Category Archives: Low Level Laser Therapy

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 Amazon.com 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.

The Theradome Laser Helmet

Theradome PRO LH80 Laser Helmet
Theradome PRO LH80 Laser Helmet for Hair Growth.

You can purchase the wireless Theradome PRO LH80 laser hair growth helmet from Amazon after reading the reviews. Also available is the cheaper Theradome EVO LH40.

Both devices can be discounted when on sale. Make sure to also search for coupons expiring in 2020 and beyond.

Theradome Laser Helmet

Among the various laser hair growth devices and systems, the Theradome helmet stands out for its unique appearance. Other well known laser helmets include the iRestore and iGrow.  On this blog, I interviewed this product’s inventor Dr. Tamim Hamid in 2015.

Since the HairMax Lasercomb first became popular a decade ago, a number of new laser products and contraptions have entered the market. The Theradome (released in 2013) was the first one that received as much publicity. As of 2020, they now have two models that are discussed further below. More product details and historical information can be seen on the FAQ page on the company website. Also see their Instagram page and their Facebook page for regular updates.

Theradome Laser Helmet
Theradome Laser Helmet for Hair Growth.

Low-Level Laser Hair Growth Popularity

What really strikes me about low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is that so many people are willing to splurge for these devices. The proven benefits of LLLT when it comes to hair growth are limited. Even today, there are disputes about the appropriate wavelength of low-level laser devices.

Theradome raised close to half a million dollars via crowdfunding on Indiegogo in 2013. Quite surprising, considering that it was a new device with few ratings and reviews at the time. On the campaign home page, you can see a tab for number of founders, and the total is 1,266. The vast majority of those names are “anonymous” with no country of origin displayed.

All the people who bid $395 in the campaign were given a Theradome unit in return. The campaign’s initial funding goal was $50,000, which I thought as somewhat optimistic. Perhaps my opinion is clouded by seeing the weak results of numerous other kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns.

Theradome EVO LH40 vs. PRO LH80

As of 2020, there are two models of the Theradome available for purchase:

  1. Theradome PRO LH80 with 80 diodes. Priced at around $900. Use for 20 minutes per day, twice a week.
  2. Theradome EVO LH40 with 40 diodes. Price usually around $600. Use for 20 minutes per day, four times a week.

Reviews and Ratings

The Theradome PRO LH80 currently has 90 reviews on Amazon averaging 3.5 out of 5 stars. The Theradome EVO LH40 has 369 reviews on Costco’s website, averaging 4.1 out of 5 stars. Clinical trials for the PRO LH80 were completed in December 2016. On Ekomi, the average rating is 4.3/5, and I assume included both product models.

Theradome FDA Clearance

The Theradome laser is advertised as being the “First and Only FDA OTC Cleared Clinical Strength Laser Hair Therapy for Home Use”. It has been given FDA 510(k) clearance and is not likely to result in any serious side effects with correct use. The device comes with a 1-year warranty, and you can order replacement parts and batteries from the manufacturer.

For more information, see the manufacturer’s Youtube channel and Twitter.