This comprehensive guide provides you with an in-depth understanding of Low-level laser therapy, including,how does LLT work,the ideal candidates for the procedure,what to expect before, during, and after,the potential risks and complications associated with it and most frequently asked questions.
Low Level Laser Therapy For Hair Loss
Low-level laser therapy for hair loss is also referred to as red light therapy or cold laser therapy.
This treatment involves the use of photons that penetrate the tissues of the scalp to strengthen weak cells and promote healthy hair growth.It is a popular procedure for addressing hair thinning and receding hairlines.
Compared to hair transplant surgery, low-level laser therapy is considered safer, non-invasive, and well-tolerated by patients.The theory behind this therapy is that the low doses of light trigger circulation within the scalp and stimulate hair follicle growth.
LLLT devices used for treating hair loss are equipped with diodes that emit infrared light, which penetrates the scalp.The wavelength of the infrared light used in these devices typically ranges from 630 to 670 nanometre.
LLLT devices are available in various forms, including in-salon hoods or overhead panels, bonnet or head caps, and handheld devices.Some of the lasers commonly employed in low-level laser therapy are Excimer (308 nm), helium-neon (632.8 nm), and fractional erbium-glass (1550 nm).
Low-level laser therapy stimulates increased blood flow to the scalp, thereby promoting metabolism in follicles in the catagen or telogen phase of hair cycle.
This stimulation enables the hair follicles to transition to the anagen phase, awakening dormant follicles and facilitating hair growth.
How Does Laser Hair Therapy For Hair Regrowth Work?
Laser hair therapy, also known as red light therapy or cold laser therapy, utilizes coherent diode lasers and incoherent LEDs or a combination of both in LLLT devices.
In India, LLLT for hair regrowth employs red light or near-infrared laser light with a wavelength of 500-1,100 nm. The treatment works by irradiating photos into the scalp tissues, which are absorbed by weak cells, resulting in improved hair growth.
Here are the key points explaining how laser hair therapy works:
- Stimulates telogen hair follicles to transition into the anagen phase, which is the active growth phase of hair.
- Increases the duration of the anagen growth phase, promoting longer and healthier hair growth.
- Enhances microvascular circulation, leading to improved induction of cytokines and growth factors that support hair growth.
- Boosts adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, an essential energy source for stimulating the metabolic processes necessary for hair growth.
- Reduces inflammation and prevents premature catagen development, which is the phase when hair stops growing.
- Releases nitric oxide from cells, facilitating better distribution of nutrients and oxygen to the hair roots.
- Prevents excessive buildup of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone associated with androgenetic alopecia.
- Acts on sebaceous glands, reducing scalp oiliness and potentially helping to alleviate dandruff and dryness.
Laser hair therapy is suitable for individuals experiencing hair shedding, thinning, or balding. Women noticing widening of the part, visible thinning, and hair shedding, as well as teenagers and adults with minor pattern baldness or adults with pattern baldness.
Benefits Of Laser Light Therapy For Hair Fall Treatment:
Here are the key points summarizing the advantages of this hair regrowth therapy:
- A non-invasive procedure, ensuring no scarring or pain.
- Completely safe with no reported side effects.
- Complementary to other treatments like Minoxidil, enhancing overall results.
- Effective in promoting faster hair growth and aiding the healing process after hair transplant treatments.
- Suitable for both men and women.
- Requires minimal time commitment, making it convenient for individuals with busy schedules.
- Promotes hair regrowth on the top of the head and along the hairline.
- Enhances hair strength, reducing the likelihood of further breakage.
- Easy to use, providing a hassle-free experience.
- Drug-free treatment option, eliminating the need for medication.
- Offers a natural approach to hair regrowth.
- No reported side effects or adverse reactions.
- Can be incorporated into one’s schedule without any downtime.
- A pain-free procedure that ensures a comfortable treatment experience.
- Yields gradual and natural-looking results over time.
- Can be used alongside other hair loss treatments for comprehensive care.
How Is Low Level Laser Light Therapy Administered
Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) is administered in the following manner:
- Treatment Frequency and Duration: LLLT is typically performed two to three times per week, and the treatment plan spans over a year. Frequency and duration are determined based on your hair fall condition.
