How To Use Red light Therapy For Hair Growth
Overall, hair loss can affect one's self-confidence. From an early age, we've become used to our identity with hair. Think about it — people with hair experience good hair days and bad ones, which can play a huge factor in their overall mood and confidence that day.
For some people, our hair isn't here to stay, and whether it's due to genetics, disease, hormonal imbalance, poor nutrition, or stress, hair loss can be devastating.
There is no cure for baldness. However, some treatments exist to help you keep the hair you have and improve its strength and quality. One of the therapies gaining a significant amount of attention as a non-invasive and natural treatment is red light therapy or low-level laser therapy.
In this article, we'll investigate the factors that may lead to hair loss, treatment options for hair loss, and how you can use red light therapy to support hair growth.
What Causes Hair Loss?
For many of us, thinning hair, bald spots, and receding hairlines is a worry that begins as soon as we enter adulthood. While it's common to lose up to 100 hairs a day, losing more than this may indicate hair loss.
There are many theories floating around about how stress and lifestyle habits (over-washing, styling products, or wearing hats) can make your hair fall out — but there's not much evidence to substantiate these proposed culprits.
The most common factor that indicates hair loss is genetic. Studies have found that twins will notice changes in their hair growth at about the same age and in the same pattern .
But hair loss can also come about due to hormonal changes, disease, or extremely high-stress levels. If you're experiencing hair loss, you should visit your doctor, who will conduct a physical exam and may order tests to diagnose the root of your hair loss.
What Are The Current Treatment Options To Combat Hair Loss?
The two common medications used to treat hair loss are Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, and Finasteride marketed as Propecia.
Rogaine is an over-the-counter topical scalp treatment for those experiencing hereditary hair loss. It works by partially enlarging hair follicles to expand the growth phase of hair. It's mostly used to encourage hair growth at the top and the back of the scalp to create fullness, but it's highly unlikely you will regain all your hair back.
Propecia is a prescription-only oral medication for men to address male pattern baldness. The drug works by inhibiting the release of the hormone dihydrotestosterone responsible for shrinking hair follicles that cause hair loss.
The trouble with these treatments is that they're not always effective, and they come with a long list of adverse effects. Some of the side effects of Rogaine include severe scalp irritation, unwanted facial hair growth, chest pain, swelling, low blood pressure, and headaches.
Because Propecia interacts with the balance of your hormone levels, some of the effects may include impotence, decreased libido, inability to orgasm, abnormal ejaculation, weight gain, and increased risk of male breast cancer.
The good news is that the side effects subside when you stop taking the medication. However, now you're back at square one, trying to find a solution to hair growth.
Hair implants are a surgical procedure where hair follicles from a fuller part of your scalp are removed and grafted to your scalp's balding section.
The success rate of hair implants is much higher than prescription options, but it can cost anywhere from $4,000–$15,000, and most insurance plans do not cover it.
The successfully transplanted hair will grow back in the area in a few months, but it's susceptible to thinning out again over time.
Biomodulation/ Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Biomodulation, specifically red light therapy, uses specific light wavelengths to stimulate the scalp tissues' cells to encourage hair growth.
Red light (660 nm) and near-infrared light (850 nm) have special wavelengths that allow photons (light energy) to penetrate through the skin to be absorbed by cells to promote enhanced cell function and rejuvenation .
The theory supporting low-level laser therapy is that the light stimulates the mitochondria in the cells to produce more ATP energy and activates specific gene expressions related to protein synthesis, cell migration, and anti-inflammatory signaling, which can support hair regrowth .
Among the three treatment options for hair loss, red light therapy is well-tolerated and safe to use daily without any severe side-effects. Unlike transplant surgery, LLLT is non-invasive and does not require any downtime after treatment.
Red light therapy shows promising results for increasing hair growth over 16 weeks — a study observed that 41 male participants within the ages of 18–48 had a 39% increase in hair growth .
What Are The Advantages Of Using Red Light Therapy For Hair Growth?
With red light therapy treatments, there's no need to go under the knife. Light therapy is pain-free and doesn't leave you with nasty side-effects like many hair growth medications.
