Full disclosure here: I’m a male. Like 70% of males overall, I have male pattern baldness with a receding hairline and thinning on the temples and top of my head. I am fortunate because my hair loss is a result of testosterone in my system, which is a natural part of aging which tends to cause hair follicles to shrink. So, given the choice of a normal testosterone level or a full head of hair, I’m happy to be balding. But it would be nice to have both, right? And also, it turns out that 40% of women have the same process happen due to estrogen, which like testosterone is an androgenic hormone with a similar effect. With women the thinning occurs on the top of the head and is often most noticeable where they part their hair. Since many women and most men start to lose their hair after a certain age, many think it would be wonderful to halt or reverse the balding process.
There are two classes of drugs that can help. Finasteride, prescribed for men only, inhibits the hormone effect on the hair follicles. Minoxidil, prescribed for both genders, stimulates hair growth but does not protect the follicles from further damage. A big issue with taking drugs of course is the potential for side effects, plus, when you stop taking the medication hair loss will proceed.
Lexington Int., LLC has a line of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) devices that in clinical testing have proved to be as or more effective than medications and have no side effects. According to the manufacturer, Hairmax currently has seven FDA 510(k) clearances, which is a clearance to go to market because the product is deemed safe and at least as effective as other products on the market, which in this case are the prescription drugs. The latest model is the Hairmax Laserband 82. Earlier models were called LaserCombs and required that you hold them while you brush your hair and scalp. The Laserband 82, however, is hands free except when you move it. The device has 82 medical grade lasers and patented hair parting teeth – the latter are important to ensure the laser light hits the hair follicles, not the light-blocking hair.
To use the Laserband 82, you first clean your hair and scalp so nothing interferes with the light reaching your scalp. You place the band on the front of your hairline and start the built-in timer, which runs for 30 seconds and buzzes. You next move the band back to the middle top of your head, being sure to press firmly so the comb on the edges of the band separate your hair. After another 30 seconds and another timer buzz you move the Laserband 82 to the back of your head for the last 30 seconds. So 90 seconds total is all it takes. The directions call for three 90-second treatments a week. After a month or two, according to the vendor, you should begin to see results. The Laserband 82 comes with a five month satisfaction warranty; five months is apparently enough time for the device to show results if any are going to occur. In the clinical tests, the Laserband 82 resulted in approximately 20-25% increased hair quantity for most people, comparable to the results with medication.
The Laserband 82 is available now from Hairmax for $795 which is a significant amount of money, but for people with body image concerns or anyone who just wants to reverse or at least stop hair loss, it may be worth it, assuming it works as described.