- Exposure to Light-Emitting Diodes: During each session, the scalp is exposed to light-emitting diodes for 8-15 minutes. These diodes can be positioned under a bonnet or head cap. Another method involves using a handheld comb or brushes with embedded laser diodes.
- Combination with Scalp Treatments: To enhance the effectiveness of LLLT, it is often combined with therapies like scalp treatments and massages. These additional treatments aim to improve blood circulation in the scalp.
- Adherence to Treatment Schedule: It is crucial to strictly adhere to the prescribed treatment schedule and consult hair specialists. They will guide you in selecting the appropriate laser therapy device and duration that suits your skin and hair type best.
- Optimal Timing for LLLT: the recommended time for LLLT therapy is right after washing your hair or taking a shower. It is advisable to wet and clean your hair thoroughly, as a wet scalp allows for better visibility, leading to more effective treatment. However, ensure that your hair is towel-dried before commencing the therapy.
- Laser light therapy can also be administered at home.
Disadvantages Of Laser Treatment For Hair Loss
The disadvantages of laser treatment for hair loss can be summarized as follows:
Not a One-Shot Treatment: Laser hair growth treatment requires a course of multiple sessions over several months to achieve the best results. The number of treatments needed varies depending on factors such as hair condition, age, overall health, and whether additional treatments like PRP are combined.
Not Suitable for Those Taking Photosensitizing Medication: Laser therapy may not be viable for individuals taking photosensitizing medication, as these medications make the skin more sensitive to light. The increased sensitivity can interfere with the effectiveness of the laser treatment. It is important to consult with a doctor or inform the specialist about any medications being taken to determine suitability.
Effectiveness Varies: While most people experience tangible improvements with laser treatment for hair loss, it does not work for everyone. A minority of individuals may not respond to the treatment. The response to laser therapy varies from person to person, and it is not possible to predict the outcome until the treatment is tried.
Caution with Portable and Home Devices: Portable and at-home laser devices for hair fall treatment should be chosen carefully, as not all of them have undergone FDA clearance. It is generally recommended to start hair regrowth treatment under the supervision of a hair restoration specialist in a clinical setting.
Optimal Timing for LLLT: It is advisable to start low-level laser therapy (LLLT) as soon as possible when concerns about hair fall arise. Early intervention can potentially yield better results.
The Best Candidate For Low-Level Laser Therapy For Hair Loss
The ideal candidates for low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for hair loss can be described as follows:
- Patients with Hereditary Thinning Hair or Pattern Baldness: Individuals who experience hair loss due to hereditary factors or pattern baldness are well-suited for LLLT.
- Classification Systems: Physicians use specific classification systems to assess the degree of hair loss. These systems include the Norwood-Hamilton Classification for men and the Ludwig-Savin Scale for women.
- Norwood-Hamilton Classification: LLLT is typically recommended for male patients classified as Norwood Hamilton IIa to V. These classifications help identify the specific stage of male pattern baldness and determine the suitability for LLLT.
- Ludwig-Savin Scale: Female patients with hair loss can be evaluated using the Ludwig-Savin Scale. LLLT is commonly prescribed for women who fall under categories I-4, II-1, II-2, or those with frontal patterns of hair loss.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Phototypes: LLLT is considered appropriate for female patients with Fitzpatrick skin phototypes I to IV. The Fitzpatrick scale categorizes skin types based on their response to sun exposure, and these specific skin types are generally more responsive to LLLT.
The Side Effects Of Laser Therapy
The side effects of laser therapy, particularly low-level light therapy, are typically rare and minor. It’s important to note that these side effects, if present, are usually temporary and of minimal concern.
- Headaches: While uncommon, some individuals may experience headaches following laser therapy treatment. If you do experience this side effect, it’s advisable to consult with a doctor immediately.
- Burning Sensation: Another rare side effect is a burning sensation on the scalp. If you notice this sensation during or after treatment, it’s recommended to seek medical advice.
- Scalp Redness: Temporary redness of the scalp can occur as a result of laser therapy. This side effect is generally mild and subsides on its own over time.
- Itching: In some cases, individuals may experience itching on the treated area of the scalp. This itching is typically temporary and should resolve without intervention.
