Laser Hair Therapy

LASER-laserRaysAs a hair loss treatment, low-level Laser Hair Therapy has been proven to be effective in treating thinning hair and hair loss in its early stages in both men and women.

The key to avoiding hair loss is not to ignore it, says Shelly Beatty, owner and hair loss consultant of StyleMakers Salon in Fort Worth, TX, who says there is much that can be done if hair follicles are still alive. “Once follicles are dead there is nothing you can do to bring them back to life, so if you notice changes in hair growth, thinning or fall-out, don’t wait to see a doctor and a hair loss specialist!” Using low-level laser hair therapy can give lagging hair follicles a boost and it can work in conjunction with other treatments like DHT blockers such as Propecia and topical shampoos as well as topical minoxidil you may be considering or already using, for even more positive results. Typically you’ll want to check with your primary care physician and a dermatologist to determine why you’re losing your hair first, because this therapy works only for certain hair loss conditions.

Is laser hair therapy for me?

  • Have you just recently noticed hair fall-out or changes in hair health?
  • Are you experiencing age-related hair loss due to excess DHT?
  • Are you using hair care products to remove DHT?
  • Are you currently taking Propecia (finasteride) or using Rogaine (minoxidil)?
  • Are you on any medications that could be causing temporary hair loss?
  • Can you afford the time and money for weekly treatments?

How does laser hair therapy work?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, low-level laser hair therapy is a viable way to target hair loss early. It can be administered through a hand-held unit or a full headed laser you might find at a hair loss clinic or studio. This hair loss treatment has been approved by the FDA to promote hair growth in males only with male pattern baldness who have Norwood Hamilton Classifications of I to V. The unit features diodes and LED lights that distribute low-level laser light to the scalp.

Because hair is meant to fall out and re-grow from the roots, when follicles begin to shrink and degenerate, the hair does not grow back and subsequently, hair loss occurs. Studies showed that the laser light therapy, when used on a regular basis can strengthen and regenerate shrinking follicles to grow again. The laser light increases blood flow to the scalp and jump-starts hair follicles. This slows down hair loss and in many cases is said to reverse the degenerative cycle and stimulate a live follicle to produce more, thicker, stronger, healthier hair.

“There’s nothing you can do once hair follicles die, but a lot you can do to protect and wake up sleeping follicles … don’t wait!” — Shelly Beatty, owner and hair loss consultant of StyleMakers Salon in Fort Worth, TX

What can I expect from laser hair therapy?

Experts agree it is key to find a hair loss professional to advise you in this treatment and/or administer it in the salon. Depending upon your reasons and amount of hair loss, you will most likely visit your salon 1-3 times a week for a treatment. But it does not work instantaneously, cautions Beatty. “Don’t expect a full head of hair in 8 weeks — the follicle needs time to produce new hair, exit the scalp, and grow to a measurable length before you will notice results. Usually you can see results in about three months with significant results in about 6 months,” explains Beatty. “That’s why we take close-up photographs of the hair loss area before the treatment and again every three months so you can see the improvement.”

If your hair loss is severe experts agree that using low-level laser hair therapy will work best in conjunction with other treatments, like Propecia for men. Suggests Beatty, “if your hair loss is age-related and you are producing DHT that is attacking follicles, I recommend using haircare products that remove and inhibit DHT from affecting follicles, so they can better benefit from the laser treatments.”

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Photos courtesy of Hair Loss Control Clinic

Complications of laser hair therapy

If your hair loss was temporary, a medical side effect or some other hormonal reason that was resolved, low-level laser hair therapy will re-grow hair faster and healthier. But, cautions Beatty, if your hair loss is progressive and you discontinue laser therapy your hair loss will revert to what it would have been if you had not done any treatments at all.

Also, when utilizing laser therapy devices, “More is NOT better!” cautions Beatty. Also low-level laser hair therapy will NOT work if you are losing hair due to chemotherapy or experiencing alopecia areata or have had extensive hair loss for more than five years.

The bottom line on laser hair therapy

The best results are obtained when you work with a hair loss specialist to devise a plan specific to your type of loss that includes evaluating results so expectations are realistic.

“For the best results, look for a program that offers in-salon sessions with a powerful “standing” laser machine — partnered with a high quality hand-held laser with adequate strength for at home use”, says Beatty. “We carry a handheld laser that has 9 diodes and cost approximately $500 to $600. “The standing one I use in my salon is much more powerful with 92 diodes.”