Low-level laser therapy or LLLT is a highly controversial hair loss treatment debated by hair restoration physicians and veteran hair transplant patients alike. While some hair doctors offer laser therapy as a part of their practice, others reject its use entirely. So what’s the deal with LLLT? Does it really work to stop hair loss and regrow hair?
Introduction to Hair Loss
A healthy person loses 50-100 strands of hair daily - which is obviously a natural process and not a cause for concern. But larger than usual clumps of hair found in the shower, on your pillow or elsewhere may be a sign of genetic hair loss. Men and women experiencing hair loss are strongly encouraged to schedule a consultation with one of our top-rated hair transplant doctors.
Some forms of non-genetic hair loss can be prevented such as thinning hair caused by tight hairstyles, extreme stress, medical therapies, and nutritional deficiencies. However, you must opt for advanced treatments for serious hair loss caused by genetic alopecia, a hormonal imbalance, chemotherapy, and other related conditions.
Low-Level Laser Therapy for hair regrowth
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a controversial hair loss treatment that has been cleared by the FDA for both safety and some level of efficacy. So does that mean it works as a legitimate hair loss solution?
LLLT is a non-surgical procedure that allegedly works by using non-invasive light technology to stimulate hair follicles and induce thicker and fuller hair. Some studies suggest that LLLT may stimulate hair growth in people subjected to chemo-therapy induced alopecia and hereditary hair loss. The main mechanism works to stimulate the epidermal stem cells and shifting the hair follicles back into the anagen or growth phase. It has been shown that low-level laser light stimulates cellular activity.
LLLT involves keeping the scalp under laser emitting diodes for around 30-60 minutes. The laser diodes emit infrared light at a wavelength of 630-650 nanometers.
Scientists discovered that while some wavelengths can blind the person, other wavelengths can show potential benefits from healing wounds to hair recovery. Further research discovered that the results of laser therapy on hair health were promising.
How laser therapy may trigger hair growth
Laser therapy both facilitates hair regrowth and can even remove hair permanently. The results depend on the intensity of laser light and its wavelength.
A laser light at a wavelength of 630-650 nanometers encourages hair regrowth. On the contrary, laser light of 700-1100 nanometers can damage the soft tissue around hair follicles and destroy the hair.
Although LLLT can be used to restore hey nominal amount of hair, a large number of factors like - power, density, wavelength, pulse, structure, timing, etc. must be considered for each session.
There are many theories about how low-level laser therapy restores hair loss. Here we have summarized some of the proposed mechanisms -
•Increases tissue oxygenation
The infrared light has the ability to separate nitric oxide from cytochrome-c-oxidase (CCO) present in the tissue cells. This process increases the cellular respiration as well as tissue oxygenation. According to a study, anything that increases tissue oxygenation should encourage regrowth of hair.
•Activates heat shock proteins
Laser therapy may increase the heat shock proteins that play an important role in follicular stem proliferation. In short, increasing the HSP27 proteins can encourage hair regrowth.
•Increases blood flow
The infrared light separates the nitric oxide from skin tissue that makes up the blood vessels. This increases the oxygen flow, resulting in an increased blood flow.
•Inhibits 5-alpha reductase
Laser light can inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, an essential enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. Anything that inhibits 5-alpha reductase in the scalp might stop hair loss.
One of the greatest benefits of LLLT is that the patients are able to immediately resume their regular activities.
LLLT may be a viable option for those who experience nominal hair loss or want to restore a bit more hair volume. However, those with advanced boldness or Sirius degrees of hair loss are not likely to see any real benefit from using laser therapy as a treatment for hair loss. For more information regarding LLLT you can book a consultation with one of top rated hair transplant doctors.