Laser Treatment for Hair Loss: A Complete Guide


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Losing your hair and want to do something about it? While it may not be the first solution you think of, laser treatment for hair loss is a newer option for hair regrowth, and it’s safer and more tolerable than it sounds.

Also referred to as red light therapy or cold laser therapy, low-level light therapy (LLLT) stimulates hair follicles by exposing the scalp to photons that encourage hair growth. 

Below is an explainer on the science behind laser hair growth treatments and how effective laser hair therapy actually is, as well as other science-based treatment options for hair loss.

Laser Treatment for Hair Loss: The Basics

Laser treatments for hair loss are designed to increase blood flow and nutrient supply to stimulate the growth of new hairs. Currently, there are numerous laser products available to treat hair loss, including hand-held devices, laser caps and larger devices used in salons and clinics.

Unlike hair loss medications such as finasteride, laser treatments don’t lower your DHT levels or affect your hormones in any way. However, while several studies on laser treatment for hair loss have shown positive results, LLLT hasn’t been tested as thoroughly as hair loss medications.

Pricing for laser hair growth treatments can vary based on your location and the number of sessions you need. At-home laser devices can range in price from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars for high-end devices. 

What Is Laser Treatment for Hair Loss?

Laser treatment for hair loss, or low-level laser therapy, is a modern treatment option for several different types of hair loss.

The idea of using a laser to treat hair loss first appeared in the 1960s, when mice exposed to low-power laser light experienced hair growth. 

Although laser technology has improved significantly since then, experts aren’t yet fully aware of exactly how lasers cause hair growth. 

Currently, evidence suggests that low-level laser therapy may work by triggering vasodilation (a widening of blood vessels) and stimulating blood flow to specific areas of your skin like your hair follicles. Researchers believe that this causes your hair to enter the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle.

This mechanism of action is similar to that produced by topical minoxidil, one of the two medications approved by the FDA to treat hair loss.

Several different laser devices are available to treat hair loss. Large laser hair growth machines, which typically have a hood that fits over the scalp, are commonly used in hair loss clinics and hair salons. Smaller devices, like red light therapy laser hair growth combs, hats and helmets, are designed using similar technology for use at home.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Laser Treatments for Hair Loss

Like other treatment options for hair loss, low-level laser therapy has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantages of this type of hair loss treatment include:

It’s painless and noninvasive. Compared to procedures like hair transplant surgery or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, laser treatment for hair loss is non-invasive, painless and has a much shorter recovery time.

It doesn’t appear to cause side effects. Research into low-level laser therapy shows that it’s generally a safe method for stimulating hair growth. It hasn’t been found to cause the side effects associated with some hair loss medications.

It appears to be an effective treatment of hair loss. Although the amount of research is limited, most studies on low-level laser therapy show that it can stimulate hair growth.

Disadvantages of this type of hair loss treatment include:

It can be expensive. Since laser hair growth treatments need to be performed regularly, the costs can add up to thousands of dollars over time. At-home laser hair caps, helmets and other devices are also expensive to purchase.

It’s time-consuming and inconvenient. Compared to taking a daily pill or undergoing a one-off hair transplant surgery, using a laser hair growth device several times each week can require a significant time investment.

Although research is generally positive, it isn’t very extensive. Right now, there are significantly fewer studies on laser treatment than there are of hair loss medications such as minoxidil and finasteride.

It can cause issues when used with certain medications. Laser treatments shouldn’t be used alongside medications or treatments that cause photosensitivity. If you take certain medications or have an underlying medical condition, consider talking to a physician first.

How Do Laser Hair Growth Treatments Work?

Laser hair growth treatments, or low-level laser therapy, aim to improve hair growth and treat hair loss by improving circulation and stimulating new hair growth.

Most laser hair growth therapy devices work by emitting a light that penetrates the scalp. Although the scientific research is limited, proponents of laser therapy believe that this may enhance blood flow and stimulate laser hair restoration. 

For instance, near-infrared or red light lasers can promote the repair and regeneration of tissue. Because of this, laser therapy is often used by dermatologists for wound healing and several cosmetic skin treatments. 

(RelatedFinasteride & Minoxidil: The Most Effective Hair Loss Combo?)

Do Laser Hair Growth Treatments Actually Work?

At this point, there isn’t enough high-quality scientific research to confidently confirm whether laser treatments for hair growth are effective. 

The first scientific research into laser treatments for hair loss was performed by chance in the 1960s, when scientists studying mice noticed an increase in hair shaft quantity and diameter after exposure to a low fluence red laser.

