Does Low-Level Laser Therapy Work for Female Hair Loss?

The human head loses about 100 hairs each day. The longer strands are found all over the house. They clog vacuum cleaners and show up in your laundry. But some women lose significantly more than their 100-hairs-per-day average.

When you’re suffering from female hair loss, the search for a cure can feel all-consuming. You simply don’t feel like yourself when you’re losing hair at a rate faster than all your friends and family. Thankfully, there are a few effective solutions, including low-level laser therapy (LLLT).

LLLT Explained

Laser therapies are part of an emerging branch of medicine. Low-level light therapy is the use of low-power lasers that emit LEDs rather than heat. Because it’s low power, it can’t destroy tissue, but it can stimulate cell function. It’s used to relieve pain for illnesses like carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also commonly used for those undergoing chemotherapy to prevent infection during stem cell transplants.

LLLT was reserved primarily for treating serious illnesses until the 1960s, when a Hungarian surgeon named Endre Mester accidentally used low-level ruby laser light to regrow hair. He was attempting to reduce tumors in mice, but a problem with the laser caused the hair to grow back on areas where he had previously shaved the mice’s hair.

Now, LLLT is seen as a common and effective treatment for hair loss. The treatment can be done in an office, but the more convenient method is to purchase a laser hair cap system that you can wear inconspicuously while it works. 

LLLT for Female Pattern Hair Loss

You might be worried that this system won’t work for female pattern baldness, which can feel different than male pattern baldness. However, a 2014 study showed that low-level light therapy was just as effective for women as it was for men.

In both men and women, the average LLLT treatment resulted in a 39 percent increase in hair growth within 16 weeks, according to a 2013 study. The study observed the reactions of hair follicles in individuals aged 18 to 48.

The Benefits of Using LLLT for Female Hair Loss

There are many reasons to use LLLT to treat your female pattern hair loss. Here are some of the most compelling:

  • Noninvasive: Many procedures are painful or simply uncomfortable. You’ll have to endure surgery and the recovery period that follows. LLLT requires no prep work, no surgery, and no recovery time. It can be done in your spare time.
  • Inconspicuous: With LLLT hair caps, you can treat your hair loss without anyone knowing. Trips to clinics that use LLLT procedures also don’t raise questions because there’s no prep and no recovery.
  • Painless: You’ll barely notice the laser therapy. It’s completely painless, and the lasers are cold, so you won’t feel a thing.
  • No Side Effects: Based on current research, there are no side effects to LLLT. It stimulates the cell hormones without leaving a single negative trace.

The Cons of Using LLLT

Like any medical procedure, it’s not for everyone. Speak with your doctor to fully understand the negative side of LLLT for hair loss. Here are some things your physician might bring up:

  • Time Consuming: LLLT treatments require a commitment to the treatment, and you’ll likely have to continue for several weeks. However, with effective hair cap systems, all that’s required is 30 minutes every other day, and you can do it while you sleep, watch TV, eat, or perform other activities.
  • Expensive: The prices for LLLT treatments are coming down, but they’re still pricey. It’s typically less expensive than plugs or other hair replacement procedures, but it will set you back a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Your health savings account may help cover the costs, however.
  • Not Effective for Everyone: The treatment is not always effective if your hair loss is in the advanced stages. It’s most effective when used in the early stages of hair loss, and it continues to be so with consistent use.

Overall: LLLT Is Effective and Recommended for Female Pattern Hair Loss 

It’s important to consider the pros and cons before using any treatment for your hair loss, but LLLT is effective for most people. Always discuss your options with a doctor who can help you make the right decision.

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