Red light therapy is well known for its effectiveness when it comes to addressing skin conditions. But, did you also know that it can be beneficial for people dealing with hair loss? The light-driven treatment can lead to increased thickness and density, as well as improved hair strength and resilience. Furthermore, it is a safe and non-invasive treatment option without any known significant side effects.
Red Light Therapy Treatment for Hair Loss
Red light therapy (RLT) is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-level red wavelengths (630-670 nanometers) of light to promote hair growth and prevent loss. It works by penetrating the scalp and stimulating follicles, increasing blood circulation, and delivering more nutrients and oxygen to the hair.
The process involves placing the device close to the scalp for a specified period of time, usually 10-30 minutes per treatment. Multiple sessions may be required over several weeks or months to see results.
Does Red Light Therapy Actually Work for Hair Loss?
Although red light therapy is a fairly new method, there is already some scientific evidence that allows evaluation of the effectiveness of the treatment in hair loss.
A study published in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine showed that red light therapy significantly improved hair density and thickness in women with androgenetic alopecia, a common form of hair loss.
Red light therapy is also believed to work by reducing inflammation in the scalp, which can contribute to hair loss.
According to another study in the same journal, red light therapy decreased inflammation in the scalp and improved hair density in men. The research found that the enhancements in hair density were most notable in the vertex region of the scalp, which is the area commonly affected by male pattern baldness. Red light therapy appeared to be well-tolerated, with no serious adverse events reported during the treatment.
While more research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness of RLT for hair loss treatment, current evidence suggests that it is a promising option for those seeking a non-invasive and drug-free approach to hair regrowth. According to Jose Diego Mier, MD, founder and medical expert at the Heliotherapy Research Institute, it is important to use red light therapy devices that have been cleared by the FDA and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve effective results and reduce the risk of side effects.
Pros and Cons of Using Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss Treatment
Red light therapy has gained popularity as a treatment option for hair loss, but like any medical procedure, it has both potential benefits and drawbacks to consider.
- Effective in Treating Androgenetic Alopecia (Male or Female Pattern Baldness):
Androgenetic alopecia is caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which shrinks hair follicles and shortens the hair growth cycle. Red light therapy can help to counteract this effect by increasing blood flow to the scalp and providing more nutrients to the hair follicles.
- Improved Hair Texture and Thickness:
Red light therapy not only promotes hair growth, but can also improve the texture and thickness of existing hair by increasing blood flow and cell metabolism.
- Non-invasive and Painless:
Red light therapy is a non-invasive and painless treatment, which means that it doesn’t require any incisions or needles. This makes it a comfortable option for individuals who are hesitant about undergoing more invasive procedures.
- Minimal Side Effects:
Red light therapy has few side effects, and most of them are mild and temporary. The most common is scalp irritation, which usually resolves on its own within a few hours.
- No Downtime:
Unlike other hair loss treatments that may require a recovery period or downtime, red light therapy can be done on the go. This means that you can receive the cure without having to take time off from work or other activities.
- Time Commitment:
Red light therapy may require a significant time commitment, as it typically involves multiple treatments over months. Depending on the treatment protocol, you may need to undergo therapy several times per week for some months to see noticeable results.
- May Not Be Suitable for Everyone:
While red light therapy is generally safe, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain conditions, such as epilepsy or lupus, or those taking medications may need to avoid the treatment due to potential risks or interactions.
How to Use Red Light Therapy?
There are two options for using therapy in different settings. Depending on your needs and abilities, you can choose the right option for your treatment:
In The Salon:
In a salon, red light therapy is typically administered through a light bed or panel. You would typically lie or stand in front of the device for a set amount of time, usually between 10-20 minutes per session. It’s important to follow the instructions provided by the salon and to wear protective goggles if required.
The cost of red light therapy can vary depending on the provider and the type of device used (from $50 to $150 per treatment).
Before starting red light therapy, it’s always a good idea to check with a dermatologist or other healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for your particular skin type and any underlying conditions you may have. They also can help determine the most effective wavelength and frequency for your individual needs.
At home, you can use red light therapy in the form of a handheld comb or helmet. You should follow the instructions provided with the device, but typically you would put the device on your scalp for some minutes (typically 5-20 minutes depending on the model).
It’s recommended to start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the time as your skin becomes more accustomed to the treatment.