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Deception in Laser Therapy Marketing For Hair Loss: Does it Actually Work?

 

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a heavily debated topic amongst the world’s best hair restoration surgeons. Some physicians reject it’s use and efficacy entirely, while others include laser therapy regularly in their practice. So why the vast difference? Does laser therapy work to treat her loss or not? And if so, what can someone with hair loss realistically expect? Does it only provide marginal benefit, thickening just a nominal amount of thinning hair? Or can it restore a full head of hair to a completely bald head? In this article, we explore the history of this controversial treatment and how it’s being used today.

How Did Laser Therapy For Hair Loss Start?

In the 1960’s after the first working laser was invented, a researcher by the name of Andre Mester from the University of Budapest began to research a theory that exposure to cold laser light may lead to cancer. To test this theory, Mester shaved a group of mice and placed them in a cage with constant cold laser light exposure, leaving another group of mice unexposed. To Mester's surprise, the theory was disproven and none of the mice developed cancer. However, Mester discovered that the mice that were exposed to laser light grew back their shaved fur faster than the other group of mice that were not exposed to laser light. This discovery caused Mester to develop a new theory that laser light could stimulate hair cells and cause the hair to grow thicker and faster.

Laser Therapy For Hair Loss

In modern hair restoration practices across the world, low level laser therapy (LLLT) is being used as a hair loss treatment by hair restoration surgeons. Laser rays are applied directly to the thinning areas by a laser device to stimulate hair cells. Lasers are said to work by converting Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP), causing cellular metabolic changes. During this process, nutrients and oxygen are supplied to the scalp while increasing overall blood circulation. Lasers, when applied to the scalp and hair, have been said to improve the quality of the hair and increase the hair shaft diameter (follicular thickness).

What are Laser Therapy Consumers Saying?

The cold hard truth is that most individuals who have undergone low-level laser therapy, either at a clinic or using a device like the FDA cleared hair max lasercomb or even the lasercap in their own home haven’t seen or reported any real noticeable improvements even after using it as directed and going the distance. Ironically, hair restoration clinics who offer later therapy will often present impressive looking before and after pictures but in many cases, there’s some kind of deception going on. Either the lighting or angles in the photos are different, the before photo will show wet hair while the after picture will show dry hair which creates an illusion of improvements, or the individual in the after picture will be wearing some kind of topical concealer to make their hair look thicker.
Now, the occasional individual who claims to have undergone laser treatment for hair loss will come forward bragging about their new head of hair. However, in many cases, these individuals are Clinic representatives pretending to be genuine consumers and using doctored photos to acquire more business.

So Does Laser Therapy Work for Hair Loss or Is It a Waste of Time and Money?

The reality is, some laser therapy devices have been FDA cleared for both safety and efficacy which means that the FDA had to of seen at least some kind of marginal improvement in the experiments performed by third parties. So, does laser therapy work? Well, maybe. But if individual is experiencing aggressive hair loss or is completely bald, we wouldn’t expect anyone to see any noticeable improvements. However, those with nominal hair loss or those who’ve only just started to experience thinning, may notice a slight increase in overall hair density after using laser therapy as directed for an appropriate amount of time. Whether or not this improvement will be noticeable in the mirror however, is another story. The statistics may show a marginal increase in terminal hairs when measured at a clinic, but don’t expect any significant cosmetic improvements from laser therapy alone.

Conclusion


Hair transplant surgeons have different views and philosophies in regards to the use of laser therapy as a treatment for hair loss. Unfortunately, scientific evidence is severely lacking to back the bold claims that are made by various laser device manufacturers. However, there is some evidence that the treatment works at least nominally from hair loss sufferers and physicians alike. Furthermore, laser therapy is safe and does not carry any dangerous or harmful side effects. Therefore, hair loss sufferers may benefit from trying laser therapy even if the benefit is marginally small.

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