Can red light therapy stop hair loss and start new hair growth?
Can it stop hair thinning, bald spots, and balding for both men and women?
In this post, you’ll find the science behind red light therapy for hair growth, before and after pictures, and how to use low-level laser hair treatments – at home.
This post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.
What if there’s a safer, natural (and possibly better) alternative for minoxidil, finasteride, and hair transplants?
Keep reading and find out.
👉 In a Hurry?
Jump to the best ways to use red light therapy for hair growth – at home!
- What Does Red Light Therapy Do to Your Hair?
- How to Use Red Light Therapy for Hair Growth
- When Can You Expect Results?
- Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss: Is it Proven to Work?
- How Much Does Laser for Hair Growth Cost?
What Does Red Light Therapy Do to Your Hair?
First, let’s agree on some (disturbing) facts:
1. Men typically have a distinctive balding pattern involving hairline recession and vertex balding.
2. Women normally suffer from diffuse hair thinning over the tops of their scalps.
3. For both men and women, this feels horrible.
The hair growth cycle consists of 3 phases – growth (anagen phase), resting (telogen phase), and shedding (catagen phase).
Red and near-infrared hair growth light therapy was found to increase blood flow (micro blood circulation) in the scalp and stimulate metabolism in catagen or telogen follicles.
This result is an accelerated production of anagen hair – new hair (stimulation of epidermal stem cells in the hair follicle bulge and shifting the follicles into anagen phase).
Here’s the good news:
- Science has proven that Low-level laser therapy can be used in both men and women to treat androgenetic alopecia.
- Studies show that cold laser can regrow your hair on the top of your head/crown and along the forehead hairline
- Research proves that LLLT has no side effects, is painless, and is safe.
- Improvement is reported after 12 to 26 weeks of use, with reduced hair fall and noticeable hair growth.
How to Use Red Light Therapy for Hair Growth
Here are the 3 Ways You Can Treat Your Hair Loss with low level laser – at Home:
1. A Laser Cap for Hair Growth
The BEST laser caps have been clinically shown to:
- Grow new hair
- Double the follicle diameter of existing hair (reverses miniaturization)
- Slow (and even stop) hair loss
👉 See our comparison for the 3 best-selling laser caps of 2023 – HairMax vs. Illumiflow vs. Kiierr!
2. A Laser Comb
This laser comb for hair loss requires time devoted to carefully moving the comb through the hair to allow laser penetration to the scalp.
The main advantage of a laser comb is the direct contact the device has with the scalp, which makes sure the maximum strength of the light is utilized and absorbed through the skin. This is most beneficial for people with long hair, or thick hair that acts as a barrier to the light.
The HairMax Laser Comb is the only FDA-cleared laser brush device for the treatment of hair loss.
However, the results vary.
For some people it works, for others, it doesn’t. Many times the effort required makes people quit the treatment, and this prevents the desired results.
3. A Red Light Therapy Lamp
Here’s how to use a simple red light therapy lamp for hair growth:
1. Look for a bulb or lamp that emits red light at a wavelength of 650-660nm, which has been shown to be the most effective for stimulating hair growth.
2. Position the lamp about 6 inches away from your scalp, making sure that the light is hitting the areas where you want to promote hair growth.
3. Set a timer to 10-30 minutes, depending on the strength of the device.
4. Use regularly- to see results, it’s important to use the lamp regularly. Most experts recommend using it 2-3 times per week for several months.
You can also get a red light therapy lamp with a convenient base – ready to use, such as this one:
👉 If you have thick, coarse, or long hair in some areas, you may need a laser comb to allow the light to reach your scalp in those areas. Learn more in our post comparing laser helmets to laser combs.
When Can You Expect Results?
Results from red light therapy devices for hair growth can vary depending on individual factors such as age, genetics, and overall health.
However, some studies have shown that red light therapy treatments can increase hair counts, boost hair thickness, and improve the overall appearance of hair – after at least 12 to 26 weeks of regular use.
That’s why good companies, such as HairMax, offer a 5-6 month money-back guarantee – to allow you to check your results and get a refund if you don’t see any.
You have to be consistent and do not expect results in less than a month. For some people, it can take up to a year to see full potential results.
Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss: Is it Proven to Work?
As with all good things, this discovery was accidental:
In 1967, just a few years after the first working laser was invented, a Hungarian scientist wanted to test if laser radiation can cause cancer in mice.
He shaved their hair, divided them into two groups, and gave a laser treatment with a low-powered (694 nm) laser to one group.
The surprising results?
The mice did not develop cancer. The hair on the treated group grew back much faster than the untreated group. This was the first demonstration of laser “biostimulation”.
