led vs laser for hair growth
By Tamim Hamid Posted on 01/04/2024

Laser vs LED Therapy for Hair Growth: Which is Better?

If you're wondering which treatment is better for hair growth - LED or laser - you've come to the right place! We'll explore their effectiveness, benefits, and considerations, helping you decide on the best treatment for your hair. By understanding the contrasts between LED and laser for hair growth, you can choose the option that suits your needs and goals. Get ready to discover the critical factors in the LED vs laser debate for hair growth!

If you’re among the 50% of Americans who are struggling with hair loss, you’ve likely looked into Low-Level Laser Therapy. LLLT is also referred to as Laser Phototherapy (LPT) and laser light therapy for hair growth.

After all, it carries a big promise! Laser hair growth treatment has the power to stop hair loss, thicken existing hair, and grow new hair. Pretty incredible, huh?

It’s no wonder that in the past few years, LLLT helmets have flooded the market. Ideally, these devices provide clinical-strength therapy and results from the comfort of your own home.

For devices that use actual lasers, this is exactly the case. However, a large majority of LLLT helmets use LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for hair growth treatments in place of medical grade lasers.

How Does Light Therapy Work for Hair Growth?

If you’re experiencing hair loss, it means your hair follicles are no longer functioning optimally or getting the energy they need. This is where your mitochondria come in. Mitochondria are the power plants of your cells. And when they are revived or restimulated, your hair stays intact, and new hair can grow.

The challenge is that your hair follicles are deep below the surface, and restoring them requires a precise dose of energy.

Laser hair growth treatment must be able to penetrate your scalp all the way to the hair follicle, with the right type of light therapy for growth, in the right wavelength, and with enough power.

Here’s how LEDs and lasers differ when it comes to these three metrics.

Light Coherence: Lasers vs LEDs

There is a notable distinction in the light emission between laser and LED. Lasers emit monochromatic and coherent light, meaning it is a single-color wavelength, and the light waves are in phase.

The single wavelength makes laser light ideal for medical treatments because certain tissues (including hair follicles) only respond to particular wavelengths of light. Laser light’s coherence keeps the energy focused and the beam narrow so that it can effectively penetrate deeper into the scalp and reach your hair follicles.

LEDs don't emit like lasers. LEDs emit light in a range of wavelengths rather than one specific wavelength. Additionally, the beam is incoherent and wider than a laser's, so it can't penetrate as far into the scalp. That's why LEDs are not effective, like lasers, to reach and stimulate hair follicles.

Wavelength: Lasers vs LEDs

According to the Swedish Laser Medical Society, 680 nm is the optimal wavelength of light for reaching and stimulating hair follicle cells. Between laser and LED, only lasers can reach this wavelength. Since lasers deliver light at one specified wavelength, they can be targeted specifically for this wavelength.

Because LEDs are neither monochromatic nor coherent, they cannot target this very specific wavelength, and their beams do not actually reach the hair follicle. This makes them therapeutically useless when it comes to hair restoration.

However, it’s important to note that Theradome is the only LPT/LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy) device that delivers the ideal wavelength of 680 nm! Every other LPT/LLLT device uses cheap lasers that are used for DVDs and CDs, and they are not medical grade lasers as they are used for the consumer electronics industry and NOT for hair growth.

Theradome, however, creates its own lasers right here in Silicon Valley, California, specifically to deliver 680 nm wavelengths.

Power: Lasers vs. LEDs

The final factor to consider is power. In order to effectively stimulate hair follicles, you need enough energy to reach them to produce a photobiomodulation effect.

Well, energy = power X time. And since light becomes more dispersed the farther it travels, you need a significant amount of power for the light to be strong enough once it reaches your hair follicle cells.

Additionally, since energy = power X time, the more powerful the laser, the more energy is produced and in a shorter amount of time. This means that powerful lasers are not only more effective, they produce results in less time.

Lasers produce far more power than what LEDs are capable of. To put it plainly, LEDs are simply not powerful enough to have a therapeutic effect when it comes to hair growth. To be specific, a laser can deliver about 150 times more joules than an LED, which means deeper penetration and at 680 nm wavelengths, this provides even deeper penetration.

What is Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss?

Red Light Therapy (RLT) for hair loss treatment, also knowns as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or photo biomodulation therapy, is a non-invasive treatment that uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate hair growth and combat hair loss. The therapy involves the application of specific wavelengths of light to the scalp, which are thought to penetrate the skin and hair follicles, promote hair growth and improve the overall health of the hair.

