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What is Low-Level-Laser Therapy?

In 1967, Hungarian scientist Endre Mester was working fervently in his laboratory. He was studying the healing effects of red laser on tumors in mice. The first working laser technology had been invented only several years prior. Mester was attempting to replicate an American colleague’s experiment, who had shown red laser could cure tumors implanted in a hamster.

He performed delicate surgery on each of his subjects, shaving the site for incision, and implanting the tumor tissue. He then illuminated this surgical site with red laser for carefully measured periods of time. Unbeknownst to Dr. Mester, however, his laser contained only a fraction of the power of that used by his American colleague. Needless to say he did not cure any of the tumors, but he did notice something else: increased rates of wound healing, and hair regrowth.

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Dr. Endre Mester - A pioneer in the field of Low-Level-Laser Therapy

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Cytochrome c oxidase, a specialized molecule within the mitochondria of our cells is energized when it absorbs red laser light. This enhances the process of cellular respiration, allowing cells to function more efficiently.

These astute observations gave birth to the field of Low-Level-Laser Therapy, or LLLT (also known as Low-Level-Light Therapy, Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBM), or cold laser therapy). Subsequent experiments showed that low intensity red laser had very unique properties when shown on living cells, tissues, and organisms. Namely, this specific kind of light could relieve pain, heal wounds, and regenerate tissues, restoring their natural form and function.

It was eventually revealed this was because specialized molecules within our cells are able to convert the energy of red light into a usable form, in a similar way that plants are able to use energy from sunlight to grow and sustain themselves. More specifically, the enzyme cytochrome-c-oxidase, within the mitochondria of our cells, is energized by red light in a way that enhances cellular respiration, the process by which cells convert food, water, and oxygen into energy we use to function and remain alive.

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Cytochrome c oxidase, a specialized molecule within the mitochondria of our cells is energized when it absorbs red laser light. This enhances the process of cellular respiration, allowing cells to function more efficiently.

So how exactly does LLLT regrow hair? As discussed on our Hair Loss 101 page, each hair on your head grows in a characteristic cycle with several phases. The hair follicle will first spend several years in the growth phase, during which the hair actively lengthens. Next comes the resting phase, where the hair stops growing for several months. After a few months at rest, the follicle sheds its hair, the cycle begins anew, and the follicle begins to grow new hair.

When men and women are affected by androgenic alopecia, their hair follicles essentially shrink over time and the growth phase becomes shorter and shorter with each cycle. As a result, each cycle produces a hair shorter and thinner than the last, a process called miniaturization.

The Hair Cycle

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Red laser light energizes stem cells in the dermal papilla, deep within the hair follicle. As a result the length of the follicle's growth phase is increased, and it produces a thicker, healthier hair.

LLLT works by slowing and in some cases reversing miniaturization. When the scalp is illuminated by red laser, light energy is absorbed by stem cells in the dermal papilla, a specialized region of the follicle near its base. These cells, which play a central role in controlling the hair cycle, and promoting hair growth, are energized when they absorb red laser light. Their ability to perform cellular respiration is enhanced, and their activity is increased.

As a result of this increased activity, and a complex series of cellular and biochemical interactions, the hair follicle spends a greater amount of time in the growth phase of the hair cycle, thereby slowing or reversing miniaturization and the progression of thinning and balding. Blood flow is increased as well via these interactions, delivering much needed nourishment to sustain the follicle.

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Red laser light energizes stem cells in the dermal papilla, deep within the hair follicle. As a result the length of the follicle's growth phase is increased, and it produces a thicker, healthier hair.

Today numerous large, high quality clinical studies have shown LLLT to be an effective treatment for hair loss.¹ In fact LLLT is one of only 3 treatments sanctioned by the FDA for male pattern hair loss (along with minoxidil, and finasteride), and one of only 2 treatments sanctioned by the FDA for female pattern hair loss (along with minoxidil). LLLT has also been proven to be extremely safe, and, unlike many other treatments for hair loss, is not associated with any serious adverse side effects.

Finally LLLT can work for everyone, in both men and women, and along with all other medical and surgical treatments for hair loss, including minoxidil, finasteride, platelet rich plasma, hair transplant surgery, and more. For these reasons we believe all people suffering from hair loss should use LLLT, with only the best - that is - The Original LaserCap!

  1. Liu K-H, Liu D, Chen Y-T, Chin S-Y. Comparative effectiveness of low-level laser therapy for adult androgenic alopecia: a system review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Lasers Med Sci. 2019;34(6):1063-1069.
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