Does it appear strange to you that Laser Phototherapy (LPT) can be administered in so many different ways? How can one contraption reverse hair loss with 30-second bursts of light while the Theradome is proven to restore hair with 20-minute sessions?
Googling “laser hair therapy” ends up cluttering your screen with a bunch of devices, and they’re all so different! So how is treatment time related to whether laser phototherapy actually works? And why are 20 minutes required to treat hair loss?
The Key Factor in Laser Phototherapy
Laser phototherapy and the Theradome is clinically proven to reverse male or female hair loss by minimizing shedding, thickening hair diameter, and promoting new hair growth. However, this only occurs if an optimal dosage of energy is absorbed at the base of hair follicles. Any laser phototherapy helmet that fails to do so isn’t worth your time.
Biostimulation, the Goal of Laser Phototherapy
Picture a shrinking hair follicle that has no energy and is dying. Zoom in with an imaginary microscope and you’ll see that the powerhouse of hair cells– the mitochondria– are no longer functioning as they should be.
Shine laser light on the mitochondria for 20 minutes and voilà, the mitochondria are revived, which means they can convert light energy into chemical energy. This chemical energy is now available to reverse hair miniaturization.
The process we’ve described is called biostimulation and only occurs when an optimal dosage of energy is absorbed by the mitochondria of hair cells.
There’s that term again: optimal dosage of energy. We’ve mentioned “shining laser light for 20 minutes” a few times now; so hopefully, the importance of time in laser phototherapy is becoming loud and clear. But let’s dig a little deeper: how do we calculate energy dosage and determine whether a laser phototherapy device can achieve biostimulation?
What is Energy Dosage?
Energy dosage, which you can think of as a medical dose to treat an ailment, is measured in joules (J) per area in squared centimeters (cm2). While you can still get minimal benefits from a very low dose, you need to aim for a higher dose when it comes to hair restoration.
An energy dosage between 6 J/cm2 to 10 J/cm2 should do just the trick. And you don’t want to go higher than that: you can actually cause suppression of the growth of the hair follicle when too much energy is delivered to the hair follicles. It would be best to space out treatments at least 4 to 8 hours between treatments.
If your intuition tells you that a longer treatment results in a higher energy dosage, you’re absolutely right. The other important thing to keep in mind is power density. You probably already have an idea of what power is since you deal with electronic equipment daily. Now think about how much power is being produced by a laser beam over 1 cm2 of scalp area being treated by laser phototherapy. That’s power density.
Comparing Different Treatment Times
Here’s the number one thing to keep in mind. Say we pick a generic value for power density (i.e.– 5 mW/cm2) and calculate the energy dosage of different laser phototherapy treatment times. You can only get the minimum (6 J/cm2) required for hair follicle stimulation with 20 minutes. Here’s what we mean.
- A laser comb targets different areas of the scalp during combing for an average of 4 seconds. Assuming our generic power density, we get an energy dosage of 0.02 J/cm2. Hair follicles don’t get stimulated.
- A laser band normally gets used for periods of 30 seconds. Assuming a generic power density, we an energy dosage of 0.15 J/cm2. Once again, we fail to achieve biostimulation.
- A laser cap operates with pulsed lasers as opposed to emitting continuous light. Picture lasers turning ON and OFF during an entire treatment, which pretty much cuts treatment time in half (15 minutes). This gets us an energy dosage of 5 J/cm2, which isn’t enough.
- Now let’s examine a laser helmet, such as the Theradome LH80 PRO. The Theradome provides full-scalp coverage and is worn on the head for a total of 20 minutes. This gives us an energy dosage of 6 J/cm2 assuming the same generic power density. Did a light bulb light up above you? Good. Even better if Handel’s glorious Messiah is now resonating through your head. An energy dosage of 6 J/cm2 is sufficient to trigger the effective biostimulation of hair follicles.
Naturally, the power density used in this example in truth varies for each laser phototherapy device; in fact the Theradome provides an energy dosage much greater than 6 J/cm2. But hopefully you now understand why 20 minutes is required to treat hair loss. You need a device that not only treats all scalp areas during one convenient session, but 20 minutes guarantees that an optimal dosage of energy is absorbed by your hair follicles, triggering the reversal of hair loss at a cellular level.