LED light therapy machines deliver concentrated red and near-infrared wavelengths that we naturally receive from the sun to your skin without using harmful chemicals, excess heat, or UV rays to enhance cellular function.
It Improves The Health Of Your Scalp And Hair
The mitochondria of our cells are light-sensitive. Like how plant leaves convert sunlight into energy, our mitochondria are stimulated by certain light to produce more ATP. Every cellular function requires ATP. With more ATP, the cells become faster at growth and renewal.
Studies conducted on male and female participants observed significant improvements in hair strength and thickness as a result of low-level laser therapy .
There Are Virtually No Side Effects
Red light therapy is completely safe to use daily as long as you're not on certain medications. It's well tolerated because the processes involved in red light therapy are completely natural.
Our natural source of red and near-infrared wavelengths is the sun. However, we're exposed to harmful UV and UVB radiation from natural sunlight. High-powered laser and LED devices that emit red light and near-infrared light stimulate our cells without any risk of sun damage or burns.
Frequently Asked Questions About Red Light Therapy For Healthy Hair
Can red light therapy cause hair loss?
Red light therapy will not cause hair loss. The treatment is well-tolerated and has been shown to improve hair growth in hair follicles, meaning it won't grow hair where hair follicles aren't present.
How many sessions of red light therapy does it take to see results?
Red light therapy encourages the body's natural growth processes at a cellular level. In the best cases, people have seen improvements in their hair quality in as little as 16-weeks. The best results come from 1–3 daily red light therapy sessions for 15–20 minutes.
What is the most effective at-home red light therapy device?
In-clinic low-level laser therapy can start at $50–$100 per session, making it a costly treatment plan. At home-devices provide a much more affordable and convenient option for many people. However, not all red light therapy devices on the market will produce the same level of effects.
You want to make sure that your device emits both red-light AND near-infrared light at a high enough density of at least 100 to 200 mW/cm² for the photons to penetrate the skin effectively.
Koze red light therapy devices combine both red light and near infra-red light in powerful LED devices at an optical radiance of >100 mW/cm2. They're easy and safe to use and at home, but you'll also find many Koze devices at professional clinics because of it's quality.
The Koze line-up of red light therapy devices are the only FDA Listed Class 2 Medical Devices backed with a 60-day trial period.
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How To Use A Red Light Therapy Device At Home
The most cost-effective way to benefit from red light therapy is with a high-quality at-home device. Consistent application is key to see the results in hair growth.
The KOZE LED panels combined red light and near-infrared light at an effective optical radiance to give you the best results from your at-home light therapy treatments.
We recommend that first-time users start with up to 2 minutes of daily exposure before building up to 10–15 minutes of daily use. You can either sit away from the device or hold the handheld KOZE Mini 6–12 inches away from your scalp.
You can use the KOZE LED Red Light Therapy Devices daily up to three times per day.
Hair growth doesn't happen overnight, and everyone's hair grows at different rates. As long as you stay consistent and patient, you should see results in your hair's quality in several months.
The Takeaway: Red Light Therapy For Hair Growth
Many factors may contribute to hair loss from genetics, stress levels, and disease. Regardless of the reason, experiencing hair loss can be crushing, which is why millions of people seek out treatments to prevent hair loss or regrow the luscious locks they've once had.
While there are prescription and surgical treatments available to restore hair, they're not always ideal options as they often come with a list of negative side-effects or can cost thousands of dollars without guaranteeing that the hair will stay a thick as the initial implants.
Red light therapy has shown promising results for improving hair quality and growth without any adverse effects. And with the emergence of studies, more and more at-home therapy devices are becoming more available. However, not all red light therapy devices are made the same.
Often cheap and inexpensive brands aren't strong enough to penetrate through the top layers of skin to reach the cells that stimulate hair growth. Look for brands that specifically indicate hair growth for use and provide detailed instructions on how to use their products effectively.
If you're looking to learn more about using red light therapy at home to improve your skin, increase recovery, and more, be sure to check out more blog posts like this and our line of Koze Light Therapy Devices.