treat hair loss but also enhances blood flow, nutrient transport and scalp health.

Does Laser Hair Therapy Work?

As mentioned earlier, many devices utilize low-level laser therapy, and more than a few of them are FDA approved. However, the approval is limited to their safety and there haven't been any attempts as of yet to justify their use. In other words, their efficacy hasn't been proven in any clinical trials by the regulatory body. That said, many professionals believe that these devices are efficacious in treating both female and male androgenetic alopecia. The effectiveness of the laser therapy against other hair loss conditions, though, is still up in the air.

The general efficacy of the therapy could be traced back to the serendipitous discovery by a Hungarian scientist in the 1960s. During an experiment to determine whether or not red light laser treatments had an effect on skin cancer, it was observed that the same light had an effect on the rate of hair growth.

Since then, further research has proven just how laser light can reverse hair loss. The specific biological process involves the absorption of light by intracellular enzymes. The absorbed light stimulates reaction and causes signals to be sent to hair follicle cells. In summary, laser hair therapy is not fake, and there is photobiological proof of this.

There's just one problem, though; laser therapy doesn't work for everyone. If the molecules of the intracellular enzyme fail to absorb the light, there would be no stimulation and consequently no transmission of signals to the hair follicles. An individual suffering from hair loss and who is not responding to laser therapy would be better off trying other hair loss treatments.

Other than an inability to absorb the low level laser light, other conditions might render the therapy ineffective. An example is severe hair loss. Experience in the application of the low-level light therapy has shown that it is more effective when hair loss is still minimal such as in early male pattern baldness or the case of a receding hairline.

In addition, hair restoration professionals also recommend that the laser treatment be used with other hair loss treatments to improve hair growth further. It should be noted, though, that laser treatments would have to be repeated regularly. This hair loss therapy, like most of the others, is not a one-time solution. As such, to sustain new hair growth, the laser device would need to be used with regularity.

How Long Does Laser Hair Therapy Take To Work?

With the exception of hair transplant surgery, no hair loss treatment regimen produces permanent results. In fact, severe cases of hair loss are best treated with transplant surgery instead of laser beams. In spite of these facts, laser hair therapy can slow down hair loss and stimulate hair growth. Just don't expect the effects to be immediately noticeable.

The watchwords when using this treatment are  patience, consistency and regularity. This is because it might take months for you to grow hair. Note that the exact duration would still vary from person to person. The extent of loss would have an effect as well. So rather than assuming the therapy is doing nothing to promote growth, consult your dermatologist even while you're still using your laser helmet. 

Which Laser Hair Growth Helmet Is The Best?

Many laser treatment devices are around, but the most common and arguably the most convenient are the helmets/caps. Among these helmets, one of the standouts is the Theradome laser hair growth helmet. Their effectiveness bagged them the 2018 Laser Hair Restoration Treatment of the Year. Furthermore, the helmet has been cleared for use by the FDA for both females and males. 

All that aside, this low-level laser treatment is not suitable for everyone. As such, depending on the severity of your hair loss and the recommendation of your dermatologist, you might need to try out another treatment group to notice significant improvements. 

How To Prevent Hair Loss? 

Ironically, most types of hair loss are completely natural. Hence, there's no preventing or stopping them. As pointed out earlier, though, you can slow the process down. Low-level laser therapy is one of the means by which you can slow down this male/female pattern of hair loss. However, there are simpler, more natural ways to slow down the onset of hair loss. Some of them are:

  • Be more gentle with your hair. If your hair is very thick and difficult to comb or brush, consider using a detangler. This is preferable to the tugging and pulling that you would otherwise have to suffer if you went straight to combing the hair. Other tips along this vein include combing hair when it's wet and limiting the tension on the scalp when the hair is pulled during styling. 
  • Check the side effects of your medications and supplements. Many drugs cause people to lose hair as a side effect. You might like to consider some alternatives if hair loss isn't something you can deal with. 
  • Smoke less or stop it entirely. This is advisable as some studies have shown loss of hair to be related to the vice. 
  • Consider using a cap or scarf when outdoors. This should help protect your hair from sunlight. 

Final Thoughts

Natural hair loss is mostly inevitable and unpreventable. Unnatural hair loss, on the other hand, can be prevented. Whichever category you fall into, though, laser hair therapy is an effective treatment option to restore your hair thickness, and you should try it out. That said, keep growing more hair. Ciao!