What about the latest studies?
This paper, published in the Lasers in Surgeries and Medicine Journal in 2013, has researched all clinical studies in PubMed and Google Scholar regarding hair loss treatment with LLLT and concluded:
“Controlled clinical trials demonstrated that LLLT stimulated hair growth in both men and women. Among various mechanisms, the main mechanism is hypothesized to be stimulation of epidermal stem cells in the hair follicle bulge and shifting the follicles into anagen phase.”
Another paper, published in 2016, analyzed 11 studies, which investigated a total of 680 patients, consisting of 444 males and 236 females (with male and female pattern hair loss).
The results were extremely positive:
“Nine out of 11 studies assessing hair count/hair density found statistically significant improvements in both males and females following LLLT treatment.”
Additionally, hair thickness and tensile strength significantly improved in two out of four studies.
So now let’s get practical:
What’s the Best Wavelength for Hair Regrowth?
Through analyzing many studies, we found the best wavelength for hair regrowth to be 655nm. Some studies achieved the same results by using devices in the range of 630 – 670 nm.
How Much Does Laser for Hair Growth Cost?
When I heard how much in-office hair lasers cost a year (about $4000), I almost fainted.
The good news is:
The home version of strong LED (light-emitting diode) light (a real, screw-in red light therapy light bulb) is inexpensive and available to everybody.
In this post, I’ve shown you the amazing ability of red light therapy in stopping hair loss and regrowing hair on the scalp.
Men and women with androgenetic alopecia, as well as people who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, can benefit from this painless, non-invasive, and safe way to regrow hair.
The benefits of LLLT for hair loss:
1. Can be used in both men and women
2. Noninvasive, painless, natural, and safe
3. Home treatments are relatively inexpensive
4. Hair growth can occur on the top of the head and along the hairline of the forehead as well.
5. Visible results can be seen after 12 to 26 weeks of use.
What have you tried for hair loss? Have you tried red light therapy? Tell me, I’m here to help.
To your health and happiness,
Chung, H., Dai, T., Sharma, S.K. et al. The Nuts and Bolts of Low-level Laser (Light) Therapy. Ann Biomed Eng 40, 516–533 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-011-0454-7
Low‐level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) for treatment of hair loss, Pinar Avci MD, Gaurav K. Gupta MD, PhD
, Jason Clark MD, Norbert Wikonkal MD, PhD, Michael R. Hamblin PhD, https://doi.org/10.1002/lsm.22170
Jimenez, J.J., Wikramanayake, T.C., Bergfeld, W. et al. Efficacy and Safety of a Low-level Laser Device in the Treatment of Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss: A Multicenter, Randomized, Sham Device-controlled, Double-blind Study. Am J Clin Dermatol 15, 115–127 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-013-0060-6
The growth of human scalp hair mediated by visible red light laser and LED sources in males, Raymond R. Blanche BS , Adam B. Bodian MD, Richard P. Chiacchierini PhD, Adolfo Fernandez‐Obregon MD, Eric R. Kazmirek BS, https://doi.org/10.1002/lsm.22173
30 thoughts on “Can Red Light Therapy Regrow Hair and Stop Hair Loss?”
I experience high level of hair loss for a few months now, luckely not in one specific area. I have two bulbs of red light rising 660nm and 850nm in one. I use them also for muscle issues. However, i’m still not sure which distance to apply for my head. What do you advice? I have medium long hair, do you think the light we reach the right area’s, although the areas are covered with hair?
All the best!
You can use the bulbs at about 24 inches away from your head if they 250W, or closer if they are only 150W, to the point the heat feels comfortable and not too hot. The light can go through your hair but not as effective as a hair growth helmet/cap.
There is no heat, it are this kind of lights: https://redlightrising.co.uk/product/the-target-light . So 24W each. For muscle problems I apply them really close.
So I would suggest that for muscle pain relief you should get stronger bulbs – at least 150W, which also generates heat. Heat it very helpful for pain relief. For hair growth the bulbs you have are good, but you’ll have to use them really close to your head, which seems quite challenging when it comes to the scalp.
Thank you for this information. The comments have been good too!
Can you please tell me why I can’t use a LLLT device if I take hydrochlorothiazide? What could or would happen?
Low-level light therapy can reduce blood pressure. If you take a BP-lowering medication the light may reduce your BP too much. But to my knowledge, this is only true if you use a full-body device or an infrared sauna, not for small, local treatments.
After hair growth using light therapy do you have to continue the light therapy forever to keep the growth?
