I never realized that there is something worse than having a “bad hair day.” How about having a “no hair day”? The small percent who embrace their hairless heads can live their happy, bald lives. Everyone else wants a healthy head of hair.
Red light therapy is a science-backed hair growth treatment. Hundreds of studies support its use. Thousands more support the use of red light for safe, effective treatment of other conditions. So long as your light has the right coverage, wavelength, and power, there is a very good chance you can use it to stimulate hair growth.
The red light hair growth works with laser light or light emitting diodes (LEDs). Only clinics use powerful lasers, but this power is not required to get good results. Lower power devices take a little bit longer per treatment, but they work equally as well as higher power devices. In fact, low energy is sometimes better than high energy.
Clinic and home treatment devices both work and both take significant time to show results. Expect good results in six to 24 months.
Red light hair growth therapy is not just for men. For the millions of women who hate losing their hair, red light therapy can help. Red light can grow here lost to any of these conditions:
- male pattern baldness
- androgen, estrogen and/or progesterone imbalances
- birth control pills
- stress hair loss
This is a science and evidenced-based look at growing back your hair using light.
These devices work for both hair thinning and for baldness.
A Specific Red Light Frequency Stimulates Follicles
Red light therapy to grow hair is painless and non-invasive. A poorly designed helmet can hurt, but that is not ideal. A good helmet with proper cushioning should make for a painless hair growth device.
You can use light to grow hair at a clinic or at home. If you search for treatment, here are some of the many names you might research:
- low level light therapy hair growth
- low level laser therapy hair growth
- cold laser hair growth
- photobiomodulation hair growth
- red light therapy hair growth
Use Laser or LED Light Sources to Grow Hair
A laser is a high power light.
A laser emits a “coherent” beam. All the light streams coming out of the tip all focus very tightly together. This focus is how laser light can be so powerful.
Lasers can burn your eyes and skin. A laser can be so strong that doctors can use it as a surgical “knife.”
An LED is a light emitting diode.
An LED is a small, cool device. You can put your hand on a plate of LEDs and not feel heat.
Because people use the word “laser” when they mean “LED,” let me show you how to tell the difference.
A laser is a hot, powerful, expensive device.
A cold laser and a low-level laser device are not lasers. They are LED devices that mis-use the word “laser.”
People ask if lasers are better at stimulating hair growth, because lasers are more powerful than LEDs.
LEDs are just as good at growing hair as lasers are.
You do not need to use a laser for this therapy to work.
LEDs can deliver the hair growth key ingredients of the right wavelength delivered at the right power.
LEDs have huge advantages over lasers, too.
LEDs are better than lasers to grow hair because:
- LEDs are cheaper than lasers
- LEDs are cool to the touch
- LEDs do not hurt your skin or eyes
Some manufacturers created mixed LED and laser hair growth helmets. These shine both LED and laser onto your head. There are rules against selling high power lasers to consumers. Therefore, these mixed-used devices incorporate lower power lasers and LEDs. The laser’s coherent beam penetrates further into the follicle. The lower power laser is safe enough for home use but do not take any changes staring into your lights.
How to Get Hair Growth Red Light Therapy
You need to choose between office and home treatments.
Some clinics offer laser hair therapy with no other options. The advantage is putting your hair growth in the hands of someone who focuses (like a laser beam) (ha ha) on your hair growth.
Traditional hair clinics offering laser treatment will give you access to more therapies. While you can buy Minoxidil without a prescription, you need a doctor’s permission to use Finasteride (Propecia) to re-grow hair. Many hair clinics offer transplants, plugs, and drugs as well as light therapy to help re-grow your hair.
You have hundreds of choices for home use hair growth light therapy. Many companies offer hats and helmets outfitted with LEDs. To grow your hair, you wear this device several times a week. Treatment times are usually 25 minutes or so.
For the success, you need to find the hat or helmet that is:
- FDA cleared for marketing for the purpose of treating hair loss
- comfortable to wear (lightweight, breathable, cushioned)
- has the right wavelength lights
- sends light to all the areas where you want hair
- is not more or less powerful than the specifications state it is
- has quality materials and construction
- money back guarantee period of at least 6 months
FDA Cleared Hair Growth Device
“FDA Cleared” means that the device is safe and that it works. As with everything, this is only true if you use the device correctly. It is easy to use red light incorrectly, so keep this in mind if you do not see progress.
Hair Growth Device Comfort
“Comfortable” means that the device is lightweight, breathable, and cushioned. It is normal to feel a bit of tingling when using the light. It should not hurt.
Cold Laser, Low Level Laser Therapy, Low Level Light Therapy, and Red Light Therapy Device Wavelengths
No matter the name, a red light device has to emit the right wavelength of red light to work.
Cold laser is just another way to say light emitting diodes. LEDs are not lasers. Red light therapy, low-level laser, and low level light can mean weak laser or LED light.
So long as you know the energy output in milliwatts and the light’s wavelength, the type of light emitter can be laser or LED.
Some companies offer fluorescent red light therapy. I cannot comment on my scientific research about this yet. My opinion going in is that I would be worried that fluorescent light emits dirty electricity, which is harmful to your health. I am not sure of this yet.
How Red Light Grows Hair
Cytochromes are molecules inside our cells that absorb light.
These molecules respond to different wavelengths, especially those in the red and infrared range.
The molecules absorb the photon energy. This prompts the mitochondria to make more energy.
The energy brings nutrients and oxygen to the hair growth follicles. They respond by doing what hair follicles do. They grow hair.
As with all photobiomodulation (use of light to create biological change), the amount of energy and the wavelength of that energy must match the stated goal.
If you use too much or too little energy, the hair will not grow.
If you use the wrong wavelength, the hair will not grow.
The treatment time and frequency affect how much energy you get, so getting these right is essential to growing hair.
When to Avoid Using Red Light Hair Growth
Light therapy is stimulating and can cause growth. If you are already in a cancerous position, light therapy can be harmful.
The irony is that red light therapy is extremely helpful in dealing with the negative effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation. In fact, sometimes cancer patients using red light do much better and live longer than those who do not use the light. It is a puzzle.
Here is an excellent article from Dr. Michael Hamblin, the world’s foremost expert in the science of using light for healing: Photobiomodulation and Cancer: What Is The Truth?