What does Red light therapy for Hair Loss look like?

Red light therapy for hair loss is typically administered using specialized devices that emit red or near-infrared light. The wavelengths need to come from LED sources that deliver maximum power to be effective. Devices like Theradome Laser Hair Growth helmets are safe and easy to use at home.

These treatment caps encourage new hair growth by delivering the light wavelength, stimulating the mitochondria, and promoting blood flow across the scalp. Also, red light therapies can influence the creation of new capillaries by bringing necessary nutrients and oxygen to cells.

Just like natural sunlight help in plants thrives, red wavelengths reduce oxidative stress, which helps the body regrow hair. Red light treatment can also effectively and efficiently shift energy around the body, speeding up the healing process.

Does Red light therapy for hair loss actually work?

Red light therapy works for hair loss treatment in some people but not others. It's still unclear why the discrepancy exists; more research is necessary to determine who is a good candidate for red light therapy.

Studies have shown that RLT can promote hair growth, increase hair density, and improve the overall thickness and quality of hair in some individuals. It is believed to achieve this by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles, improving cellular metabolism, and stimulating hair follicle cells.

In a 2017 trial testing the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy on women with hair loss, researchers found that women who received red light therapy at 650 nm experienced a 51% increase in hair count. Although studies suggest that red light therapy may have a positive impact on hair follicles, the overall results remain inconsistent.

Pros and cons of Red light therapy

Red Light Therapy (RLT) has gained popularity as a non-invasive treatment with various potential benefits. However, like any medical or cosmetic therapy, there are some pros and cons of RLT. Here are some:

Pros

  • RLT is a non-invasive treatment.
  • It has minimal side effects.
  • It has the potential for hair growth.
  • It helps in skin rejuvenation.
  • It has the potential to enhance wound healing.

Cons

  • RLT effectiveness varies from person to person.
  • It has limited studies to back it up.
  • RLT can be time-consuming.
  • High-quality RLT devices can be expensive.
  • RLT can cause eye damage if directed at the eyes.

LED Light Therapy For Hair Growth

LED (Light Emitting Diode) light hair loss therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses specific wavelengths of LED light to stimulate hair growth and combat hair loss. It is a form of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and is often referred to as "LED LLLT" or "LED Red Light Therapy" when used for hair loss.

The therapy works similar to Red Light Therapy, but instead of using lasers, it employs LED lights that emit specific wavelengths of red or near-infrared light. These wavelengths are believed to penetrate the scalp and hair follicles, promoting cellular activity and improving blood circulation in the area. The increased blood flow can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles, potentially stimulating growth and improving hair health.

Why do companies use LEDs?

Many companies choose to either use LEDs exclusively or a mix of lasers and LEDs to cut costs. LEDs are inexpensive and easy to make. That’s why LEDs are often used as on-off indicators in electronic devices. Lasers, on the other hand, produce an intense beam of light and meet scientific-grade standards.

As you might imagine, lasers and LEDs produce very different outcomes when it comes to hair restoration.

To understand exactly how the effectiveness of an LED cap compares to a laser hair growth cap, let’s look at how LLLT works and three key factors where the two differ.

How LED light therapy for hair growth work?

LED Light Therapy utilizes specific wavelengths of red or near-infrared light to stimulate cellular activity in the scalp and hair follicles. The light energy is believed to trigger various biological responses that may promote hair growth and improve the overall health of the hair. Here's how LED light therapy for hair growth works:

1. Penetration of Light

LEDs devices emit specific wavelengths of light, typically red or near-infrared spectrum. These wavelengths can penetrate the skin and reach hair follicles and underlying tissues without generating heat or causing damage to the skin.

2. Stimulation of Cellular Activity

Once the red and near-infrared light is absorbed by the cells in the scalp and hair follicles, it stimulates cellular activity and energy production within the mitochondria. This process is called photobiomodulation, where the light energy is converted into cellular energy (ATP).

3. Improved Blood Circulation

LED light therapy is believed to enhance blood circulation in the treated area, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles. This help in reviving dormant or weakened follicles.

4. Reduction of Inflammation

LED light therapy may have anti-inflammatory effects, reducing scalp inflammation. LED therapy potentially supports healthier hair growth since inflammation is mitigated by LED therapy which is associated with certain types of hair loss.

5. Proliferation of Hair Cells

The light energy is considered to stimulate the proliferation of hair cells, which promotes the development of new hair strands and strengthens existing ones.

