Light therapy and hair loss? Can it work? This is something I’ve always wondered about particularly after I came across ‘helmets’ that make use of laser light therapy to manage hair loss.
Skepticism grips me but mostly because I don’t understand how such therapy would work on hair loss. Previously, I had read that light therapy has been used in treating clinical conditions such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), psoriasis, eczema and neonatal jaundice.
But first ….
What is Light Therapy?
Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy. It involves the use of visible light or non-visible ultra violet light.
Sources of light therapy include incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps and also light therapy boxes which emanate full-spectrum light similar in composition to sunlight.
In some studies, phototherapy with visible light (specifically blue light) has been shown to improve skin conditions such as acne and blemishes.
As blue light reaches the sebaceous glands in the skin, it excites porphyrins (compounds produced by bacteria that cause acne. When activated by light, porphyrins can destroy the bacteria from the inside out.
What is Low Level Laser Therapy?
In low level laser therapy(LLLT), (low-power) lasers are applied on the skin (for e.g in acne cases) or scalp (in the case of hair loss/growth) to treat the condition.
In treating hair loss or stimulating hair growth, it is claimed that LLLT can stimulate the epidermal stem cells in the hair follicle bulge, pushing these follicles into anagen phase.
Anagen phase is the active stage of hair follicles during which the root of the hair divides rapidly, adding to the hair shaft. At this stage the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. This active phase of scalp hair growth remains for about two to seven years. However, this period of growth is genetically determined.
Now the question is would light therapy and laser therapy (LLLT) give you the same outcome as treatment alternatives?
Here’s a great explanation on what you can expect from both …
Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss and Hair Growth
Since the discovery of lasers in the 1960s, laser treatments have been used to treat various medical conditions such as wound healing, nerve regeneration, joint pain relief and even stroke.
Through various studies, it has been found that red or near-infrared laser light promotes tissue repair and regeneration. And as discussed above, LLLT stimulates cellular activity.
As a result of these discoveries, home-use LLLT devices that emit low power coherent monochromatic red light have been developed to manage skin conditions, including hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
While the use of LLLT in the treatment of hair growth has been promising, it must be noted that most studies determine that the wavelength of LLLT applied should range between 635 to 650 nm for optimum result without unpleasant side effects.
Personally, I don’t question the effectiveness of LLLT to manage hair loss or stimulate hair growth, particularly with various studies that show positive results on for those suffereing from androgenetic alopecia.
In addition, this treatment has provided solution to patients who suffer from some skin conditions.
It gives me relief to know that LLLT works on stimulating hair growth because I have my sights on some home-use LLLT devides such as Thermodome and iRestore.
However, I am not ready to invest in one yet as I want to find out more if there are any side effects related to using such devices.
I hope to include further research on this issue in this post soon!