Why Laser Hair Loss Therapy Is Worth Considering


Each decade since the 1980s has brought with it a new hair loss therapy. In the 1980s it was minoxidil, in the 1990s it was oral DHT blockers (finasteride), and beginning in the 2000s low level laser therapy (LLLT) began to show promise in treating hair loss.

First, let's differentiate LLLT from higher power lasers used in dermatologists offices. The wavelength used in low level laser therapy does not damage or burn the skin like high power lasers. There is no thermal effect, meaning only a very small amount of heat is generated, in contrast to high power lasers which use heat to cause their desired effect. LLLT never burns or damages the skin, it works by aiding energy production in the hair follicle. It is completely painless, and has no known side effects.

Although the mechanism of action LLLT works on is not known, it is believed that the laser stimulates stem cells in the hair follicle shifting the hair cells into the anlagen (growth) phase. This boosts energy production in the hair follicle. You can read more about the details and mechanisms in an excellent journal article from 2014 here.

Keeping it simple, what we now know is that led lights emitting light at 650 micrometers with 5 milli watts of power provide an effective stimulus to the hair follicle, on par in effectiveness with minoxidil and finasteride, the two most popular and well studied hair loss treatments available.

LLLT shows improvements to the hair shaft diameter and increases the number of hairs growing at any given time. These results are not just academic, participants under double blind conditions rate their results very highly. See further studies here and here. See a list of studies on the topic here. These studies typically show 80 to 90% effectiveness, comparing favourably with minoxidil and finasteride. One 2013 study showed a 39% increase in hair growth over a period of 16 weeks, see study here.

Given the mounting evidence, In 2007 and 2011 low level laser therapy (via a laser comb) was approved by the FDA in the United States as a safe and effective treatment for for hair loss for men and women, respectively. This put LLLT in rarified heirs, being placed in the same category as finasteride and minoxidil treatments, the gold standards for hair loss.

Hairmax is the leader in LLLT products. In 2007 Hairmax was the first company to receive FDA clearance on its laser hair comb for the treatment of hair loss, signifying its effectiveness. See more information here on the FDA approval. Hairmax has performed 7 double blind clinical trials at prestigious research institutions, 88% of patients show significant improvement in these trials. More information on the FDA approval timeline for Hairmax devices can be found here, in short, they continue to study and add new devices to their list of FDA approved products.

Hairmax devices are the most common LLLT products recommended by dermatologists. The price reflects the quality of LED diodes included in their products. Hairmax uses the correct light wavelength and power to replicate the results seen in clinical trials. They have been developing LLLT devices for 20 years and regularly participating in clinical trials to ensure their devices are effective. These are the best LLLT products on the market and we strongly believe they will have an impact on your hair loss. 

Combining LLLT with topical treatments such as minoxidil, and finasteride (oral or topical) provides you with the strongest hair loss regimen available. These treatments all work on different pathways, combined, they create a strong synergistic effect. Further, if you don't tolerate one of these treatments well (minoxidil or finasteride) adding LLLT is an excellent way of enhancing the efficacy of your hair loss therapy.

The standard use protocol is 3 times per week for 11 minutes. If you have questions about LLLT or Hairmax products feel free to contact us.