Despite the potential for side effects, laser hair therapy is generally considered a safe and painless treatment option for hair loss. The risk of experiencing adverse effects is low, and the benefits often outweigh any potential drawbacks. However, it’s worth noting that the treatment can be time-consuming, requiring multiple sessions for optimal results.
Post Op Care Instructions After Low-Level Laser Therapy For Hair Growth
After undergoing Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for hair growth, it is important to follow the post-operative care instructions to optimize hair growth and minimize any potential side effects.
Tingling Sensation: It is normal to experience a slight tingling sensation during and after the LLLT treatment. This sensation may last for a few hours following the session.
Scalp Massage: Gently massage the scalp for 5-8 minutes using an oil or lotion as prescribed by your physician. This massage helps improve blood circulation and promotes hair growth.
Minoxidil Application: If instructed by your physician, apply minoxidil to the scalp according to the recommended frequency, typically every 2 days.
Thorough Rinsing: After applying minoxidil, ensure thorough rinsing to remove any excess product from the hair and scalp.
Headache Management: It is possible to experience a mild headache after the LLLT treatment due to laser stimulation. This headache should subside quickly. However, if you experience severe headaches, consult your physician, who may prescribe a mild painkiller to alleviate the discomfort.
Results from using a laser cap for hair growth can vary for each individual, as everyone’s body responds differently to the treatment. However, in general, most patients can expect to see thicker and fuller hair within a timeframe of 2-4 months.
Here is a breakdown of what to expect during the treatment period:
- 0-3 months: During this initial phase, some patients may experience hair shedding. This shedding is a positive sign, indicating that the treatment is stimulating new hair growth. New, healthier hairs are pushing out older ones to make way for thicker strands.
- 3-6 months: At this stage, you should notice a reduction in hair shedding and a decrease in hair loss. Additionally, you will start to see fuller hair in areas where you previously experienced balding. Even if the improvements are minimal, it is important to remember that the treatment aims to not only improve existing hair loss but also prevent further hair loss.
- 12 months: By the 12-month mark, you can expect to see the full results of using the laser cap. This is when patients typically observe the most significant improvements in their hairline. The laser treatment has had ample time to stimulate hair growth, resulting in a more noticeable and satisfactory outcome.
Available Laser Treatment Options
When considering low-level laser therapy as a hair loss treatment, there are two options available that aim to achieve the same goal of slowing down or stopping hair loss and promoting new hair growth.
Visiting a Hair Loss Clinic:
- In-clinic laser therapy treatments require visiting a hair loss clinic 2-3 times per week for up to 12 months.
- The treatment involves sitting under a dome that emits light into the scalp to strengthen and stimulate hair growth.
- Each session lasts approximately 30-40 minutes.
- Drawbacks of in-clinic treatments include high costs, inconvenience, and outdated or inferior laser machines compared to at-home devices.
Using At-Home Products:
- With advancements in technology, at-home laser devices have become more popular and effective.
- Laser caps provide a comfortable and convenient option for LLLT.
- Laser diodes are embedded inside the cap, emitting red light in the 630-660nm range, which penetrates the scalp to impact hair health and density.
- Different laser caps have varying numbers of diodes, with more diodes allowing for faster treatment time and better scalp coverage.
- Users typically wear the laser cap for 6-30 minutes per session, with daily or every other day sessions.
- Noticeable changes and regrowth can be observed within a few weeks, although significant results may take a few months.
Some popular at-home laser devices for hair growth include:
- iHelmet Hair Growth Helmet with 200 Laser Diodes in 7 Zones.
- Theradome EVO Laser Hair Growth Helmet LH40, which is FDA-cleared for both men and women.
- Hairmax Laser band41, featuring 41 professional-grade medical lasers.
- DHI Hair Growth System with 272 Laser Diodes, designed to cover the entire scalp area for maximum light coverage and thicker hair follicles.
These at-home laser devices offer a convenient and effective alternative to in-clinic treatments, providing users with the flexibility to undergo LLLT in the comfort of their own homes.
Low Laser Light Therapy Is Not Recommended For?
Low laser light therapy is not recommended for the following people:
- Taking medications that heighten photosensitivity: LLLT is not recommended for individuals who are taking medications that increase their sensitivity to light.
