lpt vs led vs lllt
By Tamim Hamid Posted on 05/07/2024

LPT vs. LED vs. LLLT: Shedding Light on Hair Restoration Therapies

Home-use for light therapy devices are the most affordable solution for hair loss and hair growth in the long term. However, such devices are an investment, and choosing the right one the first-time round is essential to avoid wasting time, money and hair!

Unfortunately, one look at the rival claims made by different manufacturers can be enough to make anyone feel bewildered. It’s easy to suspect that some of the jargon and vague claims are precisely designed to create confusion. But the picture is really quite simple, and there is excellent research out there to guide you to a good choice.

A great deal of scientific expertise has gone into designing the best light therapy devices – for instance, the Theradome device is designed by a former NASA scientist and engineer determined to get the science right and produce the most effective product in the market. All its lasers are made in the USA for ultimate quality, precision, and safety. Lasers are powerful tools, and a laser worn on your head (close to your brain) must be completely safe and reliable. On the other hand, other devices are designed without much reference to research and cut so many corners that good results can hardly be expected, and risks may even be incurred. Some understanding of how light therapy works is needed to tell a good investment from a waste of money.

LPT vs. LED vs. LLLT

So now let's now unravel the science behind the various types of light therapies, and look at the evidence for their effectiveness.

Laser Phototherapy (LPT): 

LPT harnesses the power of lasers to target specific medical conditions, including hair loss and hair regrowth. LPT utilizes lasers exclusively. The coherence, wavelength specificity, and energy density of laser light contribute to its precision and effectiveness in stimulating hair regrowth. The lasers used in such devices are powerful, precision elements designed specifically in line with the latest research on the biological effects of light energy. For example, Theradome uses only the ideal wavelength 680nm lasers for 100% of its lights and never uses LEDs. Their energy output is always consistent.

Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Devices: 

Devices that contain LEDs involve the use of light-emitting diodes to deliver light to the scalp. LEDs emit non-coherent light, which scatters in multiple directions, limiting its ability to penetrate deeply into the scalp. LEDs are manufactured for a wide range of uses, from pilot lights on electronic devices to home décor, toys, and fashion applications. Unscrupulous manufacturers may use LEDs to lower the cost of the device, but no clinical studies exist that show LEDs are effective at stopping hair loss or growing new hair; the use of LEDs in comparison with the laser to combat hair loss is not supported by science.

Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT): 

LLLT refers to the use of low-level light energy as a therapeutic treatment. This term usually means that a device can have a combination of both laser and LED therapy or all LED, as well as other non-laser-based light therapies. The label is vague and not particularly helpful. Exposing your scalp to the beam from a car headlight or sitting under a household lamp light could be considered LLLT, for example!

While LLLT devices may include lasers, they often utilize LEDs to substantially lower their manufacturing cost. The efficacy of LLLT in promoting hair regrowth, therefore, varies depending on the type of light source used. Any device with LEDs is considered to be completely ineffective for treating hair loss and hair regrowth. Furthermore, no type of laser can be used to regrow hair or stop hair loss. It has been clinically proven that the most effective laser should be 680nm for use in hair growth and stopping hair loss; anything less than 680nm is not as effective.

Key Distinctions Among Hair Restoration Therapies:

Let's look at the key distinctions among LPT, LED, and LLLT:

  • Coherence: 

Laser light is focused, which allows it to be delivered deep into the skin, as though through the needle of a syringe. Laser light can penetrate 5mm through the scalp to reach the hair follicles. In contrast, LED light lacks coherence and is diffused and scattered widely in all directions. This means it reaches only the very top layers of skin, stopping far short of the follicles where new hairs start to grow.

  • Wavelength: 

Laser therapy typically uses wavelengths clinically optimized for hair regrowth. Research shows that the ideal wavelength for stimulating hair growth is around 680 nanometers (nm). Lasers used in LPT, such as Theradome’s proprietary VL680 lasers, emit light at exactly this optimal wavelength. This specific wavelength of laser light is absorbed by chromophores within hair follicles, directly promoting hair regrowth. LEDs, on the other hand, emit light at a wide variety of wavelengths outside the optimal range. These other wavelengths of light have never been shown to stimulate hair growth or stop hair loss.

  • Energy Density: 

Lasers deliver higher energy density compared to LEDs, ensuring more efficient stimulation of hair follicles. Lasers are 150 times more powerful than LEDs. LED produces only 5% of the energy needed to stimulate the follicle and promote hair growth. It’s not only too little energy but also too much, which can be a concern. The lasers in Theradome uniquely combine both powerful and consistent energy output. Like no others on the market, Theradome lasers do not lose strength or performance over the length of treatment time. Other laser devices lose power and can generate excess heat, which can actually cause hair loss! Because this issue is so critical, Theradome lasers are carefully designed so as to manage the heat created, guaranteeing the lasers stay “cool” at all times.

  • Cost Considerations: 

One big reason for the widespread use of LEDs in hair restoration devices is cost. LEDs are considerably cheaper than lasers, that’s why they are used abundantly in many consumer electronic products (i.e. digital clocks, on and off switches, etc.) Each LED costs only a few cents. While lasers offer superior efficacy, the affordability of LEDs means we see them everywhere. Theradome’s lasers are grown in an FDA-registered facility in Silicon Valley, CA, which means they adhere to strict quality control standards of precision and safety.

  • Clinical Evidence: 

Numerous clinical studies have evaluated the efficacy of LPT, LED, and LLLT in promoting hair regrowth. While laser therapy has consistently demonstrated significant improvements in hair count, thickness, and overall quality, the evidence supporting the clinical efficacy of LED therapy just isn’t there. There are no clinical papers today that prove LED’s efficacy for promoting hair growth or stopping hair loss. Theradome is the only LPT device that uses the gold standard of clinical trials, which includes the following characteristics: the trial has adopted a randomized, multi-centered, double-blinded, sham-controlled (i.e., placebo), and has clearly shown that hair growth is achieved in about 26 weeks. This data was used to submit to the FDA as the first-ever FDA-cleared wearable LPT device in the world. No other device has been able to match these clinical results.

  • Practical Considerations: 

In addition to scientific considerations, practical factors play a role in the selection of hair restoration therapies. Laser devices, such as the Theradome, are completely wireless, wearable laser helmets that offer convenience and ease of use, allowing individuals to undergo treatment at home and while on the go. Theradome is the only device with guided voice instructions and one-button operation. LLLT and LED devices may require longer treatment durations or more frequent sessions, making them less convenient for daily use. Especially if the device is designed as a comb, brush, or band, as this requires continually stopping and moving the device to cover the entire scalp vs. a helmet that provides 100% scalp coverage.


In conclusion, while LED therapy may offer a more affordable alternative to laser phototherapy, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the superior efficacy of laser phototherapy (LPT) for encouraging the health and growth of your hair. Only they have been proven by science to stop and reverse hair loss. Only devices that, like the Theradome, have been specially designed to guarantee their lasers stay cool can avoid the chance of actually damaging your hair. LED devices can be tempting because they are often relatively affordable, but even a small price is too much to pay for something that just doesn’t work or even does harm. The right laser light phototherapy device might be the last investment you make to preserve your head of hair. By following the odds and the science, you can make that investment a good one - one that you’ll never have cause to regret.


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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.