Six Minute Hair Growth: Fact or Fiction?
by Dr. Alan J. Bauman, MD, IAHRS, FISHRS, ABHRS
For some, the idea of laser beams conjure up images of epic SciFi battle scenes. For others, lasers in medicine mean skin resurfacing or perhaps even hair removal. Today we see “lasers for hair regrowth” advertised in magazines, on TV and in our Facebook newsfeeds. Are these treatments for hair loss for real or is it just a gimmick… another bogus ‘snake oil’ treatment? How can lasers affect hair follicles or other parts of the body? Who is a candidate for laser hair therapy? Are there any side effects? What are the limitations of laser treatments for hair loss? How do I choose the best laser? How can I measure laser therapy results?
Low Level Lasers Explained
Far below the power required to blast away cancer cells, kill hair follicles – or evil aliens, for that matter – “Low Level Laser Therapy” is the use of non-cutting, non-burning or ‘cold’ lasers that impart energy to living cells without damaging them. Since their discovery in the 1960’s, low-level lasers have been proven to be an effective drug-free way to help heal wounds, relieve pain, increase circulation, decrease inflammation and provide a host of benefits to the human body and now we know why.
How Do Lasers Help Prevent Baldness?
First, it’s important to realize that all hair loss is not the same. “Alopecia,” the broad medical term for hair loss, can mean a huge variety of different medical conditions that decrease or eliminate hair follicle function causing everything from increased shedding to extensive baldness. When hair follicles, the mini-organs under the skin that produce your visible hair fibers, “fail,” there could be a wide range of causes which require accurate diagnosis and treatment by a hair loss specialist. If hair follicles are weakening, producing thinner, shorter and wispier hair, laser therapy may be an excellent non-drug, no side-effect option to improve hair growth. When low level laser energy is consistently applied with the correct power and regimen, improvements in hair growth can be easily measured and eventually felt and seen.
What Laser Device is Right for Me?
Today, laser hair therapy devices come in all shapes, sizes and costs. There are large,
in-office devices, at-home portable caps, helmet and dome-shaped devices as well as the consumer laser brushes, combs and “band” lasers. Each device may have different types or a combinations of light sources
(laser and non-laser), numbers of laser diodes, types of laser diodes, areas of coverage, treatment times as well as other factors that impact use such as comfort, size, weight, cord vs. cordless, etc. With so many laser devices FDA-cleared for hair regrowth in men and women, how can patients choose which device will work best? For our patients at Bauman Medical, we recommend exclusively devices that meet the following criteria:
- “Pure” laser - (no LEDs or non-laser light sources)
- Over 200 laser diodes for maximum coverage
- Cordless, rechargeable for portability
and ease of use
- FDA-cleared for hair growth
in men and women
- Hands-free (no movement or readjustment during treatment required)
- Discreet (fits under a standard baseball or other cap/hat for easy compliance)
The easiest way to understand the benefit of a “good quality” laser is the difference between watering your front lawn with a watering can versus an automatic sprinkler system… both theoretically can work, but one method requires significantly less time, effort and energy. When searching for laser device, know that like most electronic equipment (TV, stereo, car, etc.) you get what you pay for in terms of power, effectiveness and durability. A quality laser will last you a long time, and because it’s a one-time expense, laser therapy is actually your least costly hair loss treatment over the long-run. Therefore, it’s recommended to “stretch” a little when making this kind of long-term investment in your hair’s health and also make sure you measure and track your results over time with a qualified medical professional.
How Do I Know My Laser Is Working to Help Hair Growth?
Knowing what treatment will work best requires an accurate diagnosis, effective treatment regimen,
compliance with the regimen and routine follow-up tracking measurements. This is most easily accomplished with an in-office visit and consultation with board-certified Hair Restoration Surgeon like Dr. Alan J. Bauman, MD, ABHRS. During your initial consultation, scientific HairCheck measurements are obtained from several different areas of the scalp to benchmark your baseline as well as track your progress over time from treatment. At Bauman Medical, after your initial consultation, all follow-up HairCheck measurements are performed as a courtesy to all of our patients at no-charge! Hair loss question? Get answers from Dr. Alan Bauman.