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Light Therapy and Hair Growth

Light Therapy and Hair Growth

For most of human history, hair has represented a symbol of style and beauty. And while hair loss and regrowth are normal processes through which hair regenerates, for some folks, it can be a frustrating problem. Lack of self-confidence may be a result of significant hair loss.

Age, genes, poor diet, severe stress, or conditions such as diabetes and lupus are all convincing reasons why some people face difficulties with hair loss8. Hair loss can also be drug-induced. Medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, Parkinson's disease drugs, hormone replacement therapy, and chemotherapy can all cause hair loss among their side effects9.

Light Therapy: the Safest Option to Treat Hair Loss

Treatments to stop hair loss and possibly reverse it include drug prescriptions, hair transplant surgery, and Light Therapy. However, of all three options, only Light Therapy addresses hair loss without any adverse side effects.

Two common drugs that are prescribed to treat hair loss include Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia). The first has the risk of chest pain and poor heart function (more medication may be needed to counteract these side effects), while the second increases the risk of prostate cancer among men and should be avoided by pregnant women or women planning to carry a baby9.

According to research, Light Therapy is more effective than hair regrowth drugs. A meta-analysis study (a study of studies) was conducted in 2018. Scientists examined a total of 22 studies, and they looked at which non-surgical form of treatment was the most effective to androgenetic alopecia10, which is the medical term for hair loss that primarily affects the top and front of the scalp19.

Surgery is likely the last resort you want to consider for treating not only hair loss but any other medical conditions you might be facing. Hair transplantation surgery includes risks of infection, scarring, patchy hair growth as well as a likelihood the transplantation will fail, and another surgical effort will be needed12. Plus, there is the considerable cost of hair transplant, which most health insurance policies won't cover due to the fact this kind of surgery falls in the category of cosmetic procedures.

These data lead us to Light Therapy--the safest, most convenient, and natural way to help your hair grow back.

How Light Therapy Helps Hair Regrowth?

When Light Therapy is directed on the bald parts of your head, the specific wavelengths emitted from a Light Therapy device prompt the mitochondria in your cells to decrease oxidative stress and increase circulation. As the mitochondria grow stronger, your body becomes more resilient to pain and inflammation, produces more energy, and speeds up ongoing healing processes. Essentially, this is how Light Therapy stimulates regeneration on any part of your body3,11.

When it comes to hair regeneration, Light Therapy specifically affects the dermal papilla cells (located in the inner skin layers and nourishing the outermost parts of the skin)5, which play a critical role in managing hair regrowth13. It's a safe and effective way to improve hair count and density, among both men and women2.

Light Therapy is an Effective Natural Way for Reversing Hair Loss

One of the most common manifestations of aging on your body is hair loss. Be grateful for your genes if you don't end up among the 50% of men over the age of 40 who are affected by androgenic alopecia, or 75% of women over 65 who also struggle with the condition4.

Luckily, you can opt-in for a Light Therapy treatment, a safe and natural way to reverse hair loss and stimulate regrowth. A significant deal of scientific research and trials attests to that.

A quantitative meta-analysis from 2019 reviewed 8 clinical studies comprising a total of 11 double-blind, randomized controlled trials. It showed that participants who received Light Therapy treatments measured a substantial increase in hair density in contrast to participants who received sham and placebo treatments16.

Light Therapy Improves Hair Regrowth, Thickness and Patient Satisfaction

A meta-analysis from 2017, which looked at 11 studies and 680 patients treated with Light Therapy (444 males and 236 females), found that Light Therapy significantly increases hair count and hair density among all hair-loss participants. Light Therapy, additionally, increased thickness and tensile of all remaining hair in these participants. Five of the studies also investigated the experiences of the participants. On the whole, they responded very positively to the treatments, saying that Light Therapy was un-invasive, very comfortable and that they had more self-confidence1.

Light Therapy for Treating Male Pattern Baldness

Several studies have paid particular attention to treating male pattern baldness with Light Therapy.

In 2018, researchers carried out a 6-month long, randomized, double-blind trial on 100 male patients with hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). Light Therapy or placebo was applied to one side of each participant's head 3 times a week for half an hour. The trial results showed that Light Therapy successfully treated their hair loss condition. The part of the head that was treated with Light Therapy device exhibited significantly greater hair coverage than the side managed with the placebo17.

