We’re not all blessed like this guy !
We normally shed around 75-100 hairs a day. That’s fine and normal because new hair is growing back at the same time. When it stops growing back, and the shed/grow cycle is disrupted, that’s when problems start.
The bald or going bald club is a club that nobody wants to join. But it has over fifty million members in the United States alone.
You might be a senior club member, who has tried everything to leave it, or someone who thinks they are just starting to be welcomed into the club.
In either case light therapy treatment for hair regrowth is an interesting option to explore.
You may have already trodden the Rogaine path, and found the results to be a little disappointing. Or been prescribed Propecia pills; and thought “Yikes” the “cure” is worse than the symptoms.
Who really wants to take an opened ended course of drugs to combat hair loss? Nobody I know.
You could have used or researched many of the other types of wet products to treat alopecia. Shampoo’s that claim to remove excess sebum from the scalp, and unblock hair follicles are pretty commonly used these days.
We are looking here at another solution to male pattern baldness
Forty years ago, shortly after the first commercial laser was invented our Red Light story begins.
We find a professor in Hungary named Endre Mester researching the effects of red and ruby light on tumour reduction. During the course of his experiments he noticed the shaved backs of mice treated with red light healed lesions quicker, and grew back hair faster than a control group that hadn’t been treated.
It wasn’t what he was looking for, or what he was expecting.
Doesn’t sound much, but when he published a research paper in 1967 on his findings, the scientific world sat up and took notice.
So what’s a bunch of mice growing hair forty years ago got to do with anything.
Well NASA got involved, and the then Soviet Union got involved in researching. The cosmetic industry sat up and took notice. Light therapy had been born and the whole world started researching.
Forty years on and we’ve come a long way from hair growing back on the unfortunate lab mice in Hungary. But all the treatments we use today all find their roots in professor Endre Mesers laboratory.
From American Special Forces to acne treatment clinics, from hospitals and sport physiotherapists to beauty salons, They all use some form of light therapy treatment.
Hair growth on mice was the first red light therapy discovery forty years ago.
Let’s see how far we have come, and what is available today to treat our receding hairlines and alopecia today.
This is an in depth article, so you might want to skip some sections. We have provided a convenient table of contents to enable easy navigation through to the sections that you find most interesting.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Red Light Therapy?
- 2 How Exactly Does Red Light Therapy Work?
- 3 Where Does Red Light Work?
- 4 What Does Red Light Produce and Reduce?
- 5 Red Light Treatment Devices
- 6 Red Light Hair Loss Treatment Guide
- 7 The Best Type of Device to Choose
- 8 The Top Two Devices
- 9 Four Other Treatment Options
- 10 Hair Growth and Hair Loss
- 11 The Importance of Oxygen Deficiency
- 12 Does Red Light Work On All Types of Hair Loss
- 13 What’s the difference between Lasers and LEDs
- 14 Scientific Studies
- 15 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy provides a non-invasive, drug free technique to treat various medical and cosmetic conditions including hair loss. By using a specific set of scientifically researched light wavelengths, it produces a natural response using the body’s own resources. It is non-invasive and chemical free, and importantly it’s effects should not diminish over time.
Red light activates the body’s natural defence, and reactivates complex nutrient systems. It can start a rejuvenating or healing process.
Shining a red light on the scalp for therapeutic reasons may sound a little implausible to some. But this is a well researched treatment that has been used for over forty years now.
For the doubters that think pointing a red light on the scalp to re-grow hair is equivalent to applying snake oil, please just take the time to read on. We are going to look at the science behind it, how it works, and the best devices to buy.
How Exactly Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Depending on the colour of visible light it can penetrate the skin to different depths.
You may have played with a simple torch when you were a child. Placing it with a red bulb installed on your palm, you could see it shining through on the other side, and sometimes you could even see your bones, Yikes!!! But do the same with a blue light and nothing, no light penetrates. Pretty boring actually!! That’s because the two different colours have distinct properties. The colours can penetrate the skin to different depths.
This really is one of the fundamentals of light therapy. So light can penetrate our body to different depths, and then what!
We all know the effects of sunlight on our skin. That’s UV light, and it can cause significant changes. We can’t see the light, but we can see the changes it makes. A sun tan, which is nice. Freckles, which can be cute. But sun burn, we’ve all had that, and it’s not nice and not cute. All this and just from light.
