You may have heard of lasers that are used to remove unwanted hair, tattoos, varicose veins and wrinkles. These high-powered lasers are designed to cut through and destroy surrounding tissue. However, there are also low-level lasers that are used for cosmetic purposes. These lasers don't produce heat, and instead are used to heal damaged tissue instead of destroying it.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been used for many years to stimulate wound healing, decrease inflammation, and lessen chronic pain. The first laser of its kind was developed in the 1960s by Endre Mester of Hungary. Recently, low-level laser therapy has been used to stimulate hair growth. Most reports state that the treatment is most beneficial in areas of the scalp that still have hair. It's less effective in stimulating hair growth in areas that are already completely bald.

So how does laser therapy for hair growth work? The theory has yet to be scientifically proven, but the thought is that the laser light stimulates hair growth by increasing blood flow and increased oxygen levels to the tissues surrounding the hair follicle. This stimulation causes weak or thin hair to become stronger and thicker. The stimulation may also send a signal to weak hair follicles which respond by growing instead of slowly dying. Those hairs that have already begun to thin in diameter usually respond better to treatment. Completely bald areas normally don't respond. Success doesn't happen overnight. If any progress is made, it can take up to 12 months of continuous therapy to see results. Although, if you think about, hair loss doesn't happen overnight either!

Both men and women can benefit from LLLT. In fact, women may benefit more than men because their pattern of hair loss is usually more diffuse. Men usually have more areas of the scalp that are completely bald. It's also suggested that laser therapy for hair loss is more effective when the patient is also taking over the counter or prescription medications for hair growth. Also, another caveat is that laser therapy does not lead to permanent results. In order for the hair to keep growing you must continue therapy.

Laser hair replacement therapy can be performed by a physician or at home using your own device. Results are usually more successful when the therapy is performed by a doctor. The two most popular laser hair combs are the HairMax LaserComb and the X5 Hair Laser. Most manufacturers recommend using the devices three times a week.

The HairMax LaserComb received clearance from the FDA. However, this simply means that the product is safe. The guidelines for FDA approval are much more strict. FDA approval requires clinical trials which prove the product is both safe and effective. Nevertheless, in one reported study featuring the LaserComb, 93% of participants reported an increase in the number of thick hairs on their head over a period of six months.