Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss

November 15, 2023

Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss

We all feel confident when we have a full head of hair that is thick and has body. Hair plays a significant role when it comes to our identity and how we feel about ourselves.

Whether we want to admit it or not, the health of our hair can showcase other issues that lie within. Certainly, age and environment have a lot to do with the health of our locks, but there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to beautiful hair.

Luckily, there’s a wonderful noninvasive way to give your hair follicles the much-needed love it requires to bring life back to your hair and scalp.

We’re talking about Red Light Therapy Helmets and what benefits that can come from consistent use.

Come along with us in the multi-part series to learn more about the benefits of red light therapy in the context of hair loss.

Red Light Therapy - Why is it Effective

Red Light Therapy… What is it? Why is it effective?

We’ve spoken about red light therapy within the context of infrared light in saunas. Now let’s explore the benefits of red-light therapy (RLT) on the scalp for hair health. First a quick recap what of red-light therapy is and why it’s effective.

Red light therapy (RLT) which is also a type of Phototherapy, is about taking advantage of the low-level wavelengths that red lights emit which are called near-infrared light. These wavelengths do not create heat and they can penetrate the skin between 1 to 2 millimeters.

Exposure to these red lights can provide a beneficial effect on your cells that strengthen the mitochondria (where the cell’s energy is created). RLT may stimulate this reaction by increasing the movement of electrons, oxygen consumption, and levels of ATP (the molecule responsible for transporting ions, muscle contractions, nerve impulses…essentially the cell’s energy currency). By increasing the energy of the cells, it stimulates them to function more efficiently as well as aide in repairing themselves.

These specific wavelengths can treat a plethora of skin issues ranging from stretch marks, edema, and hair thinning or loss. The benefits can also include increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation, increasing collagen, increasing the production of fibroblast and increase hair growth. Let’s talk a bit more about why so many of us deal with hair loss and some of what the underlying causes can be.

Underlying Root Causes for Hair Loss: Part 1

Inflammation

Hair loss can have many factors attributing to its lack of robustness, but inflammation plays an important role in the quality of hair on our heads. Let’s remember that inflammation is most often a positive reaction that is protective in nature. It’s a wonderful mechanism of our immune systems. Constant states of inflammation are a symptom of that the immune system may be out of optimal. When steadily inflamed it creates a chronic situation. Which in turn, allows the immune system to attack perfectly healthy tissue like hair follicles.

Undoubtedly, in our society today it’s rare to see anyone without some form of inflammation, chronic or not. Inflammation shows up differently for everyone but commonly it looks like: swelling, itchy red spot, flaking and skin irritation, fatigue, pain, and digestive issues.

Red light therapy can create a positive impact against inflammation especially on the scalp and hair follicles.

Hair loss due to inflammation can be improved by using red light helmet. This noninvasive therapy aids in your body’s own natural recovery process.

Limiting the inflammation on the scalp and follicles to help to stimulate repair and regrowth!

Nutrient Deficiencies and Hair Loss

Nutrient Deficiencies

We’ve all heard about nutrient deficiencies and that’s probably the biggest reason why we consume a multi-vitamin daily. While this is all well and good, there are some specific nutrients that are particularly important to pay attention to when it comes to hair loss.

Iron

Believe it or not, iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world! The lack of sufficient iron can lead to a disruption in the normal hair growth cycle. This leads to the excess shedding. Another factor may be an inability to absorb iron.

To increase your absorption of vital minerals like iron, take in more vitamin C like:

  • broccoli
  • kiwi
  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • melons
  • leafy greens
  • peppers
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes

When we are low on iron the body will pull the iron from our hair follicles to shuttle them to other important systems that need it more. Upping your intake of iron can help replenish the stores and bring life back to your hair.

Iron rich foods like:

  • red meat
  • shellfish
  • fish
  • turkey
  • organ meat (we like them in supplement form)

Plant based forms of iron are:

  • spinach
  • beans
  • pumpkin seeds
  • quinoa
  • broccoli
  • tofu
  • dark chocolate

Vitamin D

Another micronutrient that most of us are deficient in. Low vitamin D is mainly due to our modern societies where many of us work inside. This vitamin along with all other micronutrients is a powerhouse and considered an essential just like iron. Vitamin D supports your skin and hair health by supporting the immune system, controlling inflammation, and helps repair skin cell growth.

Research is showing that vitamin D levels are lower in those with hair loss.  As we’ve learned having a well-regulated immune system goes hand in hand with a proper inflammatory response, which leads to better hair health!

Great sources of Vitamin D are:

  • fish (preferably cold-water fish)
  • eggs
  • organ meat
  • fortified dairy
  • maitake and portobello mushrooms

Zinc

This mineral plays a critical role in how your immune system functions, protein synthesis, and cellular division to name a few. Zinc helps the hair follicle function by protecting it from shrinkage and slow growth. Bonus, it does promote follicle repair. Research is showing more evidence that zinc is a powerful nutrient when it comes to hair health.

Foods that are high in Zinc:

  • meat; red meat, lamb and pork
  • shellfish
  • legumes; lentils & chickpeas
  • seeds; hemp seeds, pumpkin, sesame seeds
  • nuts & peanuts
  • dairy; sharp cheddar cheese contains 10% DV for males and 13% for females
  • eggs
  • whole grains; quinoa, rice, and oats
  • veggies; potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, green beans
  • Dark chocolate70-85%; 100g contains 3.31mg of zinc

B Vitamins

As you might be catching on, the quality of hair health is closely linked to your immune system. B vitamins are critical for overall health, especially since they are water soluble which means we can’t store them. A good practice of replenishing daily can improve hair health. In specific B5 has shown to support the adrenal glands which help hair growth. B complex vitamins are a wonderful way to cover your bases to ensure your body is getting what it needs to function and regulate properly.

Taking one B complex vitamin daily and eating food rich in Biotin, such as eggs, chicken, avocado, beef, beans, potatoes, and nuts can help avoid these deficiencies.

When we rebalance out any nutrient deficiencies and regulate inflammation it can really go far in terms of health and when we’re healthy our hair is proof!

You can help the body use those nutrients more effectively by exposing yourself to red light therapy! The wave lengths of the red light can increase blood flow and encourage nutrients to your follicles to promote hair growth.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Red Light Therapy and hormone imbalances along with some products to use to help with hair growth.

Francesca Quinn
Naturopathic Doctor Denver
(720) 310-0797 
Follow me on Facebook

0 Comments

Leave a Reply