Low level laser therapy for hair growth | HairMD, Pune

Low Level Laser Therapy For Hair Loss

Jun 3, 2019

Low-Level Laser Therapy For Hair Loss

Low-level laser therapy for hair loss (LLLT) is a form of light/heat treatment. It is an ideal treatment for genetic or hereditary hair loss in men and women. Examples of genetic hair loss conditions are androgenetic alopecia and pattern balding. LLLT is also called red light therapy, photobiostimulation, and photobiomodulation. This therapy irradiates photons into scalp tissues. The weak cells absorb these photons to encourage hair growth.

The LLLT procedure is safe and tolerable. Furthermore, it is less invasive than hair transplant surgery. It is a great supportive treatment to the traditional minoxidil and finasteride treatments. LLLT may aid a hair transplant patient’s postoperative wound healing process. Finally, it may also expedite hair growth.

Low-Level Laser Therapy For Hair Loss

The LLLT devices used to treat hair loss have diodes that emit infrared light. These rays penetrate the scalp. The wavelength of infrared light is 630-670 nanometers. These devices are available as:

  • In-salon hoods or overhead panels
  • Bonnet or head caps
  • Hand-held devices.

Some of the lasers used for LLLT are Excimer (308 nm), helium-neon (632.8 nm), and fractional erbium-glass (1550 nm).

How does low-level laser therapy work?

The cycle of hair growth has three stages –

  • Growth (Anagen phase)
  • Resting (Telogen phase)
  • Shedding (Catagen phase)

Low-level laser therapy causes an increase in blood flow to the scalp. This stimulates metabolism in follicles that are in the catagen or telogen phase. As a result of this stimulation, the hair follicles reach the anagen phase. Basically, it stimulates or awakens dormant hair follicles to grow hair.

The photons emitted by the low-level laser beams act on cytochrome C oxidase. This causes the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which converts to cyclic AMP in the hair follicle cells. This releases energy and consequently stimulates metabolic processes necessary for hair growth.

The light/heat treatment helps to release of nitric oxide from cells. This leads to increased blood flow or vascularisation to the scalp. The vascularisation aids the distribution of nutrients and oxygen to the hair roots. Moreover, it also helps to reduce the peri-follicular inflammation on the scalp.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is one of the causative factors of androgenetic alopecia (AGA). LLLT prevents the excessive build-up of DHT.

Furthermore, it also acts on the sebaceous glands, reducing the oiliness in the scalp. As a result, LLLT may also help in reducing dandruff and dryness. So the therapy not only increases the growth of the hair but also the overall health of the scalp.

How is low-level laser hair therapy administered?

  • Professionals at a medical facility may administer your laser hair therapy. You can also undergo this therapy at home.
  • LLLT is typically administered two to three times per week over a duration of a year.
  • During each session, the scalp is exposed for 8-15 minutes to light-emitting diodes. The diodes may be under a bonnet or head cap. Another method of administering LLLT is using a handheld comb or brush.
  • Scalp treatments that promote blood circulation may enhance the effectiveness of LLLT.  e.g, a massage is a very useful technique to improve circulation.

Who is the best candidate for low-level laser therapy for hair loss?

Patients with hereditary thinning hair or pattern baldness are ideal candidates for LLLT.

Physicians use the following systems to describe the degree of hair loss:

  • Norwood-Hamilton Classification for men
  • Ludwig-Savin Scale for women.

Norwood Scale

LLLT is generally prescribed to

  • Male patients who have Norwood Hamilton Classifications of IIa to V,
  • Female patients who have Ludwig (Savin) I-4, II-1, II-2, or frontal patterns of hair loss and
  • Female patients who have Fitzpatrick skin phototypes I to IV.

Benefits of low-level laser therapy

  • It is a non-invasive procedure
  • It increases hair strength
  • No reported adverse effects
  • It is clean and painless
  • Reduced hair fall and noticeable hair growth after 12-26 weeks of use

However, LLLT may interact with certain medications that are photosensitizing. Photosensitizing is a chemical alteration to the skin that increases sensitivity to light.

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