6. Extended Growth Phase (Anagen)

LED ight therapy may also help extend the duration of the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle, leading to longer and thicker hair.

7. Slowing Hair Loss

LED Light Therapy may also slow down hair loss progression by improving the overall health and resilience of the hair.

Benefits of LED hair growth therapy

LED Hair Therapy offers several potential benefits for individuals experiencing hair loss or thinning. Here are some key benefits:

  • Promotes growth by stimulating cellular activity in the hair follicles.
  • Increase hair density with consistent use.
  • Improve hair health by promoting better circulation and delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles.
  • It is a non-invasive treatment that doesn't require surgery or needles.
  • It is considered safe with minimal risk of side effects.
  • It is convenient and available for home use.
  • Suitable for various hair types and can be used by both men and women.
  • It also has additional benefits like stimulating collagen production, which improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Side effects of Red LED light for hair growth treatments

Although red LED light hair loss treatment is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, there are some potential side effects and considerations to be aware of:

  • Mild Skin Irritation in the treated area.
  • LED lights are harmful to the eyes. It can cause eye damage.
  • It may make the skin photosensitive i.e., sensitive to sunlight.
  • It might not be suitable for certain medical conditions or those taking photosensitizing medications.
  • It requires consistent and regular use to achieve noticeable results. So you need to be patient and adhere to the recommended treatment schedule.
  • This is often used as a complementary treatment alongside other therapies. So, it might not be suitable for severe or advanced cases of hair loss.
  • Some individuals may also develop allergic reactions to the materials used in LED devices.

Laser Treatment For Hair Loss

Laser treatment for hair loss, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or laser hair therapy, is a non-invasive medical procedure using low-level laser devices emitting specific wavelengths of light to stimulate hair growth and combat hair loss. This treatment addresses various types of hair loss, including androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern hair loss) and certain cases of alopecia areata.

Laser treatment for hair loss can be administered using laser helmets caps and helmets. The hair loss treatment is generally painless, and it has no downtime or recovery period. However, the laser therapy for hair loss is not a quick fix. It takes time to notice results, and multiple sessions are usually required.

Does laser treatment for hair loss work?

LLLT, also known as cold laser therapy, irradiates photons into scalp tissues. The procedure is less invasive than a hair transplant, making it safe and tolerable. Laser phototherapy works by invigorating circulation and stimulation, which encourages hair follicles to grow hair.

However, the results are inconsistent, as it seems to work for some people but not as effectively for others. A 2013 study of 41 males aged 18 to 48 found that laser hair treatment provided a 39 percent increase in hair growth over a period of 16 weeks. In another study in 2014, LLLT was found to be safe and effective for promoting hair growth in both men and women.

Explore in detail whether laser caps actually work through our comprehensive article..

Who is a good candidate for laser hair regrowth?

A good candidate for laser hair regrowth may include:

  • Laser hair regrowth is likely to be effective for individuals with androgenetic alopecia.
  • Laser hair restoration may suit individuals experiencing mild to moderate hair loss.
  • Another good candidate can be an individual who has experienced hair loss within the last six months to a year.
  • Patients who prefer non-invasive treatments can opt for the laser hair regrowth option.
  • Some individuals may not be suitable for medications. Therefore, laser hair restoration can be considered an alternative option in such cases.
  • Laser hair regrowth requires consistent and long-term use to notice results. Candidates must be willing to adhere to a prescribed treatment plan and be patient, as results may take several months.

Pros and cons of laser treatment for hair loss

Laser treatment for hair loss is widely popular as a potential solution. Here are some of the pros and cons of laser therapy:

Pros

  • It is non-invasive and painless.
  • It is considered safe with minimal side effects.
  • It is convenient and portable.
  • There is little to no downtime. It means individuals can resume their daily activities immediately.
  • There is the potential for hair growth with improved hair density and thickness.

Cons

  • It might not work for everyone.
  • It requires consistent use and a long time to notice results.
  • High-quality laser devices can be expensive.
  • Laser hair therapy is most effective for individuals experiencing early stages of hair loss or thinning.
  • Only laser treatment may not be sufficient for severe hair loss.

Learn More on benefits of Laser Caps for Hair Loss.

LED Vs Laser Treatment For Hair Growth: Side by Side Comparision

Here's a simple difference table highlighting the key contrasts between laser and LED therapy for hair growth

Basis Laser Treatment LED Therapy

Light Beam

Laser light stays focused and narrow, allowing it to go deep into the scalp and reach your hair follicles more effectively.

