Fractional Laser for Stimulating Hair Regrowth

I have discussed low level laser therapy (LLLT) on this site on numerous occasions. I was very skeptical about LLLT when it started becoming trendy a decade or so ago. However, one peculiar phenomenon did make me have a modest degree of faith in the potential of lasers to grow hair. This phenomenon was the fact that people who got laser hair removal on their body hair sometimes complained that the laser actually grew more body hair! This is referred to as paradoxical hair stimulation.

For those with a lot of body hair that they are trying to permanently reduce, this phenomenon is thankfully very rare :-) For those like myself who get excited about anything that grows more hair (even if on the body), this phenomenon is unfortunately very rare :-(

In any event, the lasers that are used for at-home LLLT are much less powerful than the lasers that are used for laser hair removal at clinics. Home use low level laser therapy products such as the HairMax LaserCombs 9 and 12 cost just several hundred dollars, while much more powerful high-end lasers that are used to remove body hair cost tens of thousands of dollars. The power settings on professional laser hair removal devices are also very high and can easily damage skin if you go to an inexperienced clinic.

Fractional Laser to Stimulate Hair Growth via Wounding

The reason I thought about lasers again this week is because several days ago an interesting article from Catholic University of Korea was published in the Lasers in Surgery and Medicine journal. The conclusion of this article was that ablative fractional lasers appear to be effective in inducing hair regrowth via activation of the Wnt/Beta-Catenin pathway (based on a study done on mice). I have discussed the Wnt/Beta-Catenin pathway in numerous posts on this blog before.

However, I have never mentioned ablative fractional lasers before. Neither have I ever mentioned non-ablative fractional lasers on this blog before. Here is some information on ablative versus non-ablative lasers and on fractional lasers. Also see this excellent overview from 2012 of all four types of lasers being implied here.

Apparently, even before this latest development, there have already been a few published journal articles from Asian researchers covering both ablative and non-ablative fractional lasers and their positive impact on hair growth. For example see:

  • Abstract 1: Enhancing hair follicle regeneration by non-ablative fractional laser:  Assessment of irradiation parameters and tissue response. [Laser wavelength was 1550 nm].
  • Abstract 2: The effect of a 1550 nm fractional erbium-glass laser in female pattern hair loss. [Note that the erbium is an ablative laser].
  • Abstract 3: Fractional photothermolysis laser treatment of male pattern hair loss. [Also using the 1550 nm ablative erbium laser].

In the latest South Korean study in mice, it was found that the most effective (ablative) laser dosage was “the 10 mJ/spot and 300 spots/cm2 setting”. Hopefully some of these scientists will soon conduct studies on humans to get the most effective dosage on us neglected Homo Sapiens.

It does seem like light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (LASER) can now legitimately be considered as a tool in the fight against hair loss. It is likely that in the years ahead, scientists will experiment with many newer lasers and with various duration and power settings. On both mice and humans, since we both look better with a plentiful fur or hair.

23 thoughts on “Fractional Laser for Stimulating Hair Regrowth”

  1. If anyone finds a link to the whole journal article, please post in the comments here. I did not see it on Google Scholar, probably because this is so new. One other link I found had the first page of the report available, but nothing more.

  2. Balding men with slope is androgenitica have itch and sensitivity in their scalp. We have discussed this on the comments section on your blog. It’s believed/proven/observed that there is a certain degree of fibrosis or scar tissue if you may on the balding areas. And we balding by the hair getting thinner and thinner . Perhaps propecia works so well to maintain vs regrow- it’s stops the fibros (which could be a natural defense mechanism of the body) but I can’t regrow as the fibrosis can’t be reversed. What if high intensity laser break up this fibrious tissue and allow hair to grow again in areas where propecia can combat alone.

    Everyone saw the episodes of the keeping up with the kardasians where Kloe gets laser therapy on her butt. Laser have been used to break up scar tissue and celulites among other things. It might even work in two ways- 1 break down of fibrosis and 2 wNt activation by wounding….

    Who knows… but it is definitelty worth a try.