Since then, various studies have aimed to determine whether or not lasers actually help to stimulate hair growth and treat male pattern baldness (also called androgenetic alopecia or androgenic alopecia).

Overall, the results are mixed but largely positive.

A review of clinical trials concluded that laser treatments for hair loss seem to improve certain types of non-scarring hair loss, including hair loss caused by male pattern baldness.

Another evidence-based review found that several moderate to high-quality studies showed that laser therapy devices were safe and effective in people with male pattern baldness.

A more recent scientific review found that 10 out of 11 studies on laser hair treatment devices showed significant improvements, with one study indicating improvements but not reaching statistical significance.

Finally, a 2020 scientific review published in Skin Appendage Disorders concluded that laser hair therapy appears to be effective, with a good safety profile and minor side effects. However, it also noted that some of the research conducted thus far appears to be associated with the laser hair device industry.

Types of Laser Hair Growth Treatments & Devices

A variety of LLLT devices are available today, including caps, helmets and combs that use laser technology to thicken hair. We’ve listed some of the most common devices below, along with information on how each one works and its effectiveness on thinning hair.

Capillus and Other Laser Hair Regrowth Caps

Capillus is a popular brand of hair regrowth caps. Marketed as “laser therapy caps,” they feature built-in, low-level lasers with a total power output ranging from 410 to 1,560 milliwatts. 

The products sold by Capillus are cleared by the FDA, and marketed as being “recommended” by physicians. They’re also backed by a small scientific study that showed patients achieved a 51 percent increase in hair count over the course of 17 weeks. 

Despite this study, it’s unclear how effective Capillus products are as a treatment for male pattern baldness. The company’s study was carried out on women with hair loss and featured no male participants, making it difficult to draw any definitive conclusions about its efficacy beyond female pattern hair loss.

Further, the study was supported by the company’s head of quality assurance and governmental affairs, which suggests a potential for bias in the study’s results.

Beyond this study, it’s also worth noting that Capillus has attracted some attention from the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau for its somewhat aggressive marketing practices.

Lastly, Capillus products are a little on the pricier side, with its cheapest hair loss cap selling for more than $900 retail. 

(RelatedDoes Prednisone Cause Hair Loss?)

Laser Bands, Combs, Helmets and Other Products

A variety of bands, combs, helmets and other products containing lasers are often marketed as hair regrowth treatments for home use. Many of these products claim to produce superior results compared to other hair loss treatments, and in a convenient, easy-to-use form.

In general, the scientific evidence to support these marketing claims is mixed. 

Some products, such as the HairMax Lasercomb, are backed by scientific evidence. For instance, a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology found a modest but statistically significant difference in terminal hair density between people who used the Lasercomb and those who used a sham device.

However, other products aren’t backed up much in the way of scientific research, and instead largely rely on marketing claims and customer testimonials.

Further, like other laser hair growth devices, bands, combs and helmets generally aren’t cheap. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars for some devices to thousands of dollars for others, with many devices bundled with thickening shampoos and other personal care products.

How Much Does Laser Treatment for Hair Loss Cost?

The cost of laser treatment for hair loss can vary depending on your location, the severity of your hair loss and the type of laser device used during treatment. 

When performed in a clinic, laser therapy will likely cost somewhere around the hundred dollar range per session. At-home laser treatment devices such as hats, helmets and combs can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. 

Laser Hair Growth Treatments: A Final Thought

Some scientific research has found that low-level laser therapy may offer certain benefits for hair growth. 

However, the research that’s currently available isn’t particularly comprehensive. Many of the studies on laser hair growth products are small in scale and focused on general hair loss rather than male pattern baldness specifically.

All of this to say, if you’re affected by male pattern baldness, a laser device might help promote growth and restore some of your hair. But a better approach may be to talk to a licensed healthcare provider about your options. 

For instance, FDA-approved medications can prevent further hair loss and help with regrowth in affected areas of your scalp and hairline — and they’re evidence-backed. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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Can Finasteride Help With My Particular Type of Hair Loss? Everything You Need to Know

Can Finasteride Help With My Particular Type of Hair Loss? Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve been looking into Propecia or its generic finasteride, for hair loss, you probably have many questions. Good news! As you might expect from the headline, we’re here to answer a lot of them at once. The first thing to know? Finasteride is a popular and safe medication for hair loss that is effective for many men with few adverse effects.

Oral finasteride does two things: it prevents further hair loss due to androgenic alopecia by protecting follicles and promotes hair growth on the scalp. It’s one of the few treatments for male pattern baldness on the market today that have been proven effective.

How it works, how much to take and what side effects to expect — that’s what we’ll dive into below.


