Handheld Lasers Versus In-Studio Laser Hair Therapy




Since there’s no denying that laser hair therapy is an FDA-approved way to halt hair loss in both men and women, it makes sense to add this treatment to your hair loss treatment plan.

Experts agree that laser hair therapy can stimulate resting hairs to grow, which can improve hair count by 10 percent, that it improves existing hair health and growth and that it works well as a complement to any other hair loss treatment in use today. Clients who have undergone a hair transplant use laser hair therapy to improve and strengthen new growth. Men who use Propecia internally use laser hair therapy to stimulate follicles from the outside.

Women who use Rogaine use laser hair therapy to improve Rogaine’s efficacy. Clients who have suffered from traction alopecia use laser hair therapy to stimulate traumatized follicles into hair growth, in addition to topical cortisone and antibiotic treatments. The list goes on and on …

So, how does laser hair therapy work?

“Light therapy has been around for years,” explains Ronnie Talent of Legacy Hair Center, located in Charlotte, N.C. “It has been used in dermatology successfully in the treatment of eczema, seborrhea and psoriasis. Once low-level laser light was focused on hair follicles, we saw them open up in response.” Laser hair therapy’s successes are tempered by the fact with that it works only on live follicles and is a long-term, ongoing treatment. If you’ve been progressively losing your hair for five years or more, chances are some follicles may be dead and will not respond to laser hair therapy. “The treatment works best as soon as you notice a hair thinning or loss problem, because every time a hair falls out, the follicle gets a little smaller especially if a new hair does not take its place. Laser hair therapy seems to reverse this process by widening follicles and stimulating them to repair themselves and grow again,” explains Talent.

At-home or in-studio laser hair therapy ?

“The fact is,” says Talent, “that laser hair therapy is a long-term treatment that is ongoing and must be performed at scheduled intervals in order to be effective.” Currently there are two ways to achieve laser hair therapy. One way is to schedule 20- to 30-minute appointments at a laser hair therapy studio or hair loss treatment center for treatments under an in-studio laser hair therapy “hood” unit. This treatment can contain anywhere from 150 to 250 laser diodes, which gives your scalp more exposure to the healing effects of the laser because of the stronger concentration of laser light. But frequency is a huge factor, with two to three times per week considered optimal according to current observation and research. In-studio laser hair therapy treatments are the perfect choice if you don’t mind going to the studio up to three times per week for scheduled appointments.

For those who would rather administer laser hair therapy themselves, there is an at-home laser hair therapy unit called a laser brush or laser comb. It is a handheld unit meant for at-home use.

You will be responsible for holding the unit and moving it systematically all over your scalp for the recommended 20-30 minutes two to three times a week, so you will need to be self-motivated. Keeping this schedule might be difficult for some, and the handheld units are simply not as strong as the in-studio hood units. But for those who want privacy or can’t adhere to appointments away from home, the handheld unit is the best option.



What to look for in a laser comb or laser brush

The simple fact is the more laser light diodes a laser has, the stronger the unit, so look for the unit with the most diodes you can afford. If budget permits, there are standing laser units you can buy for at-home use so you can sit in a chair. For the handheld units teeth are useful in keeping the laser light the proper distance away from the scalp, which is one-half inch, says Talent. Watch out for mirrors that are said to reflect the light — it’s the diodes that produce the powerful laser light, so don’t be fooled.

With laser hair therapy, is more use better?

Since no longitudinal studies have been done on laser hair therapy, we still aren’t sure about frequency of exposure. Experts agree, however, that the body responds best to intermittent, not constant, use of laser light, and Talent agrees. “We have found that constant stimulation every day is not as effective as every-other-day exposure. The most important thing is to understand your expectations. I suggest clients try it for six months and test the results, because I’ve found that most people, given the choice, would rather try to grow their own hair back non-surgically and without drugs first. And we want to give them the best chance they’ve got!”