Although hair loss can strike anywhere on the body, thinning hair on the scalp is what causes concern for most people. While hair loss is not typically a serious medical condition, it can affect your self image and self esteem. This can be especially true for women who lose their hair.
Many people experiencing hair loss wish to avoid using medications or chemicals on their scalps and instead seek out alternative treatments like light therapy. In the course of their research, they might wonder, “Is blue light therapy for hair loss?”
Common Types of Hair Loss
People lose their hair for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the more common causes.
Many medical conditions can lead to hair loss. Autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata can lead to an above-average loss of hair, as can thyroid disease. Infections of the scalp, such as ringworm, folliculitis, and seborrheic dermatitis can also lead to unwanted hair loss.
Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition that usually begins at the hairline. The hair begins to thin and bald, receding from the hairline and forming an “M” shape. Eventually, the hair on the crown of the head thins and fades as well.
Female Pattern Baldness
Female pattern hair loss, much like male pattern baldness, is hereditary. Unlike hair loss in men, however, hair loss in women is often evenly distributed all over the head. Sometimes this loss is more pronounced at the hairline and on the temples.
Age-Related Hair Loss
Our individual hairs grow and fall out again in cycles. As we age, our hair growth rate slows considerably. This leads to thinning and balding of the hair over time because new hair growth can’t keep up with the rate at which hair naturally falls out.
This is particularly true for women as their estrogen levels drop during and after menopause. Lower levels of estrogen can lead not only to less hair growth, but also to existing hair becoming thinner and weaker. This can lead to more hair breakage, which also contributes to the thinning effect.
Hair Loss as a Side Effect of Medical Treatment
While chemotherapy is the most well-known treatment that causes hair loss, radiation therapy can also destroy healthy hair follicles in the area receiving treatment. Certain drugs can also cause hair loss as a side effect.
Chemical Damage to Hair
Bleaching, dyeing, and perming hair can contribute to hair loss. Most products used to change the color and texture of hair can damage hair follicles over time, reducing their ability to produce healthy new hairs. Bleaching, dyeing, and perming also weaken hair, making it more fragile and likely to break off.
What Is Blue Light Therapy?
Light therapy, or phototherapy, uses specific wavelengths of light to treat a variety of health conditions, ranging from depression to acne to sleep disorders.
Blue light therapy, specifically, is a type of phototherapy that uses blue or violet light to target a range of health conditions, usually on or just under the skin. Blue light therapy has successfully treated acne, fatigue, skin cancer, and a variety of other health conditions without the use of the chemicals in pharmaceuticals.
Research is ongoing, but phototherapy using blue and violet light shows much promise for the treatment of many skin conditions.
How Does Blue Light Therapy Affect Hair Loss?
Blue light therapy for hair loss is still in the early stages of research. Historically, researchers have had success with red and near-infrared light therapies for hair loss and have not considered blue light an effective option. However, scientists recently researching blue light therapy for hair loss have seen some promising results.
One preliminary study reported that blue light therapy increased hair density and thickness in patients with androgenetic alopecia, a common cause of hair loss in both men and women. Though the small study is encouraging, researchers noted that additional research would be required to confirm the results and further investigate blue light therapy for hair loss.
At this time, very few products exist that use blue light to treat hair loss. It’s possible that as research moves forward, we will see more of these products being developed in the future.
The Future of Blue Light Therapy for Hair Loss
So what does the future hold for people dealing with hair loss?
New research could reveal that therapy with blue light helps slow hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth. Many more studies will need to be conducted on blue light therapy for hair loss before this question can be answered conclusively.
In the meantime, current research demonstrates the effectiveness of red light therapy for hair loss. You can find a wide variety of products and treatments available to try while we wait for the research on blue light light therapy for hair loss to progress.