You may have heard of finasteride, a generic medication also sold as Propecia or Proscar. Propecia is a brand name that’s used to market finasteride sold by the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Finasteride, whether a generic or brand name, is used to treat androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.

Originally, finasteride was FDA-approved as medication for benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH — a form of non-cancerous prostate enlargement — under the brand name Proscar.

Several years later, it was approved for hair loss and sold as Propecia. Today, both versions of finasteride — the higher-dose version used to treat an enlarged prostate gland and the lower-dose version used for hair loss — are available as generics and under various brand names.

Finasteride comes in tablet form and is designed for daily use, according to an article published in the book StatPearls. It’s typically prescribed at 1mg per day as a treatment for hair loss.

Chris Curry/Istockphoto

Finasteride tablets belong to a class of medications called 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs. It works by inhibiting the action of the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme, which is involved in converting testosterone into the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT plays a central role in male pattern baldness. If you’re genetically prone to hair loss, DHT can bind to receptors in your hair follicles and cause them to miniaturize, resulting in a gradual loss of hair around your hairline, crown or across your scalp.

By inhibiting the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme, finasteride significantly reduces the amount of DHT in your bloodstream, shielding your hair follicles from DHT-related damage.

Research shows that using finasteride as recommended lowers serum DHT levels (the amount of DHT in your bloodstream) by more than 70 percent.

This reduction in DHT can slow, or even stop, your hair loss. Many men even notice a significant degree of hair regrowth in areas of the scalp affected by male pattern baldness after starting treatment with finasteride.


So, does finasteride produce results? For most men, absolutely.

Research shows that finasteride works, often very well. In long-term, placebo-controlled clinical trials published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, 90 percent of men with hair loss who used finasteride either maintained their hair or saw improvements in hair growth.

In comparison, 75 percent of men who used a non-therapeutic placebo experienced worsening hair loss over the same period.

In one study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that involved two one-year clinical trials, researchers found that finasteride produced a more than 15 percent increase in hair count at the vertex scalp (the crown or area at the top of the scalp) in men with male pattern baldness.

Another study from Japan, which covered ten years of finasteride use, found that more than 90 percent of men with androgenetic hair loss who use finasteride experience improvements.

In short, finasteride works, with most men experiencing improvements in their hair growth and density with treatment.


It’s common and normal to experience a little bit of hair loss daily. Most guys shed 50 and 100 hairs per day, even if they aren’t affected by male androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.

If you’re one of the many men with male pattern baldness, however, the hair loss you see is due to the effects of a hormone — an androgen — killing off their hair follicles.

Currently, finasteride is FDA-approved to treat male pattern baldness, the most common type of hair loss in men.

However, male pattern hair loss isn’t the only type of hair loss. Other types of hair loss that can affect you include:

  • Telogen effluvium. This is a temporary form of hair loss caused by severe stress, infections, surgery, illnesses that cause fever, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes and certain types of medication.

  • Alopecia areata. This is a form of autoimmune hair loss, in which your hair can fall out in small, round patches. Experts aren’t entirely sure what triggers this type of hair loss, although it may be related to stress, infections and certain medications.

  • Tinea capitis. Also referred to as scalp ringworm, this type of fungal infection can cause patchy hair loss.

Since DHT doesn’t cause these types of hair loss, finasteride isn’t effective at slowing them down, stopping them or reversing their effects.


Like almost all medications, finasteride can cause side effects. Most side effects of finasteride for hair loss are generally mild, although some may impact your quality of life.

Potential side effects of finasteride include:

  • Decreased libido

  • ED

  • Pain or discomfort that affects the testicles

  • ED or problems, such as decreased volume

  • Changes in mood or depression

Side effects — such as ED, difficulty coming and a weaker drive — can sound alarming, and they can happen. But there are also a variety of things you can do to counteract this effect.

Although it’s uncommon in the low-strength version of finasteride used to treat hair loss, some men who use Proscar also report side effects such as breast tenderness and skin rashes. If you experience breast tenderness or nipple discharge, report these side effects to a healthcare provider, as they may be a sign of breast cancer.

Although the risk is low, finasteride is also associated with an increased risk of getting a more severe form of prostate cancer called high-grade prostate cancer.

In men over 55 years old, the risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer increases from 1.0 percent to 1.8 percent with the use of 5mg finasteride.

It’s important to note that this incidence of this severe side effect is from a far higher dosage of finasteride (5 mg tablet vs. 1 mg) than the dose that’s used to treat hair loss.

We also have some more good news about side effects — per the FDA label for finasteride, no significant drug interactions are associated with this medication.

