It has been with us for as long as we can remember. Our childhood years are filled with memories of treating and caring for it, in one way or another. For many of us, it is our pride and joy. There’s no wonder that for both men or women, losing it can be a horrible experience.
What is it, you may ask? Our hair.
Chances are, you or someone you know deals with, or has dealt with this issue. 50% of men over 40, and 75% of women over 65 suffer male- or female-pattern baldness. And there are even some who deal with it even in their twenties. Many of these man and women, people all over the world, seek a solution to hair loss, of which there are many. However, not all of them are clinically proven to be very effective, or have a variety of side-effects.
Some of the most common treatments are: Finasteride (branded as Propecia) Minoxidil (branded as Rogaine), and hair transplants. Finasteride is an FDA-approved pill with only 2% success, and has unpleasant side-effects, which include impotence, dizziness, and swelling of hands and feet. Minoxidil, also FDA-approved, is a cream with a better success rate at 38%. However, it does not work all the time, as it requires an enzyme that not all patients have. Hair transplanting, the most effective of these three, is an invasive surgical procedure, and so comes with risks of complications such as infection of hair follicles, and numbness, loss of transplanted hair, and others. It is also time-consuming, often requiring a numerous sessions, and the result may look unnatural.
There is hope, though. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is not only safe, it is effective. This procedure is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including hair loss. LLLT is painless, FDA-approved, uses infra-red lasers of a particular range of wavelengths (usually 630 to 670 nanometers) to stimulate blood flow and decrease inflammation, and is scientifically proven to promote hair regrowth. As if that were not enough, it gives results with minimal time investment.
To understand how LLLT works, we have to understand how hair grows.
It grows in three phases: First, there is the growth phase, then the transition phase when the hair follicles start to shrink, and, finally, the phase when the follicles become dormant and shed. Many people, especially as they age, become more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that shrinks hair follicles and speeds the hair loss process. This is a genetic condition called androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male- or female-pattern baldness. LLLT helps hair follicles into the growth phase, stimulating natural hair growth by increasing blood flow (and thus the low of nutrients and oxygen) to the follicles, and prevents the build-up of DHT. As effective as LLLT is, it cannot stimulate hair growth in dead follicles, so it is important to begin treatment as early, so there are as many living follicles as possible.
LLLT can be done at a salon or at home, with a recommended treatment regimen of two to three sessions per week, each lasting only 10 to 15 minutes each. It can be done using hand-held devices, in-salon hoods, or bonnets/head caps, and results are typically seen after two or three months.
As stated before, there is hope for suffers of male- and female-pattern hair loss. LLLT just may be the right treatment for you.
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