If you explore the available options for treating hair loss, you will learn that only a few come without any risk of side effects. Low Level Laser Light Therapy (LLLT) is one of those few, and it’s even drug-free. But does laser hair growth work?
LLLT for hair loss is available in professional hair loss treatment clinics, and can also be applied with home-use devices. It’s effective for both men and women, and is especially popular for treating genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). Low level laser therapy is said to even regrow hair along the frontal hairline, along with the crown (top of head).
Let’s explore how Laser growth works and what results to expect. We’ll also discuss the best LLLT device for home-use laser hair growth available today.
Table of Contents - Jump To with a Click!
- 1 What is low level laser light therapy (LLLT)?
- 2 When and how was LLLT discovered to work?
- 3 How Does Low Level Laser Light Therapy for Hair Loss Work?
- 4 How Long Before LLLT Hair Loss Results Show?
- 5 Does Laser Hair Growth Work For All Kinds of Hair Loss?
- 6 Is Laser Hair Growth Permanent? Does LLLT Need to be repeated? How Often?
- 7 Are There Laser Treatment for Hair Loss Side Effects?
- 8 Can LLLT be Used with Other Treatments for Hair Loss?
- 9 Home-Use Laser Hair Growth Versus Professional Services
- 10 LLLT Hair Loss Studies – Laser Hair Growth Observed
- 11 LLLT Hair Loss Reviews
- 12 Low Level Laser Therapy for Hair Loss Before / After Pictures
- 13 How Much Does Laser Hair Therapy Cost?
- 14 What is the Best LLLT Device for Laser Hair Growth?
- 15 Conclusion
What is low level laser light therapy (LLLT)?
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a fairly modern technology that uses low-power lasers or in some cases, light emitting diodes (LEDs), to treat a wide variety of disorders. The therapy is painless and does not require a large time commitment.
LLLT has shown promising results when used to successfully treat arthritis, joint disorders, hair loss, chronic pain, and more.
In this article we focus on using LLT for hair loss. LLLT is used by increasingly more people suffering from hair loss, and is also used in conjunction with other popular treatments.
When and how was LLLT discovered to work?
Lasers were discovered in the 1960s and ever since there’s been huge interest in using them to treat medical conditions. A Hungarian physician started a series of experiments using lasers on mice at the end of the 60’s.
He shaved the mice so he could see if the lasers cause cancer, and split them into two groups. He proved that the laser did not cause cancer, and also made another discovery. The mice in the test group that received the laser treatment grew hair back faster than the mice in the group that were not treated at all. This was the first experiment that involved LLLT for hair growth.
How Does Low Level Laser Light Therapy for Hair Loss Work?
LLLT hair growth uses a laser device that works by means of an innovative low-level laser energy, with a wavelength of 650nm. The red light emitted by the device is a type of “soft light”, cold to the touch but which does not produce any sensation of pain or discomfort. This light penetrates the scalp skin for about 4 mm.
The laser light stimulates epidermal stem cells which play a big role in follicle regeneration. It improves blood circulation to hair follicles and reduces inflammation, both of which help deliver more nutrients and oxygen. This allows the follicle to thrive.
LLLT also fights the negative action of DHT by stimulating cell metabolism for hair growth. DHT is considered one of the leading causes of genetic balding, and you can read more about it in the article DHT and Hair Loss.
As an added bonus to the above, increased energy after low level laser light therapy improves cellular processes, such as removing toxins from the body. Not bad for a non-surgical procedure.
How Long Before LLLT Hair Loss Results Show?
Hair loss happens slowly, so turning it around will also take some time. Low level laser light therapy helps the follicle to heal, become stronger, and grow. Allow time for the healing, and then consider how slow hair grows anyway.
Realistically, you’re looking at least 4-6 months after the first LLLT treatment before seeing real substantial change or laser hair growth. Early results can be seen though as soon as after 12 weeks of laser hair growth treatment.