The light beam from an LED is scattered and wider compared to a laser, which means it cannot reach as deep into the scalp.
Wavelength Lasers can deliver light at wavelength of 680nm for reaching & stimulating hair follicle cells. LEDs cannot target the wavelength of 680nm and hence their beams can't reach the hair follicle.
Power Lasers produce more power than LEDs and are powerful enough to produce a photo biomodulation effect. LEDs are not powerful enough to produce a therapeutic effect on hair growth.
Energy Lasers produce energy in a shorter amount of time and produce results in less time. LEDs cannot produce the same energy like lasers in a shorter amount of time.


Choosing a High-Quality Laser Hair Growth Device

To get real results with the best outcome possible, always choose a hair restoration device that uses real lasers, never LEDs. And do your research when it comes to wavelength and power. As we just discussed, those two elements are key for effectively stimulating hair growth.

Theradome’s PRO LH80 and EVO LH40 laser hair growth helmets feature high-quality lasers that are created right here in Silicon Valley, California, specifically to achieve the optimal 680 nm wavelength. They also deliver the most power (38.4 joules/cm2) of any LPT/LLLT device for maximum hair follicle stimulation and the most breakthrough hair restoration results.

FAQs

How can laser technology help my hair loss?

Laser technology, specifically LLLT for hair loss, can stimulate hair follicles, increase blood flow to the scalp, and promote cell metabolism. As a result, it improves hair growth, and thick hair and potentially slow down hair loss. It is a non-invasive treatment option that is often used to complement other hair loss treatments for better results.

How does laser hair therapy work?

Laser hair therapy works by emitting red light with specific wavelengths onto the scalp. This light is absorbed by hair follicles, stimulating cellular energy production and increasing blood flow to the area. As a result, hair follicles enter the growth phase, which leads to improved hair growth and overall hair health.

Does red light therapy cause hair growth in other places?

Red light therapy is generally targeted and used specifically on areas where hair growth is desired, such as the scalp for hair loss treatment. So, when used correctly, red light therapy should not cause hair growth in unwanted areas as it is typically applied locally and not systematically.

How is LED light therapy done? How long does it take?

LED light for hair growth therapy involves using a device with LED diodes emitting red light to the skin. The procedure is painless and requires no downtime. Depending on the treatment and condition, LED light therapy sessions usually last around 10-30 minutes. The number of sessions required varies depending on the individual's needs and the specific condition being addressed.

Which is better, laser vs led for hair growth?

Lasers therapy produces significantly more power than LED lights for hair growth. LEDs may not be powerful enough to have a therapeutic effect on hair growth. Although lasers are more expensive and more powerful than LEDs, they are capable of promoting hair growth. Therefore, lasers are generally considered to be more effective than LEDs for hair growth.

Take control of your hair's destiny with Theradome. Order your laser helmet or laser cap now and embark on a journey to stronger, more vibrant hair. Act decisively and let Theradome guide you towards the hair you've always envisioned.

Do laser hair growth devices work?

Laser hair growth devices, often used to treat hair loss or thinning, have shown promise in some cases. The effectiveness of these devices can vary from person to person. Scientific evidence and clinical studies have indicated that Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) devices work by stimulating the hair follicles, increasing blood flow to the scalp, and promoting cell metabolism. These devices can also be used in combination with other hair loss treatments.

What is the best wavelength for hair growth?

The best wavelength for stimulating hair growth using low-level laser therapy (LLLT) typically falls within the red to near-infrared spectrum. According to the Swedish Laser Medical Society, 680 nanometers is the optimal wavelength for reaching and stimulating hair follicle cells.


Azadgoli B, Baker RY. Laser applications in surgery. Annals of Translational Medicine. 2016;4(23):452. doi:10.21037/atm.2016.11.51

Knappe, V & Frank, Frank & Rohde, Ewa. Principles of Lasers and Biophotonic Effects. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. 2004;22: 411-7. 10.1089/pho.2004.22.411.

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Tamim Hamid

Tamim Hamid

Inventor and CEO of Theradome

Sayyid Tamim Hamid, Ph.D, is the inventor of the world’s first FDA-cleared, wearable phototherapy device to prevent hair loss and thicken and regrow hair. Tamim, a former biomedical engineer at NASA and the inventor of Theradome, brings with him more than 38 years of expertise in product development, laser technology, and biomedical science. Tamim used his laser knowledge, fine-tuned at NASA, and combined it with his driving passion for helping others pursue a lifelong mission in hair loss and restoration. He is now one of the world’s leading experts.