Laser hair therapy, also known as cold laser, biostimulation, red light therapy, photobiomodulation, and soft laser, is a safe form of light treatment used to treat various forms of baldness is both men and women. The various tools used for this type of therapy emit light that is believed to increase blood flow to the follicles.
Hair growth can be broken down into three phases: the growth phase (anagen), resting phase (telogen), and the shedding phase (catagen). Those that do believe that laser is an effective treatment, point to the way the processes in these respective phases respond to light.
As mentioned on the minoxidil and finasteride pages, one of the main culprits of androgenic alopecia, better known as genetic pattern balding, is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). If build-up of DHT is prevented, the chances of maintaining current hair growth levels or even regrowing hair are greatly increased.
So how exactly does low level laser therapy work? The photons emitted by the laser are believed to increase blood flow in the scalp. This in turn promotes metabolism in either resting phase or shedding phase follicles, resulting in the production of growth follicles.
In theory, the photons of light spur a process that leads to the production of ATP. In the hair follicle cells, the ATP is converted into AMP, releasing energy and stimulating other processes necessary for hair growth. From here, nitric oxide from cells is released, causing the development of more blood vessels, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the hair roots. The result is the prevention of our old friend, DHT.
Some types of tools include both take home hand held devices like laser combs, hoods or overhead panels inside the doctor’s office, and other devices placed over the head.
This type of treatment isn’t without its detractors, as some doctors maintain light doesn’t affect the scalp. However this is up for debate, and is best left up to the individual user to decide for him or herself.