Be sure to seek medical advice and tell a healthcare professional about all your current medications, supplements and health risks before using finasteride.


It’s important to look at these side effects in context before you write off finasteride as a hair loss treatment.

Even in studies of Proscar, the high-strength 5mg version of finasteride, only a small percentage of men report these side effects.

For example, in clinical studies of finasteride for BPH, just over eight percent of men reported an effect on their erections, with 6.4 percent and 3.7 percent of men reporting decreases in libido and a reduced volume, respectively.

Other finasteride side effects, such as breast tenderness and rash, were reported by less than one percent of men who used finasteride in clinical trials.

In clinical trials involving the 1mg per day dose used to treat hair loss, ED from finasteride was far less common, with just 1.8 percent of men reporting a weakened libido and 1.3 percent reporting ED.

It’s worth noting that many men who took a non-therapeutic placebo also reported these side effects.


As with many other medications, some side effects of finasteride may fade away or become less severe with long-term use.

Although this is uncommon, a small percentage of men may continue to experience adverse events after discontinuing the use of finasteride.

(RelatedDoes Topical Finasteride Work? What Should You Expect)


Finasteride is typically sold in two dosages. As a treatment for male pattern baldness, it’s used at a dosage of 1 mg per day.

This is the dose of finasteride you’ll find in most generic versions of finasteride for hair loss, as well as the brand-name medication Propecia.

As a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), finasteride is used at a dosage of 5 mg per day.

This dose can be found in generic forms of finasteride and the brand-name medication Proscar.

People who are breastfeeding, pregnant women, people with liver disease and those taking medications like dutasteride should consult their healthcare provider before taking finasteride.

If you experience an allergic reaction, stop taking finasteride and contact a healthcare provider.


Finasteride is effective, but there’s one catch: it doesn’t work overnight. To get consistent results from finasteride, you’ll need to have a long-term outlook and take it consistently for several months.

On average, it takes three to four months to see new hair or any other improvements from finasteride.

This isn’t because the medication isn’t working. In fact, finasteride starts reducing DHT levels as soon as your body absorbs it.

But your hair takes time to grow, meaning you’ll need to be patient before the effects of finasteride become visible.

Data from clinical trials shows that most guys experience improvements from finasteride after a year of consistent use.

In short, once you start using finasteride, you can expect to see some change in your hair after a few months.

After one year of continuous use, you should be able to see more “final” results from finasteride.


For most men, finasteride is an effective option for treating and preventing hair loss from male pattern baldness.

However, it’s not the only hair loss treatment that’s available. Other affordable and effective hair loss treatment options include:

  • Minoxidil. Minoxidil, a topical medication, helps improve blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair growth. Research shows that minoxidil is particularly effective when it’s used at the same time as finasteride. 

  • Hair loss prevention shampoo. Many shampoos, including those that contain active ingredients such as saw palmetto and ketoconazole, are formulated to prevent excess hair shedding and promote optimal hair growth. 


Is finasteride hair growth the most efficient way to treat hair loss? It’s hard to say. But we know that there are countless men out there who will try just about anything they can to stop male pattern baldness instead of waiting the year for finasteride to work.

Unfortunately, many of the hair loss treatments currently on the market either don’t work or are effective but very expensive. These include:

  • Laser combs and other products. Often referred to as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), these products use laser light to stimulate the hair follicles. Research is mixed on their effectiveness, and many of these devices cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

  • Hair oils. Several essential oils are marketed as treatments for pattern hair loss. While some have been shown to have mild benefits in small studies, none are as effective as FDA-approved hair loss treatments such as finasteride and minoxidil.

  • Corticosteroids. These medications are used to reduce inflammation, which can cause hair loss in certain situations. While they may be useful for some non-hormonal forms of hair loss, there’s no evidence that they prevent or slow down pattern hair loss. In addition, topical corticosteroids may be prescribed for certain inflammatory scalp conditions, but they’re not used for male pattern baldness.

  • Hair transplant surgery. Although hair transplant surgery is effective, it’s an expensive option. The cost of a hair transplant can vary from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of your hair loss and the number of grafts required.

Out of all the hair loss remedies, only two offer a good combination of affordability and efficacy — oral finasteride and topical minoxidil.

(RelatedDoes Minoxidil Work For a Receding Hairline?)


Finasteride is popular for a reason — more than any other hair loss medication, it’s effective at slowing down, stopping and even reversing the effects of male pattern baldness.

Losing your hair is never easy, but fortunately, hair loss isn’t something you have to live with. If you’re one of the tens of millions of men in the United States affected by this condition, taking early action can help you to enjoy a fuller, thicker head of hair throughout your life.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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