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Grow New Hair With Laser Caps

Grow New Hair With Laser Caps
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BY KITT WALSH

“A bad hair day” takes on a new meaning for many of us women as we age. Lots of us experience hair thinning or hair loss and our once thick tresses –what our mother’s generation would have called our “crowning glory”–may not seem so regal after all.

Until recently, we were given some less than wonderful options for dealing with the problem:

Get a perm or dye it: More chemicals are not always the best option for our thinning hair.

Use a weave: Ditto since glue and clips used in a weave can further damage hair.

Try Rogaine or a similar product: This works best only when used at the beginning of hair loss.

But modern technology has given us a new way to combat hair loss and it comes in the form of a cap you can wear to hide your problem while you are solving it. One brand (and there are other competitors) is LaserCap LCPRO, a battery operated baseball cap with a special disc inside. Flip the switch and more than 200 pulsed lights hit the scalp and stimulate hair growth. Such a cap is the successor to the laser comb, a device that required more frequent (and inconvenient) use. Laser cap manufacturers claim their hats are 40x more effective than the combs.

How does the cap work? The lights are low level lasers that go right through your scalp and stimulate the actual cells so they produce more energy and oxygen, creating a better environment for the follicle. Hair follicles tend to shrink as we age. The lasers help reverse the “miniaturization” of those follicles. More open follicles equal thicker hair.

Is it safe? The device has been on the market since about 2004 and has finally been approved by the FDA for the promotion of hair growth. Why is FDA Clearance important here? For a medical device to receive clearance from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the equipment typically must go through clinical trials that consistently demonstrate its safety and efficacy.

One of the laser cap brands, the Capillus272, after the FDA approval, volunteered for a double blind study. The manufacturer claims that the results of that study showed their cap improved the hair counts of participants by as much as 51 percent when used as directed. It also showed that the participants did not experience any side effects.

Speaking of side effects, there seem to be none with any cap and, though all the talk of lasers going “through your scalp” sound ominous, the treatment doesn’t hurt. You can take the cap home with you from your hair restoration physician’s office (meaning you don’t have to try to schedule multiple visits to have the treatment in your doctor’s office) and you can wear it while you are going about your daily routine. Most doctors recommend you use the cap for 15 minutes three times a week or 30 minutes ever other day

Some women combine the treatment with vitamins and scalp therapies and many users swear it works like a charm. Others say it doesn’t work at all. If it does work, the effect is not immediate. New growth may not show up for 26 weeks or more and if you suffer from genetic baldness (if your relatives all had thinning or no hair as they aged), the treatment may generate new hair, just to have it fall out again.

It is also not cheap. The LasercapLCPRO costs upwards of $3000 (though you may find it online for $700, but buyer beware that you aren’t just buying a baseball cap with red lights inside) and no, it is not likely your health insurance company will pay for it, but if you’ve ever glowered at your reflection in the mirror when your scalp shines through, you know that it is money well spent. The caps come with a rechargeable battery pack and an airline compliant carrying case.

It is recommended that, before you start treatment, you should get a set of photos taken so you can see your baseline starting point and be better able to track your progress. A hair restoration specialist will also use tools to literally measure how many new hairs you have produced and will examine your scalp to see about the increasing health of your follicles. It could take a year, but, if this works for you, it will be hats off to your new healthy mane.

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