Laser hair loss treatment is a low level laser is used to treat hair loss for men and women. Low level laser therapy is also called red light therapy, cold laser, soft laser, biostimulation and photobiomodulation.
Laser therapy uses compressed light of a wavelength from the red part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. It is different from natural light in that it is one precise color; it travels in a straight line, has a single wavelength and it concentrates its beam in a defined location or spot. These properties allow laser light to penetrate with no heating effect, no damage and no known side effects, making it an excellent source of energy for people experiencing thinning hair or hair loss.
Also, research studies have indicated that laser therapy can be positive to the hair and skin. Laser therapy bathes your hair roots with a nourishing light and is designed to energize the hair cells. Living cells like light and your hair is not different. The most common example of light converting into chemical energy is photosynthesis, where plants are fed via light converted into chemical energy. Scientific studies on cell cultures have shown that laser penetrates into soft tissue and increases the action of adenosine triphosphate, a molecule that is a major carrier of energy from one reactor site to another in all living cell.
The current treatment standard for pattern balding is therapy with minoxidil and finasteride 1 mg, with transplant as a surgical option. However, low level laser treatment for hair loss is now also promoted as a safe alternative or additional treatment for men and women with androgenetic alopecia or pattern balding. Laser treatment for hair loss aims to stimulate blood flow to the root of the hair follicle which delivers nutrition to the follicle helping it stay strong and encouraging a healthy hair growth cycle. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests that laser therapy for hair loss does produce the desired results.
Who will benefit from laser hair loss treatment?
Laser therapy is not the utopia as is bandied about. Careful evaluation of the hair loss is required to determine whether you are likely to benefit from laser therapy. And this can only be established during a consultation with an expert in the field of hair loss and hair restoration. Physicians use a system known as the Norwood-Hamilton Classification (men) and the Ludwig-Savin Scale (women) to describe the degree of hair loss. Low level laser therapy is intended for promotion of hair growth in males who have Norwood Hamilton Classifications of IIa to V and in females who have Ludwig (Savin) I-4, II-1, II-2, or frontal patterns of hair loss and have Fitzpatrick skin phototypes I to IV.
But it stands to reason that a person who has been bald for several years and this person is genetically predisposed to hair loss that no amount of laser therapy will revive something that is not there.
Laser hair loss treatment is intended for men and women with thinning hair or pattern baldness caused by a hereditary condition.
How is laser hair therapy supposed to work?
The hair growth cycle consists of three phases: the growth or anagen phase, the resting or telogen phase, and the shedding catagen phase. Hair loss in androgenetic alopecia depends on a testosterone derivative in the skin, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Low level laser therapy is believed to increase blood flow in the scalp and stimulate metabolism in catagen or telogen follicles, resulting in the production of anagen hair. In theory:
- The photons of light act on cytochrome C oxidase leading to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is converted to cyclic AMP in the hair follicle cells, releasing energy and stimulating metabolic processes necessary for hair growth.
- Release of nitric oxide from cells leads to increased vascularisation to the scalp distributing nutrients and oxygen to the hair roots.
- Excessive build-up of DHT is prevented.
Physicians have varying views on whether or not low level laser therapy is effective. While some physicians reject its use entirely, others believe that low level laser therapy can provide benefit for some men and women suffering from androgenic alopecia (genetic baldness). Also, it has also been suggested that it may assist a hair transplant patient’s postoperative wound healing process and expedite hair growth.
Benefits of laser therapy for hair loss
• Low level laser therapy can be used in both men and women
• No adverse effects have been reported
• It is clean and painless
• Low level laser hair therapy is relatively inexpensive
• It requires minimal time commitment
• Some low level laser therapy devices are portable
• Hair growth may occur on the top of the head/crown and along the hairline of forehead
Improvement is reported in at least some users after 12 to 26 weeks of use, with reduced hair fall and noticeable hair growth.
What is the procedure for laser hair loss treatment?
Laser hair therapy may be delivered in a salon by professionals trained in its administration, or at home if a hand held device is used.
Two to three times weekly treatments are typically recommended, and consist of 8 to 15-minute exposure of the scalp to light-emitting diodes under a bonnet or head cap or using a handheld comb or brush.
Scalp treatment and massages that promote blood circulation may be used additionally as part of the program.