Laser hair therapy is an FDA-cleared option for men and women with certain kinds of hair loss who seek to grow hair and slow hair loss. It is also referred to as low level laser therapy (LLLT), soft laser, red light therapy, cold laser and bio-stimulation.
The therapy is a potential hair replacement strategy for those with inherited pattern baldness or thinning hair. Up to 70 percent of men and 40 percent of women experience hereditary hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia (AGA). In men, it manifests itself as a receding hairline or vertex baldness, while in women it more commonly appears as diffuse thinning of the hair.
How It Works
Laser hair therapy addresses hair loss at the cellular level. Laser light stimulates weakened follicles by improving blood microcirculation and promoting protein synthesis. Certain men and women using low level laser hair therapy experience reduced hair loss and hair replacement, usually after 12 to 26 weeks.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Naturally, men and women with hair loss want to assess their chances of success in regrowing hair. Since laser hair therapy cannot revive a dead hair follicle, completely bald areas do not respond well. However, laser hair therapy may be an option for those already using other hair replacement methods. Also, illness-related hair loss, postpartum hair loss and post-menopausal hair loss may respond well to laser hair therapy.
Hair Loss Classifications
Physicians classify hair loss using separate scales for men and women:
The Norwood-Hamilton Classification features multiple levels of patterned hair loss ranging from I to VIII. In 1951, Hamilton first developed the system after studying more than 300 male subjects. In 1975, Dr. Norwood refined the system after studying more than 1,000 subjects. Low level laser hair therapy is typically intended for men with hair loss classifications ranging from IIa to V.
In 1977, Ludwig developed a female hair loss classification system with three primary grades. Grade I features detectable thinning of hair on the crown. Grade II features extreme thinning of hair in that area, and Grade III features total hair loss in the crown area.
Fifteen years later, the Savin scale was developed. It focuses on both hair loss and hair density. Classifications include I-1, I-2, I-3, I-4, II-1, II-2, III, Advanced and Frontal. Low level laser hair therapy is intended for females with significant hair loss classified as I-4, II-1, II-2 or Frontal.
In 2009, researchers studied 110 subjects with AGA classified from IIa to V. The study compared the results of a control group using a non-operative device with subjects using a laser comb. After 26 weeks, subjects in the latter group demonstrated significant increases in hair density compared to the control group. Researchers concluded that the laser comb “is an effective, well-tolerated and safe laser phototherapy device for the treatment of AGA in males.”
At Transitions Hair Loss Centers, we specialize in proven hair loss treatment and hair restoration solutions for men and women, including laser hair therapy. The best way to get all your thinning hair questions answered is to schedule a free, no obligation hair loss evaluation with a Transitions hair loss professional. To find a location nearest you click here.
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