It is 15 years since the first FDA approved LED light therapy device hit the market, to a largely underwhelmed public. Light therapy for hair loss has come a long way since then, we take a closer look.
LED Light For Hair Removal
It may have been forgotten by many, but the first use of light therapy for hair was for its removal. Hair removal lasers were a popular treatment at the time and using light therapy to fight hair loss was a distant dream. Unfortunately, for some, these early machines were underpowered. Used at low settings they struggled to remove hair. In fact, when those underpowered devices were used at low settings a remarkable discovery was made.
Unexpected Hair Growth
A series of court cases featuring unhappy clients of laser hair removal services caught the attention of the hair loss industry. They were in court because instead of removing their hair the treatment had actually encouraged more hair to grow.
This hitherto unknown attribute of laser light naturally attracted the attention of the hair loss industry. Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) lasers were introduced and quickly got FDA approval for use in hair growth.
Despite much fanfare and high expectations, those early devices were not up to much. It turns out the FDA approval for devices like this is much less demanding than for drugs. Users of those early devices were almost universally disappointed in the results. For those users, the experience was that, rather than growing new hair, they continued to lose hair during treatment. It is probably fair to say, despite many advances, the technology has suffered from a reputation gained during that early period.
Hair Loss Light Therapy Study
One company, PhotonMD, decided that the technology had evolved sufficiently in the 15 years since its introduction. They put one of their products, a laser cap designed for home use, through a double-blind clinical trial of the sort usually reserved for testing new drugs.
Their study achieved a couple of important milestones. They proved the safety of the devices revealing that not a single patient had to withdraw from the trial due to any adverse effects. Adult men and women on the trial were required to wear the cap for 10 minutes a day for up to 26 weeks. Others wore a placebo cap and followed the same procedure.
The results showed that the 18 patients who wore the active cap added 21.3 additional hairs per sq cm. This was above the target set for the study by PhotonMD.
The Hair Ambulance
The work of PhotonMD testifies to the efficacy of LLLT lasers in the fight against hair loss. Maybe not as a sole tool in that fight though, 21.3 hairs might not be that noticeable in reality. But it needs to be balanced against the fact that the 18 patients who wore the placebo cap all continued losing hair.
PhotonMD themselves point out the limitations of this study. They only studied one cap in their range, with no variation in the treatment at 10 minutes a day across the study group.
The results do prove the value of LLLT lasers as part of a wider, appropriate for you, strategy. What is needed is an expert consultation to identify the precise causes of your hair loss. Only once that is delivered can a meaningful course of treatment be prescribed.
The Hair Ambulance brings world-leading hair loss solutions to your door. Hair loss is no longer inevitable. Use the contact form here to either arrange a home visit or book a consultation at one of our private hair loss clinics. Early intervention is a necessity. Do not delay if you are concerned about your hair loss.