Wrist Laser Therapeutic Apparatus

Laser Treatment for Hair Loss

Treatments to stop hair loss and possibly reverse it include:

medications such as minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia)

hair transplant surgery

laser therapy

Does laser treatment for hair loss work?

What it does

Low-level laser therapy — also referred to as red light therapy and cold laser therapy — irradiates photons into scalp tissues. These photons are absorbed by weak cells to encourage hair growth.

It’s widely accepted that the procedure is safe, tolerable, and less invasive than hair transplant surgery.

The theory

The theory of laser treatment for hair loss is that the low-dose laser treatments invigorate circulation and stimulation that encourages hair follicles to grow hair.

The results

Because the results of laser therapy are inconsistent, the conclusion of the medical community seems to be that it appears to work for some people, but not for others.

More research is needed, but some studies have yielded encouraging results:

According to a 2014 studyTrusted Source, low-level laser therapy appeared to be safe and effective for hair growth in both men and women.

A 2013 studyTrusted Source of 41 males ages 18 to 48 found that laser hair treatment provided a 39 percent increase in hair growth over a period of 16 weeks.

What are the positives of laser treatment for hair loss?

There are a number of reasons that advocates cite to encourage participation in the procedure, including:

it’s noninvasive

it’s painless

there are no side effects

it increases hair strength


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What are the negatives of laser treatment for hair loss?

There are a number of reasons that some people are not as positive about the procedure, such as:

It’s time consuming. To see results, treatment often requires several sessions a week for a number of months. Although the number of sessions might taper off, most providers suggest that you continue treatments for the rest of your life.

It’s expensive. Clinical laser treatments for hair loss can cost thousands of dollars a year.

It may not be effective. The procedure appears to be less effective for people in the advanced stages of hair loss as opposed to those in the early stages.

It can interact with certain medications. Laser therapy should not be performed on people taking medications that are photosensitizing. Photosensitizing is a chemical alteration to the skin that increases someone’s sensitivity to light.

Long-term safety and effectiveness have not yet been established. Laser devices are classified as medical devices by the FDA so they don’t have the same level of scrutiny and testing that medicines go through prior to approval. Long-term safety and long-term effectiveness have not yet been established.

The takeaway

If you want to stop and perhaps reverse hair loss, you might consider laser treatment as an option.

As with any treatment, there are some positives and negatives that should be considered when determining if it’s right for you. Your doctor can help you make a good decision.

If you lose hair suddenly, see your doctor. Rapid hair loss might be an indication of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.

Last medically reviewed on January 4, 2019

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