Red Light Therapy: Hair Loss A Possibility?
Is Hair Loss Tied to Red Light Treatment?
Thinning hair and hair loss affect men, women, and children. It can affect the entire body or just a localized region such as the scalp. It may be caused by several factors but it commonly results from genetic factors, medical conditions or hormonal changes. It can be distressing and leads to a lower self-esteem.
After all, our hair is our crowning glory, without it, it seems we are left vulnerable and self-conscious. Kudos to other people who rock the bald look, but let’s be honest, not everyone looks good with a shiny head.
Other people may opt to cover it up or get treatments to restore hair growth or prevent further hair loss. Others prefer an alternative solution to restore their full head of hair.
What causes hair loss?
Before discussing solutions to hair loss or thinning hair, it is important to discuss what causes hair loss in the first place. Like mentioned earlier, thinning hair, baldness, or hair loss may be caused by different factors. Here are some of them:
Genes greatly affect hair Loss and baldness - Male pattern baldness is a result of the blend of genes and the male hormones that usually gives the classic M-shaped hairline. Androgenic alopecia or female pattern baldness is also the result of genes. If you have a family history of thinning hair, don’t be surprised if one day you are greeted with a receding hairline or a very thin or limp hair.
Physical Stress - is also a common culprit as to why people experience hair loss. If you have been to an accident, an illness or a surgery, chances are you will experience temporary hair loss.
Pregnancy may also cause hair loss due to the physical stress that labor brings plus the hormonal changes the body experience during pregnancy. You may correct hair loss and will continue growing your locks and experience less thinning or hair fall once you regained your health. Emotional Stress like a sudden death, illness or stress from work may result in severe hair loss or hair fall as well.
Nutrition plays a part too. A low-protein diet may compromise your hair health. Our hair is made up of proteins and without this compound, our body’s ability to repair and form a healthy hair is impeded. Too much consumption of vitamin A may also cause hair loss.
Hormonal problems - Women who take birth control pills may experience hair loss due to the hormonal changes that take place when using this type of medication. Like mentioned earlier, pregnancy may also cause hair thinning due to the hormonal changes that take place in the woman’s body. Thyroid problems may also lead to hair loss and thinning hair due to the inadequate production of hormones in the body. PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome also cause hair loss because of hormonal issues. Menopausal women also experience hair loss due to the erratic hormone levels in the body.
Diseases and Illness may also take part in your hair health. Auto-immune diseases may cause hair loss because the immune system sees the hair as a foreign body and attacks the hair by mistake. Cancer treatment like chemotherapy also causes hair loss. This treatment is designed to target rapidly dividing cancer cells however, it also targets the cells that form the hair.
Over-styling the hair may also cause hair loss. Using harsh styling products, hot irons, and chemicals may damage the hair and impede hair growth. Some also cause chemical burns that kill hair follicles permanently.
Trichotillomania or the unstoppable urge to pick and pull out the hair will also lead to baldness or hair loss if it goes uncontrolled.
Aging is the inevitable cause of hair loss. It is common to see older people go bald or have a limp hair due to advanced age.
What are the treatment options we have for hair loss?
Minoxidil is an over the counter treatment for hair loss. There is also hair re-growing shampoos and conditioner that are available in the market containing this active ingredient.
Finasteride is a drug available for men to address hair loss. Talk to your doctor if this is something that you will benefit from.
Hair transplant and restoration may also work to regain a full head of hair. However, it may be expensive and painful. Discuss with your doctor or a health professional before undergoing this kind of procedure.
Wigs and hairpieces may give you back the confidence to face the world. There are a lot of hairstyles and hair colors to choose from. You may rock a different hairstyle every day if you like.
An alternative treatment for hair loss includes the use of red light therapy. This non-invasive treatment appeals to most people because it is painless, less expensive and can be used for other conditions like pain management, anti-aging and reversing sun damage.
How can Red Light Therapy help grow hair back?
Since NASA conducted the study to the many medical benefits of red light therapy, many people have been amazed by the power of red light. Not only is it used to heal wounds, alleviate joint pain, and reverse sun damage, it is also proven to help restore hair growth. As long as the light emits wavelengths between 630-670 nm, it will definitely aid in correcting and treating hair loss. It doesn’t have to be a laser device, as long as it operates and emits the necessary wavelength of red light, it will aid in hair growth.
Red light is absorbed by the hair follicles and can stimulate the growth of hair. The light must be absorbed by the hair follicles for the natural biological reaction to occur. An intracellular enzyme called Cytochrome C is responsible for absorbing the red light. This enzyme is also responsible for stimulating the hair follicles to send signals to promote gene activity and lower the cell death as regulated by the genes.
Will red light therapy cause hair to grow in other unwanted places?
Red light therapy can stimulate hair growth but it cannot grow hair in places where it has never existed. It can improve the quality of the hair that grows by increasing the blood supply to the area, making sure that the growing hair is getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy.
Red light therapy has many other benefits including increasing the production of collagen as an anti-aging defense.
Is this FDA approved?
The first FDA-approved hand-held Low-Level Laser Therapy device for the treatment of hair loss came out in January 2007. This device was specific to be used for male pattern hair loss with a wavelength of 635 nm. In 2009, the FDA gave its approval to a similar device that could treat alopecia in both men and women with a wavelength of 655 nm. Most LED devices have FDA approval for being a cosmetic device. These companies still have to process and perform studies to get an approval for being a medical device. As of the moment, the FDA approved laser devices only in the treatment of hair loss.
Will Red Light Therapy work for all types or causes of hair loss?
Depending on the cause of hair loss, the mode of treatment will vary as well. No known therapy will work for all forms of hair loss, as there is no one-size fits all treatment for it. For example, if you are having hair loss because of a certain medication, you will not stop losing your hair unless you stop using that specific medication.
Moreover, the earlier a treatment is started, the better the chances of success through its use. There isn’t much that can be done to resurrect a hair follicle once it has died, much like when brain cells die. Therefore, it is suggested that when using any treatment for hair loss, beginning early will be critical to optimal success. The primary target of Low-Level Laser Therapy and red light hair loss therapies are people who have temporarily lost their hair due to issues such as emotional and physical stress, medication side effects, or other conditions, such as male pattern baldness or menopause.
What are the side effects of using Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy using LED is a non-invasive treatment and there are no studies or any reports of negative side effects or pain when the devices are used accordingly. Follow manufacturer's directions or instructions in using the device.
How fast can you see results?
Wait two to three months to see significant results. This is not an overnight process. Although hair cells typically divide and generate fast, it will not be an overnight process. Stop stressing out and let your body do its work. You didn’t lose your hair overnight, it’s not going to grow back overnight either. Although, what it might do overnight is stop falling out, which is a great start.
Red light therapy produces oxygen as a byproduct of its process. Use a daily topical antioxidant for the scalp to lead to faster and better results.
How long do I need to bask under the red light?
This will depend on the type of device you use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not over bake. Longer treatment times do not necessarily mean it will yield better results. You do not need to spend an hour or so under the light in the hopes that your hair will grow faster. Be patient.