Category Archives: LLLT

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for Hair Loss

HairMax LaserComb LLLT
Low-Level Laser Therapy with HairMax LaserComb.

Until several years ago, I used to be a skeptic when it comes to low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for hair loss. This is not to say that I felt there was zero logic in using lasers to treat scalp hair loss.

In fact, for years, I have heard of laser body hair removal causing the unwanted and opposite side effect of laser hair growth stimulation in some people. A phenomenon termed as paradoxical hypertrichosis. Affecting 3 percent of hair removal patients per a recent study.

However, I felt that the benefits of LLLT aka photobiomodulation (PBM) on scalp hair are modest at best. Lasers used for body hair removal at clinics are far more powerful and different from those used to treat scalp hair loss. Even less powerful at-home laser hair removal devices are often stronger than those used to treat scalp hair loss.

Updated: April 13, 2022

New Studies on LLLT for Hair Loss

Since I first wrote this post, a number of new studies in support of low-level laser light therapy for hair growth have been published.

  • An April 2022 study from China finds that low-level laser treatment promotes skin wound healing in mice by activating hair follicle stem cells. I always think of LLLT and wounding as somewhat overlapping in concept.
  • A December 2021 study from China found hair growth promoting effects from 650 nm red light stimulation.
  • September 2021 findings from Dr. Gentile of Italy: “All the articles selected and analyzed reported a positive effect of LLLT for MPHL and/or FPHL treatment without side effects”.
  • A May 2021 study concluded that low-level light therapy downregulates scalp inflammatory biomarkers in men with androgenetic alopecia. Moreover, LLLT also boosts the effectiveness of Minoxidil on hair growth. Note that this research was conducted in France by the reputable L’Oréal.
  • Also from May 2021, yet more findings that photobiomodulation therapy activates β-Catenin in hair follicle stem cells.
  • A 2020 literature review of ten controlled clinical trials concludes that LLLT appears to be safe and effective for treating pattern hair loss in both men and women. However, the authors caution that some studies “have a relationship with the industry”.
  • According to this summary, as of September 2020 there were 66 LLLT devices registered with the US FDA.
  • A 2019 study from Thailand conducted proteomic analysis of dermal papilla cells before and after treatment with low-level laser therapy. The analysis revealed 11 up-regulated and 2 down-regulated proteins in LLLT treated DP cells compared with baseline.

Also of note, at the recent 2022 AAD conference, there was a session on Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy and hair growth. One of the items of discussion pertained to the use of LLLT in combination with PRP.

Low-Level Laser Therapy Wavelengths

The lasers that are used in LLLT typically have a wavelength of anywhere between 600 to 900 nanometers (nm). Anything below 600 nm tends to work less effectively. However, one study found lower wavelength blue light (453 nm) to be more effective.

The bestselling laser hair growth devices all use wavelengths of red or near-infrared light (i.e., around 650 nm). Of note, a study from South Korea found that a higher wavelength of 830 nm gave the best results (albeit in mice). For more on this subject, see my posts on low level laser therapy for hair loss wavelengths. Also check out my post on the use of higher wavelength fractional lasers for stimulating hair growth.

LLLT Debate

This old debate from 2008 between Dr. Feller and Dr. Bauman is quite interesting. Dr. Bauman was also part of a now famous 2004/2005 Dateline NBC show that followed 5 patients on different treatment protocols. The HairMax Lasercomb resulted in the most favorable (but not stellar) hair regrowth results. See patient “George” and his before and after photos at 8:10 onwards in this video:

Laser Devices for Hair Growth

Nowadays, numerous physicians support the use of FDA cleared at-home low-level laser devices for hair growth. The customer reviews for LLLT products typically average around 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

However, I would advise always looking at reviews with a critical eye. Only give credence to reviewers who have their names verified. Make sure to focus on those who have posted reviews of many different types of products over several years.

Revian Red Light Therapy for Hair Growth

Note that the Revian Red system is currently on sale on Amazon after coupon discount application. Regular price is $995 on their website. Average reviews for the Revian Red cap so far are 4/5.

Update: January 4, 2022 — Latest clinic trial update for central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia.

Update: January 21, 2020 — Revian Red got very positive and compelling hair growth in final clinical trial results. They used the same primary and secondary endpoints as were used in past finasteride and minoxidil studies. Itching and burning of the scalp was also reduced with device use.

Update: January 8, 2020 — Revian’s new parent company Know Bio product release article. The LED laser light wavelengths are a combination of 620 nanometers and 660 nanometers. Also, Revian received a USPTO patent No. 10,525,275 on the use of proprietary color combinations of light to regenerate living tissue in the body.

Update: September 2019September 2019 press release.

Quote from Dr. Rodney Sinclair:

“It took almost 20 years to work out the ideal wavelengths of light, the best fluence or ‘power’, how long the treatments should last and how often the treatments need to be repeated.”

Revian Red Laser
Revian Red Light Therapy for Hair Growth.

It has been a long time since I wrote a post on low level laser therapy (LLLT) to treat hair loss. Although a very controversial subject, there are a number of studies that suggest LLLT can benefit hair growth. There are nowadays many low-level laser devices to treat hair loss.

Almost always, laser therapy will not bring back hair in totally bald areas of the scalp. However, LLLT can make existing hair thicker according to many findings. The latest study in support of low level laser therapy for hair growth was published in Lasers in Medical Science in August 2019.

Revian Red

In April 2019, a new laser system for hair growth called Revian Red entered the market. It is manufactured by PhotonMD (North Carolina). Revian Red is FDA cleared for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in both men and women. Note the difference between FDA approved and FDA cleared.

Revian Red with Phone App
Revian Red with Smartphone Mobile App.

One of the more interesting aspects about Revian Red is that it is a wireless cap that comes with a phone app that you can use to take photos and track results. The app also reminds you of the 10 minutes per day treatment schedule.

Groundbreaking LED Technology

Also of interest, Revian Red is based on red light emitting diode (LED) technology, which is different from existing LLLT devices. See my past post on laser therapy for hair loss and wavelength. Red light wavelength ranges from 400 nm to 700 nm.

According to company CEO and device inventor Dr. Nathan Stasko, this LED technology is known as modulated light therapy (MLT). According to Dr. Stasko, Revian Red is the first FDA cleared all LED  hair growth product with supporting laboratory data. The latter shows that LED light penetrates the skin better than laser light at an identical fluence of 1J/cm2. Additionally the LEDs are lighter weight and deliver more light with less power, enabling the product to be cordless during its use. He further adds:

“Laser diodes used in LLLT and LEDs are different light sources. Lasers are coherent light, while LEDs are incoherent light with a wide viewing angle. The knock on LEDs was that they were not high power. That is true if you are referring to Christmas tree bulb semiconductor materials. But with the advancement of LEDs (that now even power car headlights), Revian Red devices are able to attain a high output in lumens/watts.”

Clinical Trials

Revian Red underwent clinical trials in Australia that were led my the famous dermatologist Rodney Sinclair. According to Revian’s own site, clinical trial results have been favorable and there are no significant side effects. However, the results are not as yet officially published, even though the trials were completed in May 2019.

Before Revian: Other Laser Devices

I have covered a number of other low level laser therapy devices on this blog in the past. These include combs, helmets and caps. You should check the reviews and ratings of all of the below before making a decision on which device to purchase.

The oldest of these FDA cleared lasers is the HairMax LaserComb, while the more recent of these is the Theradome Laser Helmet. Also cleared are the funky looking iGrow Laser Helmet; the iRestore Hair Growth System; and the Capillus Laser Therapy Cap.