Laser hair treatment is a non-surgical procedure for women and men who experience excessive hair loss. Also referred to as cold or soft lasers, this treatment does not employ heating techniques and instead the therapeutic effect of low level light lasers is made use of. Laser therapy was first developed in Europe and is used to improve hair volume, hair shaft quality and improving hair colors and perms.
The benefits of laser hair treatment include:
Increases blood supply to the scalp by about 54% after one treatment.
Stimulates hair follicles.
Stops the progression of hair loss in 85% of patients treated with laser therapy.
Approximately 40% of the people treated with laser experienced increase in hair thickness.
Increases hair elasticity and strength.
Repairs damages caused because of use of chemicals.
Laser therapy was developed after Professor Andre Mester’s experiments showed that wounds on mice healed rapidly on directing low power laser energy on them. Healing happened because of an improvement in the microcirculation of blood in the area of the wound.
Laser therapy involves the use of devices that generate low power light level lasers of wavelength that belong to the cold, red spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. This laser has only one precise color, it travels in a straight line, has only a single wavelength and can be focused on a specific spot. Several devices that produce low level lasers are approved by the USFDA. These devices make use of 110 – 160 light emitting diodes to alter the functioning of the cells. In the use of these devices for hair loss, light emitted by the diodes is directed to cover the entire scalp area. Laser therapy works on the principle of photo bio-stimulation, improving metabolism at the cellular level and helping the damaged cells to repair themselves. For laser therapy to become effective as a treatment for hair loss, it is important that it is used along with medications such as 5% Minoxidil and herbal products that use 5% Saw Palmetto.
When directed on to the scalp, light penetrates into the tissues of the scalp and improves the blood circulation. This leads to an improvement in cell metabolism and protein synthesis. Studies indicate that when the cells are repaired using low power light level laser, the sensitivity to DHT, a derivative of the male hormone testosterone, is drastically reduced. DHT is responsible for androgenetic alopecia.
The three phases in the life cycle of each strand of hair are the growth phase (anagen) that lasts for about 1,000 days, the transitional phase (catagen) which may last for 10 days and the resting phase known (telogen) that lasts 100 days. Hair stops growing during the catagen phase and after telogen phase it falls off the follicle. A new strand of hair grows in its place. Out of the approximately 100,000 strands of hair on the scalp, 100 strands fall off each day as they complete their life cycle. This is normal.
As people age, fewer hairs get replaced, resulting in thinning of hair and development of baldness. Laser therapy helps to slow, arrest, or reverse the degenerative cycle in certain cases. It is not possible to do anything to restore, if the hair roots are dead. The clue, therefore, is to start the therapy as soon as possible to fight hair loss. Therapeutic pure red light laser therapy improves blood supply to the scalp that ensures delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicle. This initiates restorative and reparative action that clears debris from the hair shaft, swells the cortex and closes the cuticle, making the scalp healthier and the hair thicker and shinier.
A laser therapy program usually lasts for about 6 months. It involves 30 minutes’ sessions per week in a salon. An assessment is carried out at the end of six months and, if required, the therapy is extended for a period of another six months. The therapy has to be carried out for a minimum period of six months to see any noticeable results. Each individual is different and hence the time required for seeing results will also be different. A laser therapy session at a salon will cost about $75 and annual packages are offered at around $2,000.
Getting the laser therapy done at a salon is beneficial compared to using hand held laser comb at home. Some of the reasons are as follows:
The chances of continuing the treatment are higher if laser therapy is done at a salon. Many people are not disciplined enough to use the laser comb at home, especially when it takes at least six months for results to become noticeable.
Whereas a laser comb directs light only on to the area over which you are holding the comb, in a salon the person sits under a hood for 30 minutes and it is beneficial to the whole scalp.
In a salon, the patients have access to the services of an expert in the field.
Summarizing, it is important to continue laser therapy maintain results. It calls for some amount of commitment. If it is difficult make this commitment, an individual can use a laser comb at home. In fact, the best option would be to complete a six month session at a salon and then use a laser comb to maintain the results.