Have you been diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia? It’s a condition that affects about 50% of men and women in the U.S. to some degree.
Also known as male or female pattern baldness, this condition can be driven by genetics, hormones, and other factors. In some it can start soon after puberty. In others, it presents later in life. It can result in significant hair loss usually along the front and top of the scalp with the sides and lower part of the scalp being more resistant to the hair loss. That is why it is often called “patterned”. Thus, if you start noticing it, it is important to seek care early to determine if there are treatment options that could be right for you to help prevent further hair loss.
There are many potential treatment options for androgenetic alopecia. Using red light therapy for patterned hair loss is one of them. It can be a great option for those who want a more natural approach or in combination with other therapies such as medications.
Are you interested in possibly giving red light therapy a try to combat hair loss? Before you do, you should learn more about it and find out how it works.
Continue reading to get information on using red light therapy for hair loss. Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting any at home treatments including red light therapy.
What Is Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss?
If you’re entertaining the idea of investing in red light therapy for hair loss, start by discovering more about what it is. It’s a treatment option for androgenetic alopecia that was first cleared by the FDA back in 2007.
Red light therapy for hair loss is also commonly called low-level light therapy for hair loss. But many people refer to it as red light therapy because it relies on red visible light usually set at somewhere between 630 and 670 nm to treat hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia.
There are many different types of red light devices including caps, helmets, combs, bands, wands, etc. All of these devices are considered red light therapy.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
This red visible light has a number of downstream physiologic changes, better known as photobiomodulation. Some of these changes include:
- Increased metabolism of cells
- Improved blood flow
- Less oxidative stress
- Alterations in hair growth
- Fewer inflammatory mediators
The hope is that, by causing these types of changes, this will benefit the health of the scalp and hair follicles leading to improvement in hair loss. However, just as with other hair loss treatments, results vary and it does not work for everyone. This is why it can be best to discuss various options appropriate in your case with a doctor specializing in hair loss.
Does Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss Work?
Red light therapy is still a newer treatment option. There are many studies being done on it. Another thing to note is that there are numerous devices using different technologies, so it is important to see if the device you are considering has studies on effectiveness.
Many of the studies that have been done thus far have suggested it could be an effective hair loss treatment for males and female with patterned hair loss. One 2013 study of a particular device found that men between the ages of 18 and 48 were able to increase their hair growth by almost 40% by using red light therapy.
In general, when data from studies on red light therapy with different devices are pooled together in meta-analyses, it is shown that red light therapy overall is potentially effective for androgenetic alopecia.
The best type of device, wavelength, duration, and other parameters for the most effective red light therapy still need to be studied. In the coming years and decades, we hope that with ongoing studies it will be better understood what parameters are most ideal for the best results possible.
One thing to note is that the FDA clearance for the devices that are cleared by the FDA are for Fitzpatrick skin types I-IV. If you are Fitzpatrick skin type V or above, it is important to see if the device you are considering has any studies in these darker skin types and to understand use in your skin type would be considering off label.
Just as with all other therapies, everyone’s body is different and can respond differently and results vary. It is important to always discuss starting an at home treatment such as red light therapy with your doctor prior to starting.
What Are the Benefits of Using Red Light Therapy?
The biggest potential benefit of using red light therapy for hair loss is that it may help you stabilize or improve patterned hair loss.
Some other pros of red light therapy compared to other hair loss treatments include the following:
- It’s non-invasive
- It can be performed at home and does not require in-office visits to have the treatment
- It’s generally well tolerated
Generally red light therapy is well tolerated; however, if you develop any redness, irritation, burning, itching of your scalp, other scalp symptoms, headache, other symptoms, or worsening of your hair loss, make sure to discuss this with your doctor as it may be advised to stop using the red light device.
What Are the Downsides of Using Red Light Therapy?
The red light devices often require a financial investment. This should be considered when weighing this as an option.
Another downside is that you do have to use the device consistently to have the best possible results. Keep the need for compliance with using the device in mind before purchasing a device. Read on to see some ideas on how to set yourself up for success compliance wise. It is important to consider compliance ahead of time.
It can also take time to see results (such as 6-12 months). Keep this in mind as many people expect immediate results. It is often helpful to see a hair loss specialist who can take photographs or have someone take photos of your scalp at home, so that you can track your progress over time.
Additionally, just as with other hair loss treatments, the results vary between individuals. Some devices may offer guarantees in the case that you do not respond to their device.
The evidence on the effectiveness of red light therapy is also mostly in androgenetic alopecia. Studies on other types of hair loss are more limited.
These are some of the things to consider among others. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new at home treatment including red light therapy.
How Can You Increase the Chances of Red Light Therapy Working?
As we just alluded to, there isn’t any guarantee that red light therapy for hair loss will work for you. There may, however, be steps you can take to improve the chances of it producing results.
For instance, you can get the best results possible by using your red light therapy device as often as you’re supposed to. If you start skipping treatments, it can start to affect the outcome.
You can also improve the odds of red light therapy working by choosing a device you are most likely to be compliant with. For example, if you purchase a device such as a wand, band, or comb that will require you to move around the device to treat different areas of your scalp, this may make it more difficult to stay compliant with the device. Caps or helmets often treat the entire area without having to move around the device. Additionally consider the recommended duration and frequency. Many devices will be 6-10 minutes daily, and others are often 20-30 minutes 2-3 times per week. For many people it is easier to make a shorter daily habit than a longer less frequent habit. For others such as those who travel frequently on weekends, they may prefer a 2-3 time per week device.
But above all else, you should always speak with an experienced hair loss clinic to make sure red light therapy would truly be your best option. There may be other options that might work better for you depending on your specific situation. They may also recommend other therapies in addition to red light therapy.
Who Should You Trust to Discuss Red Light Therapy for Your Hair Loss?
Are you still interested in the idea of learning more about red light therapy and other treatments for your for hair loss after hearing all about it? You’ll need to find a hair loss clinic you can rely on to provide you with the education and services you’ll need.
This might be easier said than done. Large percentages of men and women are losing their hair these days, and it has led to a spike in the total number of hair loss clinics.
For this reason, you should conduct a complete search for hair loss clinics in your area and pick the best option of the bunch. Here are some things you’ll want to look for in a hair loss clinic:
- They focus on and specialize in hair loss
- Their doctors are experts who stay up to date on the latest treatments
- It provides education on numerous hair loss treatments including red light therapy
- It has a stellar reputation within its community
- It can show before and after photos that show its treatments really can work
- It works with you to find the best hair loss treatment after conducting a thorough examination
A hair loss clinic like Root Hair Institute can check all the right boxes for you. We can tell you more about using red light therapy for hair loss and speak with you about the other hair loss options you might have. Our doctors will take the time to educate you to help you make the right decision in the end and put you in a position to get the best possible results.
We’re proud to serve those in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, and other parts of Washington. We also routinely see patients from the Vancouver, BC area and beyond.
Contact Us for More Information on Low-Level Light Therapy
Has androgenetic alopecia stolen some of your self-confidence? Do you find yourself reaching for a hat when you walk out of the house most of the time to cover your head? Do you wish there was something you could do to regrow your hair?
Red light therapy for hair loss could be the perfect treatment for you. Root Hair Institute can discussed low-level light therapy as well as other treatment options that may be appropriate in your case so that you can make the decision that is best for you.
Touch base with us today to schedule a hair restoration consultation.