Red light can cause significant changes too, but it is safe, no burning at this wavelength. It penetrates the skin deeper than the sun’s UV light, and it produces rejuvenating changes to the deeper cells and skin tissues. Fortunately they are all positive changes.
Red light can effectively penetrate the skin to a depth of between 6 -10mm. When it is allowed to shine on the skin for a period of time is when the magic happens.
Where Does Red Light Work?
There is a lot going on just a few milli-meters below our scalp. It’s a very busy place, or it should be. That’s where the red light is going to go to work.
The dermis is the home to lots of different cells and structures. It houses blood vessels, our precious hair follicles, and sebaceous glands for skin lubrication. The cells producing collagen and elastin are found there too. These are the all important ones for anti-ageing treatments.
Plants use photosynthesis to convert light energy into chemical energy. Our body’s react in a similar way when red light is applied. The light energy is converted to cellular energy.
This cellular energy can make significant rejuvenating changes to dormant or ageing cells. This increase in cellular energy also has positive effects on multiple metabolic, and nervous system processes. Blood circulation is also increased, not by heat, but by triggering the release of nitric oxide. A short-lived, but naturally produced gas, it widens and relaxes our blood vessels allowing more circulation.
What Does Red Light Produce and Reduce?
Nutrients. A number of nutrients are required for healthy hair follicles. Laser therapy increases the production of keratin and ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). Keratin most of us have heard of, but ATP probably not. It is is the molecule that carries energy to the place where the energy is needed. Correct cellular function needs energy in order to be effective in synthesising proteins, membranes and for cellular division.
Oxygen. Oxygen starvation is an important element. It leads to hair loss and limited growth, it also retards cellular repair. Red light therapy stimulates the scalp tissues by increasing the number of red corpuscles, and oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the hair bulb. It also creates a reaction at cellular level. It increases cell division, protein synthesis, micro-circulation and tissue regeneration.
DHT. Dihydrotestosterone, Don’t worry we’ll stick to DHT! It is produced locally at the site of hair follicles. it is thought to be one of the primary causes in male androgenic alopecia. The red light laser/LED reduces DHT from the scalp, and allows efficient nutrient delivery. In cases of female hair loss, the situation is more complex, but DHT is still understood to be one of several possible causes.
Red Light Treatment Devices
|HAND HELD COMBS
|Money Back Guarantee|
|Cost at Time of Writing|
|Money Back Guarantee|
|Cost at Time of Writing|
Red Light Hair Loss Treatment Guide
It’s obvious for treatment to have any chance of success, the red lightwaves must reach the scalp, So that means that you must be clear what areas of your scalp you want to target with a device. Again this is obvious, but crucial in picking a device.
Home use devices fall into the two categories as indicated in the tables above, hand held or the full cap helmet style. It depends on your baldness profile which one you choose.
Many women suffer thinning hair. An ever widening hair parting is typical female loss pattern. A head cap device wouldn’t be suitable here, A more dynamic device like a comb can target this type of baldness better.
Male pattern baldness follows a different pattern, but the same advice is true. Match it to your baldness pattern.
The Best Type of Device to Choose
Of the hand held devices listed below the Hairmax products are good options for a successful treatment outcome. They have a special hair parting comb design that allows the light to make good contact with the scalp.
Hand held devices are easy to manipulate, and can prioritise the treatment to the exact area of the scalp you need. The Hairmax systems have been the preferred devices in many successful clinical tests too.
When a laser cap is worn, there is not too much the user can do to concentrate on a specific treatment area. From class three, through to class seven on the chart the cap devices do start to make better sense.
The best of the cap devices is the iRestore. It offers sound scientifically proven light wave lengths, with a good density of lasers and LEDs, as well as many satisfied users.
The Top Two Devices
The medical grade lasers and LEDs are bedded into the matrix of the cap to give a complete scalp coverage, and a red light light wavelength of 650 nm, to give a great chance of a positive treatment outcome. Aspira Science call the iRestore a laser device, which is true to a point. In fact it houses 21 lasers and 30 LEDs. Both types of diode have been used positive clinical tests.
The iRestore comes with a pretty impressive satisfaction guarantee. If it doesn’t produce the expected results, then the helmet can be returned within six months for a full refund.
