Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Emerges As Best Hair Loss Treatment
Date: 20 August 2018
In the latest (JUNE 2018) Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) was ranked to provide the best results of all the non-surgical methods of hair restoration!
Studies done over years have shown that regenerative medicine methods and Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT, also known as Cold Laser) provide results that are superior to some of the older methods of non-surgical hair loss treatments.
These trials were done using clinical LLLT devices – In Singapore, these devices are exclusively available at clinics only, and are prescribed by a doctor who is well versed in hair restoration medicine.
What is a ‘laser’?
LASER is an acronym for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’. Laser devices have been used for various medical applications for many years. Patients who suffer from hair loss have also been treated with medical lasers with varying success. It is important to know the profile of patients that will benefit from laser treatments before prescribing it.
What laser is used to treat hair loss / thinning hair?
Laser devices to treat hair loss typically emit a narrow spectrum of red light (630-670nm), with low power output. This specific wavelength of red light is selected due to a study done by a Hungarian cancer researcher, who found that emitting red light on shaved mice resulted in quicker regrowth of hair. These lasers treatments are typically termed “LLLT”, which stands for “Low Level Laser Therapy” by places that offer them.
How do lasers treat hair loss / thinning hair?
Hair follicles contain cytochrome C molecules that absorb red light. After red light is absorbed, these molecules are ‘activated’ and send off signals to the other cells in the hair follicle. The effects on the follicle include reduced inflammation, delaying apoptosis (programmed cell death), enhanced signalling of certain genes that control growth of the hair shaft and other changes that increase cell metabolism and survival.
The nett effect of this is a hair follicle that produces a stronger, more pigmented and thicker hair shaft, providing more aesthetic coverage.
LLLT, also known as Cold Laser
LLLT (low level laser therapy) is also known as cold laser, because the low power output produces little heat compared to other medical lasers. There are a number of LLLT devices in the market, the popular ones being Capillus, iGrow, HairMax, just to name a few.
LLLT is not a one-off treatment, and repeated treatments will be required to achieve best results on hair restoration and growth.
When selecting an LLLT device, you should consider and compare specifications like:
- power output,
- wavelength of light
- and the manufacturer’s recommended usage.
These are what to look out for:
- The device should be able to cover all areas of hair-loss affected scalp, e.g. a cap or helmet device.
- The wavelength of light MUST be between 630-670nm to be effective.
- A typical suggested usage would be to apply the device 3-4 times a week for 15-30 minutes each time.
Some devices are readily portable while others tend to be bulkier, choosing one that suits your lifestyle (e.g. if you travel frequently) would ensure better treatment outcomes.
Am I suitable for LLLT?
LLLT is typically painless and side effect free. However, LLLT has only shown benefit in sufferers of pattern hair loss i.e. male or female pattern hair loss. Hair restoration practitioners have used it successfully to treat inflammatory conditions of the scalp that result in hair loss.
It is recommended that you discuss your decision to commence LLLT with your hair restoration physician before purchasing any such device.