Once the LLLT hair loss results begin to show, they can appear in several ways. The vellus hair type (fine hair, as a feather) gradually increases, resulting in a hair that is more dense. Another benefit of laser treatment the removal of dandruff and other skin irritations.
It’s also worth mentioning that results vary from person to person, and success from LLLT depends on you sticking to the recommended treatment schedule.
Does Laser Hair Growth Work For All Kinds of Hair Loss?
Everyone, regardless of age, sex, and race or hair color can resort to laser therapy for thinning hair growth. The only condition would be that the candidate does still have active follicles which produce vellus hair type. Laser hair growth works to both stop hair loss and to make wispy hair thicker and healthier. There is no evidence to support that laser hair growth works for follicles that no longer produce any hair at all.
This includes the treatment of both andogenetic alopecia (AA), also referred to as male and female pattern balding and alopecia areata, known as patchy hair loss. The most common type of hair loss treated by low level laser therapy is andogenetic alopecia.
Basically, those who do not want to resort to surgery, take medication, or who have had failed success with other treatments can may turn to LLT for hair loss.
Is Laser Hair Growth Permanent? Does LLLT Need to be repeated? How Often?
Laser therapy lasts at least six months, with sessions at a frequency of 1-2 times a week. In the first three months, excessive hair loss should be slowing. Then, after 4-5 months existing hair becomes healthier, shinier and thicker.
Like all hair loss treatments, the results and the time it takes to achieve them can vary from one individual to another. The range seems to be between 12 and 26 weeks for most people to gain noticeable improvements.
Are There Laser Treatment for Hair Loss Side Effects?
After years of being used to treat many unique cases of alopecia, there are no reported laser hair therapy side effects. There’s little reason to be concerned that the type of lasers used in LLT may cause cancer, because the wavelength of the diodes and the power levels are not considered dangerous.
People often hear the word ‘laser’ and worry about zapping their scalp with dangerous beams that can penetrate deep and cause damage and even cancer. That is NOT the case with LLLT hair therapy. These are medical grade lasers. They are calibrated for a specific use and FDA approved for safety.
There have been over a thousand clinical studies conducted on the use of LLT, and no mutations of cells have been observed from laser hair loss therapy wavelengths and dosages. It is worth noting though, that individuals taking photosensitizing medication should not use low level laser therapy.
Can LLLT be Used with Other Treatments for Hair Loss?
There are said to be several causes for hair loss, so it would be reasonable to treat hair loss with more than one approach. LLLT can reduce and even stop hair loss when used as a stand-alone treatment, but expect better results if used as an addition to a more complete hair loss routine.
Excessive DHT for example, is known to be a leading cause of hair loss in male pattern balding. Low level laser light therapy for hair loss does not reduce DHT levels. Similar to minoxidil, LLLT stimulates hair growth in an attempt to overcome the negative effects of DHT.
If we both stimulate hair growth AND also reduce DHT levels, we are combating hair loss from two different angles, and should get better results.
Bottom line – The laser treatment to combat hair loss is more effective if it is combined with other approaches to fight hair loss.
Home-Use Laser Hair Growth Versus Professional Services
Laser treatment can be done in private clinics or beauty centers. However, home versions of LLLT for hair loss are becoming quite popular and easily available in online stores. These are small devices that you can conveniently use yourself. Along with the convenience of home-use, there’s also the money that can be saved, since the only expense is the one-time purchase of the LLT device.
There is a trade off here though. The LLLT devices used by clinics are often higher-end with more diodes and higher quality lasers. The procedure is also conducted and monitored by trained professionals. So you sacrifice the convenience of home use and less expense for potentially better results.
If turning to a salon or clinic, it is very important to be informed about appliance quality and about the business’s reputation. A little research on the salon or clinic, including customer reviews, can go a long way in making an informed decision.
LLLT Hair Loss Studies – Laser Hair Growth Observed
There have been quite a few studies conducted on the use low level laser therapy for hair loss. The most relevant ones, beginning with the study mentioned above by professor Andre Mester in 1964, span over the years up until recently.
