How Does Low Level or Cold Laser Therapy Work?
If you’ve been researching hair loss treatments, there’s a strong chance you’ve heard plenty about low level laser therapy. Sometimes called cold laser therapy, the treatment is an established area of medical science, and the techniques used in it are being applied to hair loss with great success. But how does it work, and is the laser as scary as it sounds? Let’s take a look.
The theory behind LLLT is a deceptively simple one. Put at its most basic, LLLT uses light at specific wavelengths creates a photochemical response, much like photosynthesis in plants. Unlike surgical or aesthetic lasers, low level laser therapy doesn’t induce heating in tissue in order to burn or cut. Instead, it uses light to cause photochemical reactions in cell membranes, cellular organelles and enzymes.
Damaged cells respond better than healthy cells to photochemical reactions, so that short treatments with low level light on damaged tissues can create a chain of physiological reactions to enhance wound healing, boost tissue regeneration, cut inflammation and much more. These kinds of treatments, far from being on the fringes of accepted science, are utilised by some of the most results driven industries in the world. Both the US and UK Army are frequent users of the technique, as are some of the biggest sporting establishments in the UK like Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
When it comes to hair loss, LLLT has also shown some terrific results. A clinical trial into the efficacy of LLLT as a hair loss treatment showed that in controlled clinical trials, LLLT “stimulated hair growth in both men and women” who had androgenic alopecia – amongst the most common forms of hair loss around the world. The scientists suggest that the reason for this it that the light stimulates your epidermal stem cells in the hair follicle bulge and shifts them into the anagen (growth) phase. Their ultimate conclusion is that LLLT for hair growth in both men and women is both safe and effective.
Different wave lengths and laser colours are used for different purposes. Red light is used to stimulate hair growth in humans, and it has also been shown experimentally to melt fat cells. Low level infrared light has been shown to enhance the recuperation of stroke victims as well as to enhance nerve regeneration in spinal cord injuries. Although these uses are somewhat disputed, it’s clear that LLLT is an extremely promising area of modern science.
In a world where hair loss treatments are often disputed, it’s a rare and refreshing thing to see scientists rally behind one treatment. That treatment is low level light therapy, and perhaps best of all, it’s been shown to have remarkably few side effects over 50 years of usage in treatments for various conditions.