Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
What is Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)?
Low level laser therapy (LLLT), also referred to as red light therapy, and cold laser therapy, irradiates photons into scalp tissues. These photons invigorate circulation and stimulation into hair follicles, thus encouraging hair follicles to grow hair.
How does LLLT work?
Hair follicles contain cytochrome C molecules that absorb red light. The absorbed red light ‘activates’ molecules, sending signals to the other cells in the hair follicle. What this does for the hair follicle is it results in reduced inflammation and programmed cell death, which produces stronger and more pigmented hair.
Low level laser therapy is believed to increase blood flow in the scalp and stimulate metabolic processes in hair follicles necessary for hair growth.
Success for low level laser therapy for hair loss treatments depend on the devices used. There are several devices available, like the Excimer (308 nm), helium-neon (632.8nm) and fractional erbium-glass (1550 nm).
What are some of the problems LLLT can treat?
LLLT is used to treat male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss. Male and female patients lose hair differently. Male pattern hair loss is usually presented with a distinctive alopecia pattern involving hairline recession and may lead to complete baldness, while female pattern hair loss is characterised with an overall thinning of hair.
Am I a good candidate for LLLT?
LLLT best works on patients with hereditary hair loss, such as male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor to identify the cause of your hair loss and whether LLLT would be an appropriate treatment method. You should also communicate your health history with your doctor beforehand.
What is the process of getting LLLT like?
LLLT is delivered to the scalp through the use of a specialised comb, cap or dome. All three methods are effective and non-invasive.
Laser domes can only be used by a professional, so the only way of receiving LLLT through a laser dome is at the doctor.
Laser combs can be used at home; however the application and use of the comb might be difficult and time consuming.
Laser caps are portable and hands free.
For LLLT to be effective, 2-3 treatments weekly are recommended. Each treatment consists of exposing the scalp to light-emitting diodes under a bonnet or head cap for 8 to 15 minutes. Scalp treatment and massages that promote blood circulation may be included at the end of the treatment.
Are there any side effects of LLLT? What is the downtime like?
No adverse side effects of the LLLT have been reported by patients and it is generally clean and painless with minimal time commitment. Hair growth usually occurs on the crown and along the hairline of the forehead. There are also no scalpels, cutting and burning from the lasers.
Lasers have been used as a hair removal method for years, but its long term impact on hair follicles have only been made known in recent years.
Warning: Laser therapy should not be used concomitantly with medication that are photosensitising, so it is advised patients speak to a doctor beforehand.
What results can I expect from a LLLT treatment?
As LLLT is not a one-off treatment, repeated treatments are required to achieve results on hair restoration and hair growth. Patients have reported improvements after 12 to 26 weeks of use, with reduced hair fall and noticeable hair growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
let us clear your doubts!
LLLT can be effective by itself, but it can also be used with other hair loss treatments and medications like Rogaine and Propecia or as a complement to hair transplant surgery. After a hair transplant surgery, LLLT helps bring blood, oxygen and nutrients back to balding areas.
More LLLT hair treatments do not necessarily mean better results. LLLT should only be used as prescribed by your doctor and there should be a period of rest between each session. Generally, two to three times a week over a year is a good duration.
LLLT is suitable for men and women 18 years and above.
After hair transplant surgery, it is important that your scalp does not come into direct contact with any foreign objects. Many LLLT devices come with teeth or spikes that are studded with laser. Choose a device that will not involve direct contact with the scalp.
LLLT is not recommended for those with severe hair loss. It’s best to always seek treatment for hair loss as soon as possible to widen treatment options.