One trial study using the US FDA-cleared HairMax Lasercomb®, observed its effectiveness and laser hair growth on both men and women. The subjects were divided into groups that used either the lasercomb or a sham (non-effective) device.
After 26 weeks, the results concluded that there was a significant increase in the hair density of the men and women using the low-level laser device.
Another similar trial was conducted using only males with genetic pattern balding (androgenetic alopecia), and also observed positive results of increased hair density through laser hair growth.
You can also find more information on LLLT for hair loss studies on this post from the web resource at OverMachoGrande.com.
LLLT Hair Loss Reviews
Most of the people who used low level laser therapy state that they can see improvements and recommend this to others. Some of them recommend to go to a professional, as they have experience and better appliances, but others say that home versions are as good as the ones used by clinics and they have better prices.
Most of the people that used LLLT as a treatment said that their hair looks thicker, fuller and better overall. It is worth mentioning that many reviewers recommend seeing a dermatologist before using LLLT for hair loss.
Low Level Laser Therapy for Hair Loss Before / After Pictures
Below are the LLLT for hair loss before and after pictures from some of the more popular laser hair growth devices. These devices are discussed in more detail later in this article.
You can see remarkable changes on every person.
HairMax LaserCombs/LaserBand Before After
iRestore Laser Hair Growth Before After
iGrow Laser Hair Growth Helmet Before After
Theradome LH80 Laser Helmet Before After
How Much Does Laser Hair Therapy Cost?
If going to a professional, low level laser therapy for hair growth can cost as much as $4000 a year. Before committing to that kind of expense, many prefer to try the personal LLLT devices which are readily available for purchase online through reliable stores such as Amazon. The at-home LLLT hair therapy devices come in a wide range of prices, but the most popular range between $300 and $500.
The devices for home use are often a more affordable way to receive LLLT for hair loss because they are a one-off cost. You can then use the device as often as you need without the strain of escalating expenses.
What is the Best LLLT Device for Laser Hair Growth?
There’s no shortage of products that use low level laser therapy for hair loss and like any purchase, quality and reliability is an important consideration.
Below is a list of the top 6 LLLT hair growth devices for home-use, based on user review.
1. HairMax Prima 7 LaserComb
HairMax has been in the laser hair growth business since the beginning. They offer several options for laser hair growth, and the LaserComb seems to be the crowd favorite. The Prima 7 is quite possibly the best laser comb in terms of bang for buck.
A comb-type laser device is smaller, with fewer medical grade lasers. This model has 7. With fewer lasers than some of the other devices listed below, this simply means more manual movement over your scalp to achieve full coverage. It also means a lower price tag for the same results, just with more physical movement on your part – a trade off many are willing to make.
The Prima 7 replaced the popular Advanced 7 HairMax model as an improved model. The previous version required 4 AA batteries, but this newer version operates on a rechargeable battery and has a power cord. This change adds to the list of reasons why the prima 7 is a clear winner for many users.
Results can be expected with 15 minute sessions 3 days per week. The Prima 7 LaserComb can be purchased in a very attractive bundle which includes the Prima 7, density shampoo, conditioner, revitalizer (a scalp exfoliator) and supplements.
HairMax lasercombs come with a 2 year warranty on the device, and a 5 month satisfaction gaurantee.
Find the HairMax Prima 7 LaserComb on Amazon
2. iRestore Hair Growth System
One of the better reviewed devices is the iRestore Hair Growth System, which is worn as a helmet and promises results in 12 to 24 weeks. Users report that the device is sturdy and the cushioned underside makes this device comfortable.
It contains 51combined medical-grade lasers and red LED lights. The package includes the helmet, attached control unit, power adaptor and user manual.
Results from the iRestore Hair Growth System require 25 minute sessions every other day. If users are not satisfied with this device, the manufacturer offers a full refund for up to 6 months of use.
3. iGrow Hands-Free Laser Hair Growth Helmet
A consistently well-rated product is the iGrow Hands-Free Laser LLLT Helmet. It has 4 adjustable fit columns with rotating weight distribution for comfort.
