Navigating the many options available for reversing hair loss can be a little overwhelming.
There are so many different routes you can take, from supplements to Rogaine and even surgery. While trying to find solutions for thinning hair or a receding hairline, you may have also come across laser caps (often called Low Level Laser Therapy or LLLT for short) as a holistic alternative for hair growth. You might find yourself asking, “do they work? Are they painful? How expensive is this option?” There is a lot of misinformation out there. We wanted to address the most common misconceptions about laser caps, so you can make the best and most informed decision for restoring your hair (and your wallet).
Myth #1- It’s a Pseudoscience
There is strong science and research supporting the efficacy of laser caps. Laser caps use a technology called low-level laser therapy, or LLLT, to stimulate follicular mitochondria in scalp cells. “Controlled clinical trials demonstrated that LLLT stimulated hair growth in both men and women. Among various mechanisms, the main mechanism is hypothesized to be the stimulation of epidermal stem cells in the hair follicle bulge and shifting the follicles into the anagen phase (R1).” Low-level laser therapy helps stimulate hair growth without the side effects of chemicals and medications. The science behind LLLT technology is fairly concrete and the FDA has also cleared some laser cap options, ensuring the science and effectiveness of laser caps. LLLT technology has been researched since 1960 and continues to be used for all sorts of ailments including, muscular pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel, and more. This therapy has been backed by clinical trials and research to ensure that you will on fact see progress and restore your hair’s natural fullness.
Myth #2- It’s Painful
Laser caps are 100% pain-free. Most users find them to be extremely comfortable. Low-level laser therapy uses non-invasive light therapy to stimulate hair growth without any side effects. The use of light therapy has been found to ease pain, promote healing, and can even reduce joint pain. The caps are lightweight and don’t require hours of your time and there are no medications or supplements you need to take. Using medications or even surgery can all cause potential discomfort and pain, so it’s important to understand all of your options. If you elect to get the surgery, your potential downtime is anywhere from two days to a few weeks. Not to mention you also risk infection and other complications from the surgery. Out of the many options available to you, laser caps are one of the most pain-free options to regrow your hair. Controlled studies found that “LLLT for hair growth in both men and women appears to be both safe and effective (R1).”
Myth #3- It’s So Expensive, You Might as well Pay for the Surgery
The cost comes down to what you are comfortable with.
The cost of laser caps ranges anywhere from about $500-$1200 online.
However, having surgery can cost upwards of $15,000 and requires some recovery time. Surgery has its benefits, like relatively immediate results. However, it can be awfully expensive, requires you to have follow up appointments, and you could potentially get an infection or have some other complication. Surgery always comes with its risks, so it’s best to go over this option with a healthcare professional. If you would prefer a less expensive option, laser caps might be the best choice for you. Laser caps in comparison do not require any surgery, recovery time, or have any complications. There are also many options available that offer payment plans or refurbished options. If you would prefer a more natural approach to growing your hair, laser caps are your best bet to stimulate cell growth in your scalp without the cost or risk of surgery. The great news is you can see results in a few months and do so in a less risky way.
#4- It Doesn’t Regrow Hair, it Thickens Existing Hair
Laser caps work by energizing the mitochondria of your cells. This can result in thicker hair and even cause new growth from previously dormant cells (R2) This means that laser caps can influence hair growth from follicles you do not see on the surface of your scalp. It can also be noted that the thickening of your hair can be enough to offset baldness. Here are the few ways that laser caps can help regrow your hair:
How it works
• Inhibits 5-alpha reductase- This enzyme converts testosterone into DHT- a known cause of hair loss.
• Activates shock proteins- You may have heard of shock proteins before, especially if you love saunas, jacuzzies and steam rooms. Low-level laser therapy also activates shock proteins that encourage hair follicle stem cell growth.
• Increases oxygen and blood flow to the scalp- increasing nutrients and circulation to the scalp. Increases nutrients and circulation to the scalp.
• Causes helpful inflammation- Low-level laser therapy causes helpful inflammation that stimulates hair growth without negative side effects (R2).
As you can see, laser caps work in many different ways to thicken and encourage hair growth. The science behind how this works is multi-dimensional but incredibly successful.
Myth #5- It Can’t Be Used with Other Hair Growth Products
The good news is laser caps are non-invasive and can be used with other hair-growth options.
You can take supplements, use Rogaine, or any other method while using a laser cap. Laser caps are a safe option that won’t affect your medications.
You can confidently take vitamins, supplements, and other remedies while using your laser cap, with no concern over contraindications.
Myth #6- They Don’t All Work the Same
You are correct, there are some laser caps out there that have not been cleared by the FDA. It is important to do your research, check reviews, and make sure you are buying a high-quality product. As with any product, there will always be knock-off versions so just be careful when purchasing. Make sure reviews are authentic and the product has been cleared by the FDA. Some other ways to find FDA approved options is to thoroughly research their website and always check the accuracy of their claims. Illumiflow is one such FDA approved option backed by research and real reviews.
Myth #7- LED Caps Work Better
LED technology is not the same as low-level laser therapy.
LED solutions are less expensive than LLLT options because they are significantly less powerful. Because of this, they have a much harder time penetrating the scalp to encourage hair growth. LED provides a superficial solution in comparison to low-level laser therapy (R4).
When using LLLT devices that utilize medical-grade lasers, you can stimulate new hair growth. The reason LLLT devices are cleared by the FDA is because they have been clinically researched and have well-documented success (R4).
With all that being said LED technology has no evidence or clinical trials whatsoever to prove their effectiveness to stimulate hair growth. You’ll have as much luck shining a flashlight on your head.
Myth #7- The Process Takes Too Long
The hair growth process looks a little different for everyone.
Typically, you will start to see results in 4-6 months. Sometimes even sooner. This is mostly based of the cycle your hair naturally goes through when growing. To better answer this question, we must first look at the three phases required for hair growth. Your hair moves through three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Anagen is the most active phase of the three and focuses on rapid cell division (R3). This active phase lasts for about 2-6 years. The catagen phase is your transitional phase and lasts about 3-45 days total.
Lastly, you have the telogen phase which is the resting phase and lasts about 100 days (R3). As you can see hair growth moves through many phases. The time it takes is dependent on your body and cell production. Laser caps work to stimulate cell growth so your new growth can move through these phases. This is why you will typically start to see results in a few months.
Are Laser Caps For You?
Hair loss can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. There are many choices available to you, both invasive and non-invasive.
Laser caps are a safe and affordable option. Laser caps are backed by the FDA, pain-free, and a natural way to restore a healthy, full head of hair. Since laser caps are non-invasive you have the ability to combine lasers caps with supplements and other treatments to amplify your results.
By using laser caps you can also avoid costly surgery and see natural results in a matter of months. Just remember to do your research and find a laser cap that has real reviews and clearance by the FDA. As with any solution you should always check with your health provider to ensure that you do not have any other underlying health issues. If you struggle with thyroid disorders or other medical conditions, that could also be the cause of hair loss.
If you do suffer from alopecia or male pattern baldness, laser caps might be the best option for you.