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Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for Hair Growth: What Is It and Does It Work?

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Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a relatively new development that may be an option for solo treatment, or as an addition to those trying to put together a hair growth or hair loss treatment regimen.

Since this is relatively new, and less commonly used than the usual FDA-approved hair loss treatments like Finasteride or Minoxidil, you may not be too familiar with just what LLLT is, how it might work, or what the pros and cons of low-level laser therapy might be.

Below, we will help try to answer some of these questions and help you identify if LLLT therapy for hair growth is something that you may want to try out for your hair restoration efforts.

What is LLLT for hair growth?

LLLT is a scalp treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to help try and positively stimulate the hair follicles and enhance scalp blood flow. Ultimately, the hope is that this stimulation from this low-level laser can help kick sluggish or damaged hair follicles into a higher gear. Some claims of treatment include hair that has a thicker strand diameter, or that grows in at a thicker density.

Does low-level laser therapy help with hair growth?

There are some studies looking into any hair growth benefits from using LLLT on people experiencing various types of hair loss. And some of the studies report positive results, while others are inconclusive.

For instance, one review study from 2015 reviewed 21 relevant studies, and, while there were some design issues noted in a few, the overall consensus from the review was that FDA-cleared LLLT devices could be safe and effective for people dealing with male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss. The study notes that patterned hair loss patients who did not respond effectively to more common hair loss therapies, or that just did not want to use the current medications may be a good fit for giving LLLT a try.

Another 2020 review study looked into 10 randomized controlled trials on LLLT for hair loss. This review study concluded that LLLT therapy may be a safe and effective options for men and women experiencing pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia). The researchers mention that there is a good safety profile, and only minor side effects were reported. However, it is noted that a few of the studies may have ties to industry, and to take into account the potential for bias when drawing your conclusions.

What is the potential mechanism behind LLLT for hair growth?

As we mentioned earlier, LLLT is still relatively new, and we don’t yet know all of the possible mechanisms behind its potential benefits. But, we have a few ideas.

Some of the potential mechanisms behind LLLT for hair growth may be to stimulate hair follicles in the resting (telogen) phase to reenter the growth (anagen) phase of the hair cycle, extend the duration of the hair growth phase (anagen), increase proliferation rates in actively growing follicles, and help prevent follicles from going into the post-growth transitional phase (catagen) prematurely.

Other potential mechanisms behind how LLLT works may be altered cell metabolism through the mitochondria increasing ATP production, modulating reactive oxygen species, inducing transcription factors involved in protein synthesis, decreased inflammation, and increased vasodilation and tissue oxidation. 

Pros and cons of trying LLLT for hair growth

As with most treatment options, there are some pros and cons to LLLT that may help you decide if this is a viable option for you.

Potential pros of LLLT for hair growth:

  • LLLT is non-surgical and not a medication
  • LLLT is painless
  • LLLT has little to no side effects
  • Hair strength, diameter, and density may be improved

Potential cons of LLLT for hair growth:

  • LLLT has less safety and effectiveness data than other hair loss treatments
  • LLLT can be expensive - may be thousands of dollars per year
  • LLLT can be time-consuming - may be multiple treatments a week for months
  • LLLT should not be used along with photosensitizing medications

Strut Health prescription hair loss treatments online

Here at Strut, we are interested in all things related to innovative hair loss treatments. That is why we offer tried and true FDA-approved Finasteride tablets and topical Minoxidil therapies alongside more innovative topical Finasteride or off-label medications like Dutasteride or topical Spironolactone for women.

Hair loss treatment is not a one-size-fits-all situation, so we have many options depending on your current hair, your hair goals, or your personal treatment preferences.

If you are interested in seeing if a hair loss treatment medication has a place in your hair growth regimen, you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today.

If you are a good candidate for treatment with one of these medications, it will be shipped to your front door.

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