Laser Light Therapy (LLLT)
What Is Low-Level Laser Light Therapy (LLLT)?
Low-level laser light therapy, or LLLT, is a form of photobiomodulation. Photobiomodulation utilizes light to induce photochemical reactions in our body. When light at certain wavelengths are absorbed by the cells in our body, a photochemical reaction occurs which converts that light energy into electrical signals. This is the basis for how LLLT works in helping hair growth.
A low dose red laser light (~650nm wavelength) is emitted onto the scalp, allowing hair follicles and skin cells to receive that light energy. This induces a complex chain of physiological reactions in damaged tissues to increase circulation, accelerate wound healing and tissue regeneration, and reduce acute inflammation. For this reason, LLLT is often used in adjunct with other hair loss treatments to allow for reduced inflammation (which is often involved in hair loss), and to stimulate hair follicle activity.
There are many LLLT devices available on the market which have acquired US FDA clearance and are used to treat hair loss. There are also various ways to apply LLLT. For at-home device use, it is often in the form of a cap, helmet, or comb. In-clinic LLLT usually has a higher power and can be used to treat clients experiencing severe hair loss, or for post-hair transplantation patients to stimulate hair follicle activation.
Who Is Suitable for Low-Level Laser Light Therapy (LLLT)?
There have been many reviews and studies done on the safety and efficacy of low-level laser light therapy in men and women experiencing hair loss. When the wavelengths of light penetrate the scalp, it stimulates the stem cells that help to ‘communicate’ to the hair follicles for increasing hair growth. The low-level laser also increases blood flow and production of ATP, an energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things, and metabolic processes in the cell to deliver more nutrients and oxygen which stimulate faster hair growth. We call this ‘activating’ the hair follicles.
Those who would benefit the most from LLLT are:
- Those at an early stage of hair loss with mild to moderate symptoms
- Those looking to have thicker hair shafts and fuller looking hair in general
- Those undergoing other hair restoration treatments (e.g. Scalpboosters, hair transplant)
- Those who may need help reducing scalp inflammation, such as those experiencing contact dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis
LLLT only works on active hair follicles. LLLT does not work in cases where baldness has existed for many years, such as those with advanced stage baldness or pattern hair loss. It is unable to cause hair growth in areas where there are no hair follicles at all, such as when there has been permanent follicle damage.
Are There Any Side-Effects for LLLT?
Due to the variety of laser devices available in the market, various treatment regimens exist for different LLLT devices. It can range from daily to weekly use, with different light wavelength intensities and duration of use each time. Reading the manufacturer’s recommendations would ensure safe usage of the device, and also a consultation with your hair loss specialist to ensure that the device used is safe to prevent any side effects or risks of burns and skin damage.
Additionally, laser therapy should not be used together with medications or products that are photosensitising (meaning that those medications or products increase your skin sensitivity to light or UV rays).
Even though genetic hair loss cannot completely be stopped or cured, current treatments can help extend the hair’s life and scalp health, and also improve appearances. A vital factor is to keep your body strong with a nutritious diet, avoid chronic stress, and have enough sleep. This allows for the treatments to work in a body system that is optimal! For queries about whether low-level laser light therapy can be a helpful adjunct for your hair loss treatments, do contact us at Terra Medical, where we look forward to helping you the best we can.