Of the helmet devices we have researched the iRestore is top of the class from a price and LED/laser ratio point of view. The guarantee they give is pretty enticing, seems that they really stand by their product.
The HairMax Ultima 12 has the patented Hairmax hair parting system. This allows the laser light to effectively reach the scalp. As we have pointed out above this is imperative for a good treatment outcome. Built into the head of the comb, the twelve red light lasers give a short the treatment time. The manufacturer recommends just 8 minutes, three times a week. The hair parting teeth can be detached for cleaning when required.
A simple to operate device with an LED screen built into the comb body. This shows the elapsed treatment time. It defaults to beep every four seconds during treatment as an alert to move to the next treatment area. This can be slightly annoying, but fortunately it can be deactivated. For international travellers a 100 – 240v charger is provided in the box.
The Hairmax laser comb system has been the preferred device in a number of scientific studies to treat hair loss. We have included just one listed in our science section below.
This is our top rated hand held device.It comes with a 5 month money back guarantee (minus a 20% restocking fee).
Four Other Treatment Options
|BEST OF THE REST
|Four Well Specified Helmet and Comb Devices|
We don’t want to change the world
Just a little more hair would be nice !!
Lets see how it works
Hair Growth and Hair Loss
Normal hair growth and shedding can be split into three phases:
Anagen: Is the growth phase. In this phase hair can remain in place for 2-6 years. In a normal head of hair 85% of the hairs should be in this phase
Catagen: A short phase lasting only 1 -2 weeks. During this phase the follicle renews itself.
Telogen: Is what is known as the resting phase. The follicle just lies dormant. Normally 10-15% of hairs are in this phase.This phase can last from 2-4 months.
Once this cycle is finished the anagen phase should begin again. Existing hair is shed and new growth begins.
“American men spend around $1 billion a year trying to hang on to their hair. In fact two out of three males, and one in five females will start showing signs of hair loss and balding by the time they reach their fifties.”
The Importance of Oxygen Deficiency
Oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) plays an important part in hair loss and the balding process. If the microcirculation (microvasculature) around the follicle in balding areas is deficient in oxygen then hair will grow only sparsely or not at all.
Red light stimulation increases the amount of oxygen around the scalp follicles, and encourages the production of cellular energy. When oxygen is stimulated and mitochondria reactivated by ATP production regrowth is encouraged
When starved of oxygen the cell mitochondria will shut down as a survival mechanism.
Does Red Light Work On All Types of Hair Loss
No known treatment or therapy does.
But medical experts agree that red light therapy should be considered as a treatment of androgenetic alopecia inherited male and female pattern hair loss. Doctors who use Red Light Therapy in treating androgenetic alopecia have usually found that red light therapy is most effective in persons with minimal to moderate hair loss, but is less effective with major hair loss.
Before considering red light therapy therapy it is important to identify the exact cause of your hair loss. Visiting your health professional or trichologist will enable you to to decide whether red light treatment is appropriate.
What’s the difference between Lasers and LEDs
Low-Level Light Therapy for Androgenetic Alopecia
Low-level Laser Therapy as a Treatment for Androgenetic Alopecia
The Growth of Human Scalp Hair in Females Using Red Light Laser
Growth of Human Hair Mediated by Red Light Laser and LED in Males
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between LLLT and Red Light Therapy?
There is no real difference. Low Level Light Therapy is a broad term used to describe treatments using red or near infrared devices. The laser’s energy used to stimulate hair growth is visible in the red light part of the spectrum.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
As with all medical treatments for hair restoration using Red Light Therapy is not a quick or one time fix. It must be repeated and maintained to be effective. Most scientific studies were taken over a three to four month trial period. All devices come with their recommended protocols.
Is Red Light Therapy Safe?
Yes- Red Light Therapy is a NON-INVASIVE treatment. It has not been associated with any negative side effects.
Specific FDA approval was given In 2007 to hand held laser devices for treatment of male pattern hair loss. This was followed in 2009 by approval of another device for treatment of both male and female alopecia.
Device specific instructions and protocols should be adhered to. Where indicated protective glasses should be worn.
Can I Treat Myself?
Yes. We have detailed a number of hand held and full head cap red light therapy devices above. When choosing a device the buyer should compare the features that they think they require. Be careful not to pay for a lot of extra “bells and whistles”. If you are not sure that you are going to use them, don’t buy them.