Can Laser Light Treat Pattern Hair Loss?

While most of our patients at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research come to us seeking full hair restoration surgery to restore lost thickness and fullness to thinning areas of the scalp, we also realize that a surgical option is not necessarily the best option for everyone.  Many patients, particularly those just beginning to lose their hair, can often benefit more from prescription hair loss medications such as Finasteride (Propecia®) or over the counter treatments like Minoxidil (Rogaine®), which can be particularly effective in slowing hair loss or, in some cases, even re-growing some hair.  However, some cases of alopecia may present special challenges that require even more innovative solutions.  For example, some women may not be optimal candidates for hair restoration surgery, as the more diffuse pattern of women’s hair loss may leave them with insufficient density to provide adequate donor follicles.  In these cases, scientifically advanced hair restoration treatments like Red Light Therapy may be part of the solution.

Can Laser Light Treat Pattern Hair Loss?Nearly fifty years ago, while conducting experiments on rats to determine the potential carcinogenic effects of laser exposure, doctors found that hair regrew significantly faster on the shaved rats that had been exposed to laser light than on those that had not been exposed.  Eventually, it was determined that a highly specific wavelength of red light (approximately 655 nanometers) could help those recovering from traumatic injury by reducing inflammation and accelerating tissue regeneration.  This same wavelength of light, applied directly to the scalp, was found to increase the energy production around the unhealthy follicle cells, stimulating them from dormancy into an active growth phase while increasing the production of fuller, thicker, and healthier hair.  Finally, a 2014 study published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine concluded that this non-invasive low level laser therapy (LLLT) improved hair counts by an average of 37% higher than the control group in women with genetic pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, a rate similar to that observed in males using the same parameters.

Red Light Therapy does require an extensive course of treatment in order to be most effective.  The initial course of exposure usually takes 4-6 months to show results, and additional “maintenance” sessions 1-2 times a week are strongly recommended for maximum results.  In most cases, Red Light Therapy is used indefinitely as an adjunct to topical and oral medications.  At the Griffin Center, low level laser therapy can be administered with a hood type device (similar to the commercial hair dryers you might find at a hair salon), with the portable, in-home iGrow® hair growth system, or with the LaserCap®, a discreet, portable device that can be worn underneath an ordinary baseball cap.

If you have questions about Red Light Therapy or any of the other hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.