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Fighting Hair Loss

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Low-light level lasers, in combination with traditional therapy, are a powerful adjunct in the battle against hair loss.

By David P. Melamed, MD, MSc

Healthy Aging Magazine

A new era of nonsurgical hair restoration technology is here for men with hair loss.

We all know that hair loss can be emotionally devastating for women; hair has long been a symbol of feminine beauty and sensuality. But hair loss in men is no less devastating. Men report reduced self-esteem, difficulty dating and trouble securing a new job. A balding hairline makes a man look and feel older than he is.

Many men with hair loss have dreamed of the “magic bullet,” the special vitamin or treatment that will reverse hair loss. Surgical hair treatments, such as hair transplantation, scalp reduction, flaps and tissue expansion, are available. So is medication, such as Minoxidil and Propecia. However, most treatments have been disappointing, usually saving the hair that’s already there, but doing little to grow back the hair that’s already lost.

For obvious reasons, most men are skeptical of treatments that promise to reverse hair loss. But a new era of hair restoration technology, using “cold” laser hair therapy (LHT), offers hope for those who don’t have advanced hair loss. LHT alone and in combination with topical andlor oral medications has produced excellent results for men and women. Also known as “cold” lasers, LHT uses therapeutic soft low-light level lasers (LLLL) that were developed in Europe for healing wounds, treating hair loss and other diseases of the scalp.

The laser uses a pure visible red light at 633 nm, the optimum wavelength and frequency to stimulate a dramatic increase in micro-circulation of blood supply in the scalp. This increases cellular metabolism and promotes the repair of damaged cells and weakened hair follicles, leading to the cessation of hair loss and the stimulation of hair re-growth. The exact mechanism of action for visible red LHT at the cellular and sub-cellular level is not clear. However, current evidence suggests the effects are based on enhanced cell proliferation. Specific biological effects can be seen by irradiating a cel1.1 In particular, 633 nm light directly affects the physical state of pore molecules.

The physical state of a cell is affected by changing the permeability to calcium ions. An abrupt and transient increase in calcium ion concentrations act as intracellular messengers. This photochemical change affects the mito-chondria, and, in turn, messenger RNA synthesis, which ultimately leads to the observed enhancement of cell proliferation.

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