In 2019, a new study focused on how Light Therapy affects protein expression (hair growth) in the dermal papilla tissues (necessary for hair growth) among men with pattern hair loss baldness. The trial again lasted 6 months, and participants were treated with 25 minutes of Light Therapy every other day. The researchers found that Light Therapy increased protein concentration (increase hair growth) and concluded that Light Therapy promotes hair growth by counteracting the miniaturization process, a biological process where hair size shrinks and, eventually, leaves a bald scalp19. Light Therapy does this by enhancing dermal papilla cell function18.

Lastly, in 2013, researchers also assessed the safety and physiologic effects of Light Therapy after inviting 44 men with pattern baldness for a treatment. This trial was a bit different since all participants had a section of their hair clipped to 3 mm height, and this same area was also marked and photographed. For the next 4 months, one group of participants received Light Therapy treatment every other day while the second group received a placebo14. The study results showed:

  • A substantial increase in the post-treatment hair count in the Light Therapy group14;
  • A 35% hair growth increase in the Light Therapy group14;
  • Light Therapy was safe, as no negative side effects were observed14.

Light Therapy for Treating Hair Loss Among Women

Light Therapy has been widely confirmed for its effects on pattern baldness treatment among women, too. The results are more than encouraging.

47 female participants were invited for a trial in 2014 in which they had some of their hair clipped to 3mm height; then, the same part was marked and photographed. Over the next 4 months, one group of women was regularly treated with Light Therapy and the other with placebo15. Observations showed:

  • Substantial increase in post-treatment hair count for women in the Light Therapy group15;
  • A 37% increase in hair growth15;
  • Safe treatment with no adverse effects noted15.

In 2017, researchers found a 51% increase in hair count among women facing hair loss. In this study, women aged 18 to 60 received Light Therapy treatment every other day for 17 weeks. Researchers found that across all ages, Light Therapy can help women increase hair count without side-effects7.

One more study from 2017 examined the effects of Light Therapy compared to Rogaine (minoxidil), a common topical ointment prescribed to women who experience pattern hair loss. For this trial, researchers worked with 45 female participants and divided them into 3 groups.

The 1st group of women was treated with Light Therapy only, the 2nd with Rogaine only, and the 3rd used a combined therapy of both (Rogaine and Light Therapy). This research concluded that:

  • Light Therapy was as effective as Rogaine, but with no side-effects6;
  • The best results were found among the women who used a combination therapy of Light Therapy and Rogaine6.

All the studies above demonstrate that Light Therapy helps hair regrowth in a natural, safe, and effective way. Different research teams have observed improvements in terms of not only in hair count but also hair thickness, self-esteem, and satisfaction among people who used Light Therapy.

If you've struggled with hair loss yourself, consider giving natural Light Therapy a try. Please reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter if you want to talk to us about Light Therapy options.

The Light Lounge Resource Center sources its data and research from peer-reviewed journals and unbiased world-class research institutions. Follow our blog to learn more and discover what the best research in the world says on Light Therapy (photobiomodulation treatment).

  1. Low-level laser therapy as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia
  2. Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) for Treatment of Hair Loss
  3. Proposed Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation or Low-Level Light Therapy
  4. Systematic review of low-level laser therapy for adult androgenic alopecia
  5. Dermis
  6. Low level light-minoxidil 5% combination versus either therapeutic modality alone in management of female patterned hair loss: A randomized controlled study
  7. Novel Approach to Treating Androgenetic Alopecia in Females With Photobiomodulation (Low-Level Laser Therapy)
  8. Laser Treatment for Hair Loss
  9. Medications That Can Cause Hair Loss
  10. Efficacy of non-surgical treatments for androgenetic alopecia: a systematic review and network meta-analysis
  11. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation
  12. Men and Hair Loss: Should You Have a Transplant?
  13. Various Wavelengths of Light-Emitting Diode Light Regulate the Proliferation of Human Dermal Papilla Cells and Hair Follicles via Wnt/β-Catenin and the Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Pathways
  14. The growth of human scalp hair mediated by visible red light laser and LED sources in males
  15. The growth of human scalp hair in females using visible red light laser and LED sources
  16. Comparative effectiveness of low-level laser therapy for adult androgenic alopecia: a system review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
  17. Efficacy and Safety of a Low-Level Light Therapy for Androgenetic Alopecia: A 24-Week, Randomized, Double-Blind, Self-Comparison, Sham Device-Controlled Trial
  18. Quantitative proteomic analysis of dermal papilla from male androgenetic alopecia comparing before and after treatment with low-level laser therapy
  19. Pattern hair loss

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