Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Devices
Some patients are turning to Low-Level Laser Therapy Devices as a non-surgical hair restoration treatment for pattern hair loss.
These devices, which feature laser light generated by low-powered cold lasers, include hand-held "comb", "brush" or "cap" laser-fueled devices marketed for use at home. Larger "hood" or "cap" devices are used in hair restoration clinics.
Laser light is not approved or recommended for treatment of hair loss due to any other cause. If the cause of hair loss is questionable, you should see a physician hair restoration specialist for appropriate diagnosis before using a LLLT product.
The "cold" lasers used as a hair replacement therapy for the treatment of pattern baldness deliver what is called low-level laser therapy (LLLT). The LLLT lasers are called "cold" because their light is absorbed by target tissue, but does not heat the target tissue as occurs with lasers used to cut and remodel tissue.
Here we will outline some of the home LLLT devices available for your usage.
Hand-held LLLT devices for home use that are currently marketed on the World Wide Web and by advertising in print media include:
The HairMax LaserComb: It has comb teeth and embedded lasers that deliver laser light to the scalp as the comb teeth part the hair. The HairMax Laser Comb has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing as a device to treat pattern hair loss. The HairMax Laser Comb is available by direct order or from a physician's office. The cost of a HairMax Laser Comb is several hundred dollars.
The X5 Laser: This uses laser diodes to deliver light directly to the scalp. It is marketed as a cosmetic device and needs no additional FDA clearance for that use. The X5 Laser is sold for about $200.
The Laser Cap: This uses 224 lasers embedded in a wearable hat. It is available through physician offices, is marketed as a cosmetic device and needs no additional FDA clearance for that use. The Laser Cap is sold for about $3000.
The potential consumer should compare hand-held devices not only for price, but also for features such as scalp coverage and power.
LLLT devices used in a medical clinic are hoods much like a beauty salon hair dryer.
The effectiveness and most advantageous use of LLLT for hair restoration has not yet been investigated in large, long-term, well-designed clinical trials.
The ISHRS takes no official stand on LLLT as a treatment for hair loss. On the one hand, it recognizes that some members strongly believe in LLLT as a complement to other treatments. On the other hand, the ISHRS is aware that there is currently a lack of good support from large, well-designed double-blind studies to support the effectiveness of LLLT as a treatment for hair loss. Some ISHRS member physicians believe that this lack of evidence should make us cautious about recommending LLLT to our patients until more scientific studies are performed.
In summary, LLLT may be an appropriate treatment for some patients with male or female pattern hair loss. Patients should discuss this option with a qualified physician hair restoration specialist.