Yes, you have to keep using it, but you can reduce the frequency. Also, lifestyle changes and dietary changes may also strengthen your hair so you may not need to use it forever.
Thank you for a helpful and informative article.
Please can you offere advice? My daughter has Alopecia totalis it has developed over two years? Having been on steroids hair grew back but then after she stopped steroids she’d again. Given the effect on her body (weight gain) and feeling ill all the time she decided to stop all medication just takes herbal now. Her eyelashes and eyebrows coming out again now and although hair follicles alive she has no hair. Can you suggest home treatment /or a recommended prActitioner in Edinburgh she could have this light thereapy? Any help greatly appreciated thank you. Jenny cooke
If the hair follicles are alive and she has no hair I would go for a laser hair regrowth helmet.
I have 100w infrared bulb how much time should i use for hair lose and regrowth and can i use infrared with glutathione tablets
I would use the bulb for 15-20 minutes 3 times a week. And yes, it’s o.k to use with glutathione tablets.
I have the Silk’n FaceFx fractional red light device, which has a wavelength in the range you mentioned as optimal for hair regrowth, and I’m wondering if I could successfully use it for hair regrowth on my scalp. My uncertainty stems from the fact that the device emits heat at the same time as the light. Would this be harmful to my scalp or hinder regrowth?
Yes, you can try to use it on your scalp – to my knowledge it’s perfectly safe.
Thank you for the post. You write to use red light therapy for only 10 minutes 3 times a week. Why this exact time limit? Is there a study that tested various therapy times and intervals and found this to be the most effective? And if so, could you point me to this study?
Different studies suggest different treatment time, which ranges from 10 minutes daily to 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.
For example, This study about laser combs included 3-times a week treatment for 26 weeks: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24474647
Here’s a study evaluating many other studies, with different recommendations: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944668/
I’ve suggested to start with 10 minutes to avoid over doing it, but you can definitely do it for 30 minutes. I would follow the actual instructions of the device you have, since they know best what works through internal trials.
Hello, great post
I’ve been going to a local salon and using the red light booth 3 times a week for the past two weeks. Can I use the irestore along with the red light booth? or would this be too much on the mitochondria.
I would only use it one time per week, since you’re already using red light therapy 3 times a week. You’re supposed to use it every other day, no more than that.
Do you see any results on your hair since you started treatments?
I use a 250w infra red lamp for wrinkles. Can I also use that for my thinning hair?
Yes, you definitely can. :)
Hi there i am thinking of buying the helmet but not sure if this or any other light therapy treatment would actually work for me as i have been losing my hair for about30 years i don’t use minoxidil or anything else apart from volumising shampoos which don’t really do much.i look forward to your reply.
Unfortunately, the only way to know is to give it a try…
Also, expecting positive results will help as well.
If you have live follicles, the chances of it working are greater.
Also, you don’t have much to lose. The helmets I recommend have a 6 months money-back guarantee. If it doesn’t work for you, you can send it back and get a full refund.
Reading through some of the articles here — very informative. What is your advice for a Device for several treatments –
• hair loss
Do these two treatments require different levels of power to treat.
I like the idea of a lamp that is tall enough to allow for reclining. However, would not want to deter the best device for the ability to recline.
The perfect device for you would be an red light therapy panel system, which you can point either to your hair or to your face to treat wrinkles (safety goggles are a must). The 2 treatments require the same intensity and wavelength so it won’t be a problem. Here’s the perfect product for you on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ouI0mq
I just purchased a near infrared light bulb (large one to put in a standalone lamp) to use at home for various reasons. I just found your information about using for hair loss. Evidently the light has to be aimed at the scalp itself and will not penetrate through the hair. Is that a correct assumption? Because that would involve parting off the sections of hair and holding back, or clipping back, during the light treatment process. My hair loss is significant, relating to sustained levels of intense high anxiety. Already supplement with mega doses of Vitamins B.
No, actually that’s not true. It will penetrate through the hair with no problem. Good luck!
My hairstylist has one of the few salons that I know of offering red light therapy as a service for hair regrowth. I am going to share this informative article with her as well. It is surprising that the pricing ranges so much from the inexpensive red light bulb to the more expensive headwear. Is there a significant difference in effectiveness? Thank you so much for sharing the uses and benefits of red light therapy with us at the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m pinning and sharing.
Thanks to taking the time to comment on my post.:)
The major price difference stems from the treatment area coverage mainly. A red light bulb covers a small, local area while the headwear covers the entire scalp in one treatment.
With the bulb you’ll have to repeat treatment 3-4 times a day to cover all your hair.
So it’s really a question of how much time and patience you have, before you choose a red light therapy home device.