This device offers a combination of 51 cool laser diodes and red LED lights. A nice extra is the included adjustable headphones that can be linked with an mp3 player or iPod to make the experience more enjoyable.
The unit features a rear-attached power cord which is conveniently out of the way during use. The user manual shows you 5 images of hair loss, so you can choose the one that fits your situation and set the device to this level.
The iGrow Laser Helmet requires 20-25 minute sessions every other day for results. Similar to the iRestore, this unit comes with a 6 month money back warranty.
4. Hairmax Ultima 12 Lasercomb
This version contains 12 laser diodes, and can produce results in shorter sessions. The treatments time is just 8 minutes, 3 times per week. The additional lasers make the Ultima 12 more expensive than the Prima 7, a reasonable tradeoff for shorter treatment sessions.
Also like the Prima 7 the Ultima 12 is easy to use and very efficient. It can also be purchased in the same bundle as the Prima 7 and includes the HairMax 2 year device warranty and 5 month satisfaction guarantee.
5. Hairmax LaserBand 82
Another easy to use device from Hairmax is the LaserBand 82. You just have to glide it over the scalp and move it at 90 seconds intervals. You can use it 90 seconds per scalp area, 3 days per week.
As you might have guessed from its name, the LaserBand has 82 medical grade laser diodes. HairMax claims that their laser diodes offer superior penetration at optimal calibration. The band design is unique and includes teeth like a comb that serve to separate the hair and create better scalp and follicle exposure to the lasers.
The LaserBand 82 can offer the same coverage as a helmet device in significantly less time. As an example, if you needed to treat 3 areas of your scalp to get the desired coverage, you would use the LaserBand 3 times at 90 seconds each. Increased hair growth results can be seen in as soon as 12 weeks of use.
The LaserBand is rechargeable and can be purchased in a similar bundle as the HairMax LaserCombs. Also like the lasercombs, it includes a 2 year device warranty and a 5 month satisfaction guarantee.
This device is ideal for travel and along with the short treatment sessions, is a great fit for anyone with a busy lifestyle or on the move.
Find the Hairmax LaserBand 82 on Amazon
6. Theradome LH80 Hair Growth Helmet
Another popular helmet device, the Theradome Hair Growth Helmet is said to be recommended by 4 out of 5 hair rejuvenation experts. It is endorsed by well known companies such as Bosley and HairClub.
The Theradome LH80 contains 80 cold lasers, and is a cordless, rechargeable unit. This full coverage hair helmet can be adjusted to an optimal fit using additional foam pads that come with the package.
Results can be obtained in as soon as 4 weeks, using the Theradome twice a week for 20 minutes sessions. In fact, the device is claimed to deliver double the hair shaft growth in only 18 weeks.
Theradome claims that this may be the most powerful personal laser hair growth device currently available.
The Theradome LH80 comes with a carry case, AC adaptor, foam fitting pads and the rechargeable battery. This device comes with a 1-year limited warranty, and a 3-year extended warranty (called ‘DomeCare’) can be purchased separately.
Choosing a Home-Use LLLT Device for Laser Hair Growth
When choosing a laser hair therapy device for home-use, deciding variables will most likely be convenience and price.
HairMax is the most established company in this industry, but other brand names are also offering some solid choices for obtaining laser hair growth at home. The more you pay, the more lasers included with the device and the less time required for treatment sessions.
With fast results (12-26 weeks), affordable home-use devices, and a non-evasive procedure, LLLT for hair loss has become a very popular choice. There’s still some controversy though – Many claim that laser hair growth works better if alopecia is in an early stage, and that much better results are achieved if the treatment is done correctly in a medical environment.
The best approach, as mentioned multiple times throughout this site, is to combine various treatment methods into a regular routine. Each treatment option addresses hair loss differently, and a diverse multi-treatment approach can go a lot further in terms of results.
One things seems to be certain. If you have the money to spare, laser hair growth offers a lot of potential with little to risk and hair to gain.