At least 50% of all adult men will suffer with some form of male
pattern hair loss. This increases to 73% of all men and 57% of all
women over the age of 80.
Low Level Laser Therapy, otherwise known as LLLT, is one of three
recognised FDA approved treatment regimens for androgenetic
alopecia in males and females. The FDA is known as the United
States Food and Drug Administration and is a federal agency
responsible for the protecting the public health. The FDA approved
the LLLT laser comb for use in males for androgenetic alopecia in
2007 and subsequently approved its use in women in 2011.
As with other FDA approved hair loss treatments - minoxidil and
finasteride - the positive effects of LLLT for hair loss were
stumbled upon by chance. In the late 1960s a Hungarian physician by
the name of Endre Mester, conducted a series of experiments to
evaluate the potential cancer causing effects of red ruby laser on
mice. As a result he shaved mice and shone this laser (694nm) on
them. To his surprise he found that rather than have any negative
carcinogenic effects the red laser actually resulted in accelerated
regrowth of the mice’s fur. Animal studies using a ‘Laser Hair
Comb’ employing red LED and laser of 650nm frequency, demonstrated
increased hair growth. Dr Shukla and his team, in 2010, developed
an animal model using Swiss albino mice and demonstrated positive
effects of low energy LLLT (1J/cm2). However, he also demonstrated
negative inhibitory effects of LLLT on hair growth if a high energy
alternative (5J/cm2) was used. Hency too high an energy beam and/or
if exposed to LLLT for too long or too often, can cause increased
hair loss as opposed to increased hair growth. Animal models of
chemotherapy induced hair loss have also provided encouraging signs
of LLLT, helping this form of alopecia as well.
LLLT is a photo-biostimulator and can result in improved hair
growth in various forms of hair loss, specifically androgenetic
alopecia - male and female pattern hair loss. In the context of
androgenetic alopecia, low level laser therapy aids in the
transformation of vellus and miniaturised hairs into longer
terminal hairs. LLLT improves hair growth in the following ways:
- LLLT stimulates hair follicles to re-enter the anagen (growth)
phase from telogen (resting) phase within the hair cycle.
- LLLT prolongs the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle.
- LLLT increases the rate of proliferation and growth during the
anagen phase of the hair cycle.
- LLLT also results in increased blood flow to exposed areas of the
scalp through vasodilatation (swelling of arteries) which also
helps to stave off the ischaemic effects of dihydrotestosterone
(main hormone responsible for male pattern hair loss).
With the success of LLLT in numerous animal models, numerous
researchers have carried out a number of clinical trials and
managed to demonstrate the effectiveness of LLLT for androgenetic
alopecia. As early as 2003, Satino et al. published the findings of
his LLLT research in the International Journal of Surgical and
Aesthetic Dermatology. He treated 28 males and 7 females with
androgenetic alopecia, with a laser comb on alternate days for 5-10
minutes a day for a period of 6 months. They identified significant
increases in hair density at 6 months over the vertex and temples.
Kim et al. published the findings of their research in the Journal
of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2007. They treated 24
males suffering with androgenetic alopecia and exposed their scalps
to 655nm red light once a day for 14 minutes and identified, on
average, a significantly increased hair density at 14 weeks.
Laser Hair Therapy is a non chemical, non invasive treatment that
is being used commonly for the treatment of hair loss. LLLT (low
level laser therapy) is delivered by a device that contains panels
of lasers that shine on the scalp.
European studies have shown that LLLT stops hair loss in 85% of
cases and stimulates new hair growth in 55% of cases. The
therapeutic light energy is absorbed by the cells and the process
of cell repair begins, it stimulates the production of energy at
the cellular level, therefore, improving cell function. Low Level
Lasers are referred to as "cold" lasers because they do not release
energy in the form of heat.
The light wavelength emitted from a low level laser actually will
repair tissues that have impaired cellular metabolism by
stimulating blood circulation, encouraging regeneration of normal