Even with a healthy head of hair, the average adult loses up to 150 strands a day. That number increases dramatically for men and women experiencing hair loss. Not only do they lose hundreds of strands of hair a day, but their scalp also fails to produce enough new hair to replace what’s lost.
This eventually leads to symptoms of hair loss like thinning hair, receding hairline and bald spots. Fortunately, advances in technology and hair growth research now make it easier than ever to access restorative hair growth treatments. Forget about messy creams and painful surgeries; the future of hair growth can be found in light therapy.
What Is Light Therapy?
Light therapy is a type of non-surgical treatment that uses specific wavelengths of light to encourage healing and regeneration within the body. This type of phototherapy offers a variety of applications, including promoting healthy skin, accelerating healing, reducing inflammation and even reversing depression.
Now research suggests that one specific form of light therapy known as red light therapy can be used for another exciting and unexpected purpose: battling hair loss.
Red light therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy or LLLT, uses light from part of the visible light spectrum to elicit a response from your body. High-powered light saturates your body — or in this case, your scalp — with wavelengths of bioactive, therapeutic red light. As the body absorbs and uses red light, deep healing can occur.
The Most Common Types of Hair Loss
Hair loss is an issue that plagues men and women alike, but not always for the same reasons.
Hereditary Hair Loss
Hair loss affects more than 80 million men and women, with many men experiencing significant hair loss by the age of 35. Heredity hair loss, or hereditary alopecia, is often to blame for thinning and receding hair. This condition is also known as male-pattern or female-pattern baldness.
Hereditary alopecia develops when hair follicles, especially those at the front of the head, become too sensitive to a specific hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. The DHT weakens hair follicles and causes them to deteriorate and become dormant over time.
Men tend to demonstrate the signs of hereditary hair loss with progressive thinning at the hairline, followed by thinning and pronounced bald spots on the crown of the head. Women, on the other hand, tend to experience general thinning of all hair, especially around the crown area. Their remaining hair becomes thinner and weaker as well.
Medical Conditions and Medications
Just as the hereditary cause of hair loss is out of your control, so too are many of the medical conditions known for causing hair loss. These can include:
- Thyroid disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Scalp infections
Additionally, certain medications used to treat serious medical conditions can cause severe side effects as well, including hair loss. Treatments for cancer, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and arthritis are all known to trigger hair loss.
While many men experience alopecia in their 30s and 40s, most women don’t notice hair loss until menopause. Estrogen levels fluctuate with age, but menopause significantly changes a woman’s hormone chemistry and reduces the level of estrogen the body produces.
Lower estrogen levels are associated with everything from hot flashes to mood swings to thinning hair. Estrogen plays a significant role in controlling the appearance of a woman’s hair by extending the growth stage of hair follicles. A lack of estrogen, then, leads to thinner, weaker hair instead.
Even without menopause as a factor, old age naturally causes hair loss because hair follicles stop growing as quickly. Over time, new hair growth can no longer outpace the rate of hair loss, so thinning and balding occur.
Radiation therapy saves lives, but it also causes dramatic hair loss. In order to destroy cancerous cells, radiation therapy also affects nearby healthy cells. Hair cells grow at a fast rate, so they tend to be at the highest risk for damage by radiation.
It’s possible to regrow your hair after radiation therapy, but it’s not guaranteed. The duration and strength of radiation therapy influence how quickly hair may grow back, if at all.
Shock and Stress to Hair
Hair dying looks gorgeous, but it weakens hair. Both permanent and semi-permanent coloring products contain ammonia and peroxide, both of which cause specific damage to hair follicles. Ammonia causes each hair follicle to open and swell, which lets peroxide get inside to change the color. By changing the integrity of each follicle, colored hair ends up porous, weaker and quicker to break.
Some hair loss only occurs immediately and temporarily as a reaction to hair dye, but repeatedly dying your hair over many years leads to generally less healthy hair that’s more prone to breaking or falling out. This is especially true for regularly lightened or bleached hair. Making darker hair lighter requires more powerful chemicals and therefore generates more powerful side effects.
How Does Light Therapy Help With Hair Loss?
Red light therapy uses different wavelengths of red light to increase blood flow to the scalp. Visible red light falls between 620 nanometers (nm) and 660 nm wavelengths, while near-infrared (NIR) light occurs in 810 nm, 830 nm and 850 nm.
The human body responds to this powerful red light the same way that plants respond to sunlight: by creating more cellular energy for growth and regeneration. Over time, this translates into more hair growth as follicles transition into the growing phase to produce strong, viable hair.
Does It Actually Work?
Though light therapy doesn’t guarantee results, several studies indicate that this gentle therapy offers a promising alternative treatment for men and women coping with hair loss.
In fact, research shows that treatment with red light delivers the following benefits:
- Stimulates the production of ATP, a coenzyme that helps hair follicles increase their activity and growth rate
- Increases the production of collagen, a protein that acts as an antioxidant to fight free radical damage in hair follicles
- Creation of new capillaries, which improve blood flow to the scalp
You don’t need to rely on an expensive spa or doctor to experience the benefits of red light therapy for yourself. The following three products are quickly gaining popularity as they help men and women correct the most unpleasant symptoms of hair loss, including receding hairlines, thinning hair, and male- and female-pattern baldness.
Depending on your budget and lifestyle, one of these innovative products may be the key to reversing unwanted hair loss.
CapillusPro Laser Therapy Cap
One treatment with the CapillusPro Laser Therapy Cap only takes six minutes to start regenerating hair growth. This professional-grade, FDA-approved hair regrowth treatment uses low-level laser therapy to improve and reverse hereditary hair loss. Its simple baseball cap design makes it effortless to enjoy maximum results.
iRestore Laser Hair Growth System
The company iRestore takes its mission very seriously with this red light helmet design. Expertly calibrated to emit 650 nm red light directly to the scalp, the iRestore Laser Hair Growth System is FDA-cleared to address male- and female-pattern baldness, hair thinning, shedding and receding hairlines.
Use this device regularly for three to six months to enjoy visible results. In clinical studies, a full 100% of active male and female users achieved an average increase of 43% in hair count.
HairMax Ultima 12 LaserComb
If you have eight minutes to spare every other day, then the HairMax Ultima 12 LaserComb will fit easily into your daily routine. This device uses 12 medical-grade lasers and specialized hair-parting teeth to reactive hibernating hair follicles.
With regular use, the HairMax can stimulate hair regrowth to replace thinning patches with thicker, stronger, fuller hair strands. And the invigorating scalp massage is the icing on the cake!