Laser combs are handheld, low-intensity laser devices that allegedly stimulate the growth of the hair follicle. There are only two FDA-approved laser comb devices on the market – the HairMax LaserComb by Lexington International and the X-5 by Spencer Forrest Inc. Although many doctors are skeptical about these devices, there are also a lot of people who claim they are effective and have helped them grow hair. But is it truth or myth?
How do lasers stimulate hair growth?
Therapeutic lasers are low level Class IIIA lasers, meaning they’re not powerful enough to raise objects’ temperatures, and therefore unable to cause tissue heating or burning. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) stimulates cellular metabolism by photobiostimulation (energy transfer into the scalp cells).
How lasers “jumpstart hair follicles” by activating chromophores
Image source: Arthropoda
Chromophores are substances in your cells that are very sensitive to light. “Chromophore” literally means “color-loving”, as the pigmented substances in our cells such as amino acids, hemoglobin and melanin tend to absorb energy from light sources. Once they are activated by light, chromophores signal and trigger various cellular processes. Lasers are intense enough to penetrate deep into the scalp and reach the follicles (without heating up the tissue), activating the chromophores in these cells. Chromophores only need to receive light within their absorption spectrum. For that reason, it is virtually impossible to grow hair using a LED light source or by walking in sunlight for hours. Laser combs operate at wavelengths of 650 nanometers, which is ideal for cell growth stimulation.
If you’ve got a shiny bald head, it won’t do anything.
Lasers provide a good jumpstart at follicle level, which in turn generates complex metabolic activity with considerable effects from a biological standpoint. However, they can’t grow hair overnight, and they are often useless if follicles are too damaged. If you’re thinking about trying a laser comb, you are strongly encouraged to do so if alopecia hasn’t reached a very advanced stage. As Dr. Michael Hamblin at Harvard University would say, “If you’ve got a shiny bald head, it won’t do anything.”
Do they really work?
According to a 26-week study published in April 2009, participants who used the HairMax LaserComb experienced an increase of 17 hairs per square inch. While lasers seem to help with hair growth, it appears their powers are limited: results usually take six months to become visible and even so they make little difference. What’s more, they might not always work for everyone. Laser combs have received mixed reviews and there isn’t any guarantee that anyone will obtain results.
Here’s the thing, there are many detractors to Laser Therapy and in all honesty, the arguments are pretty sound and offer compelling scientific insight. However, there are those who feel it does help. I have used the Hairmax Lasercomb for 3 years in addition to Propecia and Minoxidil. In short, I feel that as an adjunct modality, laser therapy does have some benefit in terms of hair retention and quality. If you approach it as that then it is worth considering. If you are expecting it to grow back a significant amount of hair, then you will probably be disappointed.
If you want to buy this comb for regrowth, forget it. It does not regrow any new hair. But it does offer some benefits:
- The hair feel thicker
- Very few hair shed during regular use. If you stop using it, hair would shed as before
- The hair feel more manageable
- Combs like these are used by hair-implant patients for faster recovery
For these simple benefits, the high price of the comb is not worth it.
I’ll make it short and sweet, Im a 25 year old male, going bald, because of genetics. You guys know what Im talking about, receding hairline, widows peak from H*ll. I hate it, it sucks. Its no reason to go spend 500+ bucks for this piece of junk. Ive used it almost a year, still am (stupid me)….NOTHING!..its only getting worse. Im using just as directed too. Im thinking of going into transplant surgery if anything, that seems like the only sure way, too bad it cost so much.
Should you try it?
It’s better to regret something that you did rather than something that you did not. There’s absolutely no harm in trying these products for yourself, but be prepared for potential disappointment and ALWAYS use them according to the instructions. Overdoing it may hinder the results!
I have been using the laser comb for over four years. The first six months of treating my hair loss I used only the laser comb. I did see improvement during that first six months. Everyone around me saw the improvement as well. It has continued to improved the hair I have and the hair that Minoxidil has grown back. I don’t think it can make hair grow on its own though. What it does do is it increases the caliber and improves the quality of the hair that is there. This make your hair look fuller and more youthful. This effect is more helpful for those with diffuse hair loss than those who have areas that are completely void of hair and have been that way for a long time.
So if you have bald areas that have been void of hair for a long time, I don’t think the laser comb or any other form of low level laser therapy will do anything appreciable for those areas. If however your hair loss is relatively recent, it may help and I feel it is worth a try. How much it could help is unknown until you try it. It takes about four months before you will know if it is working to improve your hair. It takes longer to know the full benefit and that depends on how much hair you lost before you started treatment.
The World’s Best Laser Combs for Hair Growth
View the world’s most effective laser combs on nicehair.org.