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Low-level laser hair loss therapy is now recognized throughout Europe and in the USA as an effective treatment for most forms of hair loss, including male and female pattern baldness. The use of low-level laser therapy (LLLT), although shown in some studies to be effective in improving the thickness and fullness of hair on its own, is often combined with proven scalp and hair re-growth products for a full hair loss treatment program. Repeat treatments are required weekly for approximately 6 months, depending on the extent of hair loss. You will normally also be given specific hair care and hair re-growth products for at-home use, in combination with the laser therapy, to try and achieve the best results possible. Prices for laser hair loss therapy start from £45 per session. A full six month laser hair loss treatment program, including the combined hair care and re-growth products, such as Minoxidil or Finasteride, can start from £1,500.
The history of baldness cures that don’t involve some form of surgery can be summed up rather succinctly. From prehistory to the late 1980s, nothing worked. All baldness cures were figuratively and often literally snake oil.
Then came Minoxidil (marketed in the UK as Regaine®) followed quickly by Finasteride (marketed in the UK as Propecia®); see the hair loss drugs section. These products can prevent hair loss and in some cases, grow new hair.
Genes are behind most of the bald and thinning heads out there, male and female. You can inherit baldness from your mother or your father. Baldness is not passed only through the mother's side, a quick look at the countless number of bald fathers and sons will nullify this myth.
There are now a wide range of products, from custom hair replacement systems to laser hair loss therapy devices, (both in salon and at home hand-held comb devices) available on the market, which claim to provide a solution to hair loss.
The use of low-level laser therapy (LLLT), although shown in some studies to be effective in improving the thickness and fullness of hair on its own*, is often combined with proven scalp and hair re-growth products, (see the hair loss drugs section), for a full hair loss treatment program.
Low-level laser hair loss therapy is now recognized throughout Europe and in the United States as an effective treatment for most forms of hair loss, including male and female pattern baldness. It is suitable for anybody who is in the early stages of thinning.
If you are considering laser hair loss therapy the following information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure. It can't answer all your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the practitioner. Please ask a practitioner about anything you don't understand.
* Hair Regrowth and Increased Hair Tensile Strength Using the HairMax LaserComb for Low-Level Laser Therapy
John L. Satino and Michael Markou, D.O.
International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetic Dermatology, Volume 5, Number 2, 2003
In your first consultation with a practitioner, you should clearly explain your expectations of the laser hair loss therapy treatment. Your practitioner should then tell you whether this is the right treatment for you and whether it can achieve the results you’d like.
Make sure that you obtain as much information as necessary to enable you to make a fully informed decision about this procedure.
The practitioner should also ask for your medical history to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t undergo low-level laser treatment. At this point, you would also normally be asked to sign a consent form which means that you have understood the future benefits and possible risks associated with the procedure.
Photographs of the area to be treated may also be taken by the practitioner for a “before and after” comparison later.
During treatment the laser therapy machine sits over your head. The laser hood is a static device which holds a number of laser diodes. It looks exactly the same as a hooded dryer you see ladies sat under at the hairdressers. The diodes omit a specific wavelength and frequency of light, delivering low level light therapy to the hair follicles.
You do not feel anything at all under the machine and the session takes about 25 minutes.
Repeat treatments are required weekly for approximately 6 months, depending on the extent of hair loss.
As well as sessions under the laser device, you will normally also be given specific hair care and hair re-growth products for at-home use, in combination with the laser therapy, to try and achieve the best results possible.
Side Effects and Risks
Low-level laser hair loss therapy has been the subject of many years of research and development, and conforms to European standards and American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations for safety.
It is safe and painless with no known side effects.
Please see hair loss drugs for side effects where these are used in combination therapy with the low-level laser.
Who Can Do It
The laser hair loss therapy treatment should be carried out by a hair stylist or therapist who has experience and training in setting up and operating the equipment.
In the case of any hair-loss products used in combination with the treatment, please note, that Finasteride (UK brand name Propecia®) is a prescription drug and should only be available on prescription via a doctor.
The amount of therapy sessions required will depend on the extent of your hair loss, however practitioners normally recommend a six month treatment program for best results, with weekly visits to the clinic for laser treatment.
Prices for laser hair loss therapy start from £45 per session.
A full six month laser hair loss treatment program, including the combined hair care and re-growth products, such as Minoxidil or Finasteride, can start from £1,500.
Losing your hair can have a devastating psychological effect on a person, most especially women, knocking your self-confidence and potentially making you withdraw from your social life.
There are many treatments and procedures available on the market nowadays, which claim to offer a solution to hair loss; such as wigs, hair pieces, hair replacement systems, hair loss drugs, hair transplantation and scalp reduction and scalp flap surgery. However, many simply look unnatural, as they are unable to recreate a realistic hairline or require lengthy surgical procedures.
With advances in technology there are now low-level laser devices available which, in conjunction within proven hair loss drugs, have been shown to improve hair quality, making it fuller, shinier and thicker.
According to research, laser hair loss therapy treatment used alone, including some at-home devices can be effective in improving the general condition of the hair. However, most clinics advise clients that by using everything together, i.e. the laser in combination with hair loss drugs and hair care products, the best overall results can be achieved.
Before and After Pictures
Male hair at front of head before treatment and after treatment with Laser Therapy alone.
Male hair at back of head before treatment and after treatment with Laser Therapy alone.
Male hair at front of head before treatment and after Laser Therapy combined with Minoxodil and Scalp Scripts haircare products.
Female hair thinning before treatment and hair growth after treatment with Hairmax Laser Comb (at-home device) alone.
Images above courtesy of White Cliffs Group.
All before and after photographs are actual patients, your results may differ.