If you are suffering from hair loss, you are not alone. According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS), there are more than fifty million men and women experiencing hair loss in the United States today. Fortunately, however, new hair restoration treatments are being developed almost every day. For example, even though hair transplantation surgery can restore real, growing hair to thinning areas and achieve very natural looking hair restoration results, there are also a number of advanced, non-surgical treatment options that can help slow or even reverse the progression of hair loss, sometimes making surgical intervention unnecessary. One of these exciting treatment options that we use frequently at the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research is red light laser therapy.
There are many different conditions that can result in hair loss, but the most common is androgenetic alopecia, also known as genetic pattern baldness. In men and women who are susceptible, exposure to a naturally-occurring hormone called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT) causes the hair follicles to shrink. Over time, they produce gradually finer and finer hairs until they eventually stop producing new hairs entirely. A specific wavelength of focused, red light, when used in a customized way, has been shown to reduce inflammation and accelerate the regeneration process in damaged tissue. When applied to the scalp directly, this light increases the energy production around unhealthy hair follicle cells, stimulating them from dormancy into an active growth phase and increasing the production of thicker hair strands.
When used in this manner, red light laser therapy is most effective on patients who are in the earliest stages of hair loss. If hair follicles have been completely dormant for five years or more, it is unlikely that the therapy will have any noticeable regrowth, although it can still help preserve existing follicles. Patients with more advanced hair loss may still benefit from this technology, especially when it is used in combination with other customized treatments. Because it encourages the body’s natural healing processes, red light laser therapy can help reduce the recovery time after hair transplantation surgery, and has been shown to encourage the growth of follicles that have been transplanted through follicular unit grafting (FUG) or follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques. Our own board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis, frequently prescribe red light laser therapy to patients who have undergone hair transplantation surgery to maintain the hair they have and help prevent future hair loss.
Treatment with a red light laser typically takes less than thirty minutes, and may need to be performed multiple times per week, depending on the patient’s specific cause of hair loss and how far that hair loss has progressed. The initial course of exposure usually takes four to six months, and additional “maintenance” sessions 1-2 times a week thereafter are strongly recommended in order to achieve optimal results. In most cases, red light laser therapy can be supplemented with prescription topical and oral medications for hair loss, as needed. At The Griffin Center, we use a hood type device, similar to a commercial hair dryer you might find in a salon to perform red light laser therapy in our offices. Patients seeking a more convenient option, either in addition to or instead of our in office treatments can also purchase our at-home hair growth system, a discreet, portable device that can be worn in their own home.
Every case of hair loss is unique, and so red light laser therapy may not necessarily be right for everyone, but it is just one of the many treatments for hair loss that we offer at The Griffin Center. If you are concerned about your own thinning hair, or if you are interested in learning more about your hair restoration options, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news or contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration so that we can schedule an appointment for a full consultation.