Welcome to part three of a three-part series on lasers. In part one, we learned about the history of lasers and how they have evolved over the years. In part two, we discussed Alexandrite (thermal) lasers and their use in the medical field, and their ability to remove unwanted hair. In this article, we will talk about Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT).
LLLT, also referred to as Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBM Therapy), is used to heal soft tissue, improve wound healing, give relief for acute and chronic pain, reduce inflammation and stimulate hair growth in the hair follicle. It was developed in the late 1960s when it was discovered that the application of red and near-infrared laser therapy proved effective medically. LLLT increases the speed and quality of healing in the areas mentioned above.
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One of the main differences between LLLT and thermal lasers is no heating effect. LLLT lasers are not as intense as the surgical lasers like the Alexandrite laser. Similar to photosynthesis in plants, the effects of LLLT are photochemical. Cell metabolism and reduced inflammation occur when the proper intensity of red and near-infrared light and specific treatment times are applied. A few of the popular treatments with LLLT are for neuropathic pain, non-healing leg and pressure ulcers, joint conditions, and soft tissue injuries.
Monotherapy in a 54-year-old male (a) Before treatment, and improvement after (b) 6 months, and (c) 12 months of low-level laser therapy
In recent years, LLLT also referred to as cold laser therapy or red light therapy, has been used to stimulate hair growth in the hair follicle. When applied to the hair follicle, it irradiates photons into scalp tissues. The photons encourage hair growth when they are absorbed by weak cells. This method of hair restoration treatment is safe, less invasive than surgery for hair transplantation, and tolerable for the client. The theory behind this treatment has to do with low-dose laser treatments that stimulate circulation which helps promote hair growth in the hair follicles.
Although more research is being done, studies have shown very encouraging results. As with any clinical treatments, there is not a 100% success across the board. Some people have better results than others. The good news is that this treatment is safe and can be effective in men and women. In a study (National Library of Medicine, 2013), a 39% increase in hair growth over a 16 week period was found with 41 males ages 18 to 48. In recent years, the LLLT devices have been approved for sale to the public by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) without the need for a prescription.
There are many positive reasons to consider laser treatment for hair loss. Among them are the following: noninvasive, painless, no known side effects, increases hair strength, etc. As with any treatment, there are a few negative things to consider, such as time-consuming, expensive, not a 100% guarantee it will work, interaction with some photosensitizing medications, etc.
Ultimately, receiving LLLT therapy to stimulate hair growth becomes a choice of weighing the benefits between other hair restoration methods. It remains a promising treatment for those who can afford it and haven’t had success with previous treatment options. If you have questions about LLLT therapy, please do not hesitate to reach out to The Hair Society at email@example.com. Our hair restoration experts will walk you through the options that are available to utilize this treatment method.