Is Red Light Therapy Scalp Massager Good for Hair Growth?

People with long COVID-19, cancer, and alopecia experience hair loss. Red light therapy, also known as low-intensity light or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), helps in stimulating cells and hair growth. A new TikTok trend suggests using red light therapy scalp massagers as routine hair care. Is this therapy well suited for persons with alopecia? What precautions do we need to take while using red light therapy devices? Are these scalp massagers effective? Read on to find out more about red light therapy scalp massager.

What is a red light therapy scalp massager?

Social media influencers are promoting red light therapy scalp massager as a luxury product necessary for scalp health improvement. But what exactly is a red-light therapy scalp massager?

ADVERTISEMENT

Red light therapy scalp massagers may have a variety of features. These massagers look like a wide-tooth comb with several red LED lights in a linear or circular fashion. The bristles or comb teeth move to offer a relaxing scalp massage. While some smaller devices are battery-operated, devices with a power cord are also available. Both are portable as they easily fit in a purse.

@kirtitewani Will update if it works soon! It does feel very soothing and relaxing. #hairtools #redlighttherapy #redlightbenefits ♬ Lullaby for Erik - Evgeny Grinko

For oiling hair, red light therapy scalp massagers have a small oil chamber that can be refilled periodically. Usually, they also have an in-built timer for up to 10 minutes. Some massagers provide microcurrent stimulation, while others have blue-wave therapy options. These massagers are usually waterproof and can be used while in the shower as well. Read labels carefully to understand the features and care instructions of your red-light therapy scalp massager.

Does the RLT scalp massager promote hair growth?

Red light therapy benefits hair density growth in people with alopecia. A 26-week randomized controlled study examined the effects of red light therapy comb in patients with alopecia. The participants in the red light therapy comb group reported an overall improvement in alopecia symptoms and their terminal hair count indicated that hair density had increased.

Researchers have hypothesized three different mechanisms of hair growth in red light therapy. The mitochondria are cell organelles that provide energy to the cells for various functions. For instance, hair growth. The underlying physiological process for red light therapy is photobiomodulation, i.e., it stimulates the cells. One of the theoretical mechanisms is that it stimulates mitochondria to multiply, resulting in more of these organelles that produce energy. This mechanism possibly triggers stem hair cells to differentiate and initiate hair regrowth.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the scalp, leading to hair loss. Red light therapy may reduce inflammation and promote hair growth. However, inflammation-lowering effects have yet to be fully understood and proven in large-scale clinical trials.

ADVERTISEMENT

Although the exact mechanism of improvement in chemotherapy-induced alopecia is not understood, researchers hypothesize that photobiomodulation may stimulate cells that are damaged by chemotherapy to increase their survival. Overall, red light therapy is one of the effective hair growth treatments.

How does the red light therapy scalp massager work?

Red light therapy scalp massager works in a few easy steps. Most people prefer to use the scalp massager with a hair oil. Add hair oil to the oil chamber as instructed in the manual. Next, set the timer for the massage. Typically, red light therapy scalp massagers have a 10-minute setting, and usually, this time is thought to be enough to stimulate the scalp. Social media influencers have found massage soothing, and relaxing.

If your red light therapy scalp massager has various settings, then discuss with your healthcare provider the time and frequency appropriate for your condition.

Pros of red light therapy scalp massager

Red light therapy scalp massager offers the benefits of scalp massage. Although research studies using red light therapy scalp massagers have not yet been conducted, anecdotal evidence suggests the following benefits:

  • Scalp exfoliation or removal of dead skin
  • Improved scalp circulation
  • Improved hair growth
  • Increased hair density
  • Better sleep hygiene.

Cons of red light therapy scalp massager

As of 2024, the RLT scalp massagers are a relatively newer product, and the red light therapy safety using RLT scalp massagers is not well-studied. However, the cons of other RLT devices, such as body sculpting devices, are well-studied. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends not using RLT devices if people have the following conditions:

  • Photosensitivity disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Active medical implants (e.g., a pacemaker)
  • Skin cancer or a history of cancer at the treatment site
  • While taking photosensitizing medication
  • Active infection or wound
ADVERTISEMENT

After using red light therapy devices, people may experience side effects such as itching, burns, pain, and the formation of nodules.

Other red light therapy devices for hair growth

Although safe anecdotally, red light therapy scalp massagers are not yet approved by the FDA. However, there are a few other options that have FDA clearance. For instance, red light therapy comb, headband, and red light therapy hood are widely used. Red light therapy caps are easy to use and are another popular red light therapy device. Before buying a red light therapy device, check for the FDA clearance (or approval) on the package.

In a nutshell, red light therapy scalp massagers are widely discussed on social media. These massagers have various features, such as oil massagers, heat therapy, and blue light therapy. Scientific studies using other red light therapy devices such as comb or helmet have shown promising results in various types of alopecia. These devices stimulate the hair follicle cells and increase hair growth. Consult your dermatologist to treat your hair loss with a red light therapy scalp massager.

FAQ

Key takeaways:

ADVERTISEMENT

Leave a reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.