- Having completely bald scalps: Individuals with completely bald scalps may not benefit from LLLT as there is no hair present for the light to stimulate.
- Being allergic to light: Individuals who have an allergic reaction to light should avoid LLLT treatment.
- Having active skin cancer or an infection-related condition: LLLT is not suitable for individuals with active skin cancer or conditions caused by infections, as it may interfere with their treatment or worsen their condition.
- Having epilepsy or nervous system disorders: Individuals with epilepsy or other conditions that affect the nervous system should avoid LLLT due to the potential risk of triggering seizures or exacerbating their condition.
- Being pregnant: Pregnant individuals should refrain from undergoing LLLT, as its effects on pregnancy have not been thoroughly studied.
The Cost Of Low-Level Laser Therapy In India
The cost of low-level laser therapy in India can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key points regarding the cost:
- Place of the LLLT Treatment: The location where the therapy is performed can influence the cost. Prices may vary between different cities or clinics in India.
- Surgeon’s skill and experience: The expertise and reputation of the surgeon or specialist administering the treatment can affect the cost. Highly skilled professionals may charge higher fees.
- Number of treatment sessions required: The total number of sessions needed for the complete treatment can impact the overall cost. More sessions may incur higher expenses.
- Type of Laser Machines Used: The type and quality of laser machines utilized during the therapy can influence the cost. Advanced or specialized devices may be more expensive.
- Device’s Quality: The quality of the LLLT device used, such as a helmet or cap, can affect the cost. Higher-quality devices may come at a higher price.
- Price of the devices: The cost of purchasing LLLT devices for personal home use can vary. Prices may differ based on the brand, features, and effectiveness of the device.
- Whether LLLT is performed at a clinic or a patient’s home: Opting for clinic-based treatment may involve additional costs, such as consultation fees and facility charges. Home-based treatments with personal devices may offer a more cost-effective option.
- Cost of the medication prescribed by the doctor: In some cases, additional medication may be prescribed alongside LLLT. The cost of these medications should be considered when assessing the overall expenses.
Low-level laser therapy for hair typically involves using devices with wavelengths ranging from 650 to 1200 nm and energy levels of 1 to 10 J/cm2, with a power density of 3 to 90 mW/cm2. The therapy is administered for approximately 15 to 20 minutes per session, three times a week, for 6 months.
The number of sessions for low-level laser therapy (LLLT) varies, but typically most patients receive 3-5 brief treatments. LLLT offers a safe and effective option for hair growth, serving as an alternative to surgical procedures and prescription medications.
To ensure proper post-laser hair care, it is advised to wait approximately 6-8 hours after a low laser hair therapy session before taking a shower.
It is recommended to opt for a cold or gentle shower during this time to allow the skin to cool down and minimize any potential redness or swelling that may occur. Taking these precautions allows for optimal recovery and maintenance after the low laser hair therapy.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is not a permanent solution for pattern hair loss and requires ongoing treatment. Like other medical therapies, regular sessions of LLLT are necessary to sustain hair regrowth results.
It should be noted that hair transplantation is the only permanent treatment option for pattern hair loss. Therefore, individuals seeking long-term effects should be aware that LLLT requires continued maintenance to maintain the desired outcomes.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is highly successful in addressing thin and weak hair follicles. It has demonstrated its ability to promote thicker, stronger, and healthier hair growth, resulting in improved hair appearance and increased volume.
However, it is important to note that LLLT is not effective in cases of long-standing baldness. It cannot stimulate hair growth in completely bald areas of the scalp where there are no active hair follicles. LLLT specifically targets active hair follicles and does not have any impact on follicles that are already dormant or non-functional.
Visible improvements in hair loss reduction can typically be observed after undergoing five to six treatment sessions of low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Additionally, several individuals have reported experiencing hair regrowth after receiving 10 to 12 LLLT treatments.
The minimum age requirement for undergoing low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for hair growth in India is 18 years. Both men and women who are 18 years old or above are eligible to receive LLLT treatment.
No, LLLT is generally not painful. Most individuals do not experience any discomfort during the treatment. However, for those who have reported sensation, it is typically described as a mild tingling, and it is not considered to be painful.