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Does Red Light Therapy Work For Hair Loss?

According to The American Academy of Dermatology, around 80 million women and men in the U.S. are suffering from hair loss. If you are one of them, you can relate to the struggle of slowing down balding or thinning. Hair loss can take a tremendous toll on your mental health.

A normal person may lose up to 100 hairs from their scalp daily, but these grow back naturally. For some people, a number of factors play a key role in halting natural hair growth and, in some cases, accelerating hair loss. This can happen due to:

  • Increasing age
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress & anxiety
  • Health conditions, such as diabetes and lupus
  • Side effects of medical treatment, i.e., chemotherapy

If this is something that relates to you, red light therapy is worth a look.

How Does Red Light Restore Hair?

Red light therapy is found to be effective in treating hair loss without any side effects caused by other hair loss treatments. The red light works by enhancing the blood circulation to your scalp, which in turn stimulates the metabolic activity in the hair follicles, causing hair growth.

When suffering from hair loss, you lose only hair, not the follicles that anchor the hair stands to the skin. A hair bulb, present at the base of the follicle, together with papilla and matrix are responsible for initiating hair growth. If the cells of hair follicles, papilla, and matrix are not functioning normally, they would not be able to support normal hair growth. It may slow down or cease altogether.

The red light, being able to penetrate the skin, stimulates the cells in papilla and matrix to generate more energy. This results in a more successful replication of these cells, which then leads to new hair growth from follicles which were previously dormant.

Other Important Roles of Red-Light Therapy

  • Creation of New Capillaries: Increased synthesis of new blood vessels helps to significantly improves blood circulation to the scalp. This enables to enhance the nutrition as well as oxygen supply to hair follicles. Moreover, the waste can be removed more efficiently that may have previously led to hair follicle damage. A study linked improved blood circulation to healthier and thicker hair growth. [1]
  • Improves Collagen Synthesis: Your hair is mainly composed of a protein, known as keratin. Collagen, a different type of protein plays the role of an antioxidant to fight damage caused by free radicals. These compounds are known to damage hair follicles, which leads stunt to grow hair. Enhanced collagen production indirectly means less oxidative damage caused by free radicals; hence, leading to increased hair growth[2] [3]
  • Stimulates Adenosine Triphosphate Synthesis: ATP is a coenzyme used for fueling cellular structures. Enhanced ATP production by red light causes individual cells in the hair follicles to increase their metabolism and replication. This restoration of energy within cellular structures of the hair follicles means more keratin is produced by papilla – translating to enhanced hair growth.

Bottomline

Hair loss is a serious problem faced by millions of people around the world. Red light therapy offers a very efficient solution with no side effects. At most, you experience redness due to overuse of red-light therapy and will fade away quickly. On the other hand, hair restoration medication may cause severe side effects such as unwanted hair growth, acne, burning of the scalp, changes in blood pressure, headache, etc. But that’s not the case with red light therapy because it works by naturally stimulating the growth process, and the hair only grows back where it normally would have under ideal circumstances.

References:

  1. Massachusetts General Hospital. (2001, February 19). Blood Vessels Hold Key To Thicker Hair Growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010215074636.htm
  2. Chi, C. F., Cao, Z. H., Wang, B., Hu, F. Y., Li, Z. R., & Zhang, B. (2014). Antioxidant and functional properties of collagen hydrolysates from Spanish mackerel skin as influenced by average molecular weight. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)19(8), 11211–11230. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules190811211
  3. Glynis A. (2012). A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology5(11), 28–34.
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