Before we get into the science behind laser hair growth caps specifically, it’s important to cover the basics of how male pattern baldness develops.
Contrary to popular belief, male pattern baldness isn’t caused by stress, wearing an overly tight hat or your mother’s father’s genes.
Instead, it’s caused by a combination of genetic factors and an androgenic hormone produced by your body called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
If you’re genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness, DHT can damage your hair follicles and, over time, stop them from producing new hairs. This process tends to begin at your crown or hairline and become more noticeable over time.
You can learn more about the effects of DHT on your hair in our guide to DHT and male pattern baldness.
Laser devices like hair growth caps have no effect on your DHT levels, meaning they won’t stop DHT from damaging your hair follicles if you’re genetically predisposed to hair loss.
Instead, they work at a more local level by emitting light and stimulating hair growth in the areas of your scalp that are already affected by hair loss.
While there isn’t much research on low-level laser therapy and hair growth, several studies have found that it may be effective at stimulating hair growth and treating male pattern baldness.
For example, an evidence-based review published in 2020 looked at 21 studies of laser devices for hair growth. It concluded that low-level laser therapy devices are safe and effective for both men and women with pattern hair loss.
A 2021 review published in the journal Lasers in Medical Science reached a similar conclusion, noting that laser therapy “appears to be a safe, alternative treatment” for pattern hair loss.
While this research is certainly promising, it’s important to note that the studies featured looked at laser hair growth devices as a whole, not hair growth caps specifically.
Some of the studies featured in this research also involved the use of laser hair growth devices in combination with other treatments, such as the hair loss medication minoxidil.
It’s also important to be aware that some research into laser hair growth technology may not be totally independent. As a 2020 review noted, some studies in this field appear to be associated with the laser hair growth device industry.
As for research into the specific effects of laser hair growth caps, only a few small-scale studies are currently available.
In one study, women between 18 and 60 years of age with pattern hair loss were treated with a device called the Handi-Dome Laser. The device was a cap fitted with an array of laser diodes operating at 650 nm.
Over the course of 17 weeks of treatment, the women treated with the laser cap achieved a 51 percent increase in hair count compared to those treated with a non-therapeutic device.
Like other studies into laser devices for hair loss, this one is promising but far from perfect. Not only does it not feature any men with pattern hair loss (the main target audience for most laser hair growth devices), but it was also associated with a hair growth device manufacturer.
A similar study involving a laser hair growth helmet called iGrow® found that women who used the device experienced results comparable to those achieved using the hair loss medication, Minoxidil. Like the previous study, this study did not feature any male patients.
We've talked more about these issues with research into laser hair growth devices in our guide to laser hair treatments.
Other Options for Treating Hair Loss
Although many laser hair growth caps make bold claims about their ability to restore your hair, the scientific research that’s available right now doesn’t quite back these up.
However, several hair loss treatments are currently available that are supported by large-scale scientific research showing that they can slow down, stop or reverse hair loss caused by male pattern baldness.
These include FDA-approved medications such as finasteride and minoxidil, over-the-counter products and even surgical procedures to restore your hair.
If you’re losing your hair and want to take action, the most effective option is to use medication to stop further hair loss and stimulate hair growth. The FDA has approved two medications to treat hair loss:
Finasteride. Finasteride is a prescription medication that works by reducing your DHT levels. This helps to stop the DHT-related hair follicle damage that causes male pattern baldness.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a physician who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Minoxidil. Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication that increases blood flow to your hair follicles and stimulates growth. It’s sold as a liquid or foam and is applied directly to the areas of your scalp affected by male pattern baldness.