Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low Level Laser Therapy

Get essential information about low level laser therapy for hair loss.

The Science

What Is LLLT?

Low level laser therapy uses lasers or LED’s to shine light on the scalp. ‘Visible red’ or ‘near infrared’ lights are used and are usually embedded on a helmet, brush, or a comb device.

Treatment sessions are short. Typical durations are 15-30 minutes, 3 times per week.

Because of the acceptable time commitment, LLLT is becoming a popular way to regrow hair and avoid the hormonal side effects experienced when using dht blockers.

More than 30 LLLT devices have been approved by the FDA for at home use.

How Does LLLT Work?

The red lights of LLLT devices do not produce heat, but are reported to stimulate regeneration processes in the skin and hair follicles.

Anti-inflammatory effects, wound healing, and tissue oxygenation are some impacts that have been demonstrated.

For baldness, it’s thought that stem cells may also be stimulated, causing hair follicles to shift into the growth (anagen) phase.

LLLT Results

Although LLLT is a newer treatment for androgenetic alopecia, there are several studies that prove it’s hair growth abilities:

  • An analysis of 10 LLLT studies found that all studies showed a ‘statistically significant increase in hair diameter or density‘.(1)
  • 45 women with female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) had comparable results to 5% minoxidil when using LLLT.(2)
  • 9 out of 11 research studies assessing hair counts found statistically significant improvements in both males and females after LLLT treatment.(3)
  • In an evaluation of effective treatments for androgenetic alopecia, LLLT was ranked ahead of finasteride and minoxidil.(4)
  • A study of 1383 patients showed that LLLT was effective in 80% of patients using the devices.(5)

In short, the results from a variety of LLLT studies have been impressive SO FAR. It’s encouraging that people have a ‘natural’ alternative to chemical reliance on finasteride or minoxidil.

Weight Of Science

Most of the research from hair loss LLLT studies has been conducted since 2010. Other hair loss treatments have significantly more research to support them.

Side Effects

The main concern of people using LLLT is whether light therapy has any undesirable effects such as cancer. 

There seems to be little evidence that normal, healthy cells can be harmed by LLLT. However, there is some cause for alarm.

One study looked at the effects of laser light on human cells and concludes that LLLT could activate precancerous cells or increase existing cancerous tissue.”(6)

Separate research using lasers in the red light spectrum found that existing cancer cells were stimulated by LLLT.(7)

So if you have cancer or have had cancer it could be wise to avoid LLLT devices for hair loss. 

The issue for others to conclude is how do we know if our scalp contains pre-cancerous cells and could LLLT activate them?

Other than this issue, the reported side effects for LLLT trials on hair loss have been minor.

Hair Loss

Temporary hair shedding may occur in the first few weeks of starting LLLT. This is likely due to the way the lasers encourage the switch between hair growth phases.

Dry Skin

Around 1 in 20 people complain of dry skin following treatment. This can cause itching which is usually easily resolved by using a moisturiser.

Scalp Sensitivity

A feeling of tenderness and warmth on the treated area has been reported in some studies. If you feel your scalp burning then discontinue use as this should not occur.

What Does It Cost?

There are many LLLT devices that can be easily bought online. No prescriptions or medical advice are required to purchase.

Prices can range from around £40 to £2000. There’s a good selection of FDA approved devices on Amazon.

Factors to consider include the type of device you want. Laser combs and brushes are less expensive but may need to be held above your head for 30 minutes per session. Helmets or caps are more comfortable as you can read, watch tv, or study while having treatment.

Avoid cheap devices with little or no reviews..It’s easier to buy a good product once than buy a cheap product several times.

Are There Alternatives To LLLT?

Synthetic chemical treatments that could encourage hair growth include finasteride and minoxidil. Both can have undesirable side effects and must be used daily on a continuous basis for them to work.

Hair transplants require surgery but have the advantage of being an effective ‘cure’ for bald areas of the head.

Similarly, scalp micropigmentation can permanently cover hair loss but is only of use if you want a ‘shaven head’ look for the rest of your life.

Our full list of proven, effective hair loss treatments can be found here.


(1) https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/509001 

(2) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lsm.22684 

(3) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lsm.22512 

(4) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jdv.15081 

(5) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10103-022-03520-4 

(6) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29160001/ 

(7) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jbio.201300015