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Hi, 

Can you help me out?

I am trying to find out whether laser therapy/LLLT/laser light therapy for hair loss, either done at home or in a salon/plastic surgery clinic is safe. I know that laser therapy for hair loss is a very new procedure, newer than laser for hair removal or tattoo removal for instance, but that it is rising in popularity. 

If you had a loved one suffering from hair loss who was very keen to try laser light therapy for their hair loss, would you be concerned that it could cause long term health issues, including perhaps cancer?

Thanks for your help!

:)

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478 posts

Hey Pawz,

That is a fair question, and not an uncommon one. I think some form of laser therapy has been used at least since the 1970s, and research has been done regarding laser hair removal treatment and tattoo removal treatment. So far, laser therapy has not been shown to cause cancer at all. Potential side effects are more in the realm of skin depigmentation, irritation, and in extreme cases scarring. 

Whoever is considering laser therapy for hair loss should of course ask their clinician any questions they have. Treatments that are used are approved for use though, and are generally considered safe. 

Rosie

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Nah, you're good. Laser therapy for hair loss doesn't cause cancer. You still need someone who knows what they're doing to administer it though, because over irradiation on the skin is no good, since you can lose pigment and things like that. I assume that laser treatment for hair loss marketed for home use uses lower levels of radiation. These products are also considered safe and are FDA approved, so you gotta assume they meet certain standards of safety, you know what I mean? In any case, if I had hair loss, I would prefer to go to a professional for treatment, but if I couldn't afford it I would consider home laser devices for hair loss/hair growth. 

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All evidence available to date indicates that laser therapy for hair loss is a safe procedure, with potential topical side effects but nothing systemic. 

However, not everyone agrees that it is effective. As you know, Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the first line of treatment for hereditary hair loss in both men and women, and hair transplants are the surgical next step up. Some clinicians totally dismiss the idea that hair loss laser therapy could be a good alternative for either of those treatments, though some do recommend laser therapy. Note that laser therapy does not mean that you cannot use other treatments concurrently. In fact, some clinicians recommend laser therapy as a follow up to stimulate hair growth after a hair transplant has been carried out. 

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Laser therapy for hair loss does not work.

You may use laser therapy for terminal hair, ie where you have healthy hair that is simply not growing to stimulate the hair follicles and speed up hair loss, but there is no real scientific evidence that LLLT can reverse hair loss. Because laser therapy has nothing to do with androgens, it just doesn't have the ability to reverse balding so please don't wasre your time and money on LLLT.
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That is not entirely true though, is it? Several clinical trials show that laser treatment can increase hair growth in men and women with androgenic alopecia. You can criticize those trials because they were not independent but carried out or sponsored by companies marketing laser treatment devices for hair loss, but data is available.

It would be good to see independent tests carried out, but what do you make of those trials that are available? They do not seem completely useless.
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