    1. There are people who try and break up “calcification’.. “Fibrosis” and general clogging of the scalp network.. Via supplements and topicals i believe.. This is very interesting and i think you could be onto something. :)

    2. these lasers work by:

      non-ablative: disturbing the dermis (which includes fibrotic tissue if thats what is there)


      ablative: essentially vaporizing the first level of skin

      but these studies say it works by stimulating an immune/regeneration response, not so much just because the fibrotic tissue is vaporized

    3. My skin gets really sensitive in the areas that are thinning, especially on the back of my head where I rest it on my pillow. It gets to the point where it feels sunburnt and just generally raw. I found that with minoxidil, it no longer feels raw. However, I stopped taking minoxidil and started using propolis extract mixed with baby lotion and that works just as well as minoxidil did and when I made the switch, I didn’t lose any hair to telafluvium.

      I found that Ibuprofen 800mg worked for me as well. I also found that I can get the same results from Saw Palmetto extract. I think for the most part, I’ve halted my hairloss if not incredibly slowed it down but this is my daily routine:

      I take:
      Vitamin D
      Magnesium Citrate
      Green Tea Extract
      Cod Liver Gels
      Fish Oil Gels
      Flaxseed Gels

      During my morning shower:
      I’ll condition with a soy caffiene conditioner. leave it on while I shave and brush my teeth.
      After my morning shower:
      I’ll rub my propolis and baby lotion mixture all over my head and then apply a caffeine soy amplifying gel.

      so I think maybe you’re right about the scar tissue, but I also think it might cause inflamation and thats probably why Ibuprofen and Propolis and Saw Palmetto work.

  3. It doesn’t matter….Hair Cloning will be here in 4 or 5 years. Labs are working very hard. There is high demand on the subject of hair cloning. No demand for Propecia and Minoxidil since its effects are very limited and its side effects are remarkable. That’s all.

    1. Paul you live in a fantasy land. I suggest you start waking up – hair cloning is no where in the near future even if they perfected the technology the hoops of FDA and other entities’ approval will take year. Let alone the protest of the religious freaks.

      1. It’s called extremely atheistIc Japan. Lol you live under a rock, or you wotk for hairmax. It’s already being done for $100,000 in Switzerland. You are the weakest link, goodbye :)

      2. FDA only matters if your stuck in the us, and cloning will not be an option for the average income earner for quite some time!

      3. Yes, it’s near…It is much closer than many believe. You need to find another type of business. People who suffer hair loss WANT a real treatment. No craps that exist today.

        Regards Fbalding84

        1. All current treatments are shi&$t.

          For a full hair of hair I’ll gladly pay $100k including others that I know. If it is available in switersland I think someone should inform Prince William of Great Britain- he has the money and he is close.
          Or even better some soccer players will fly out in a whip. Please share with us this valuable information.

    2. Well, 4 or 5 years may be okay if your goal is investment in these companies… but for those needding the treatments, that is too long….

      If you’re 25 now, you’ll be 30 then… If you’re 26 now, you’ll be 31, etc. etc.

      of course, this is still between than being bald forever, but most peopl e want something that works now….

      and regenerating your entire head of follicles using a fractional laser may actually do that… if we can just test the damn thing on humans….

      These laser treatments are widely available (for face, etc.)… the lasers are unfortuatnely expensive so we wont see any DIY on forums… the only option is to contact an HT surgeon or Laser surgeon/clinic to try and get them to give it a try ASAP

  4. LLT and fractional/ablative lasers are apples and oranges…

    LLT works off of “stimulating” (supposedly)

    the new lasers studies work off of wounding… completely different and unrelated other than the word laser

    1. Yes of course, as is the case with LLLT versus hair removal lasers. Nevertheless, if one type of light/radiation works, it makes me slightly less skeptical of another type of light/radiation working. Irrespective of the wavelength and power differences, and irrespective of the differences in the actual biological way in which each works.

  5. Sorry to revisit this, but I just saw dr. Rapaport in NJ and I’m pretty sure he offers this. We got to talking about future treatments and what I’ve been on and off of and he said “you know what works for hair regrowth, but is expensive? Fractional laser”

    I’m going to call tomorrow and see just how much it is and maybe him and I can go about doing it.

    Also, If anyone is located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or New York and you want to see a derm who actually knows a bit and will prescribe off label to help you, check into him. He actually prescribed me oral minox if I want to try it. Good dude.

    I’ll report back after either trying the fractional laser or at least finding out the price.

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