How Permanent is Laser Hair Removal?

Body hair. We all have it, yet many of us would much rather that we didn’t, especially in certain areas of our bodies. Shaving, waxing and similar hair removal options offer temporary respite from body hair, but since it just keeps on growing, if you are looking for a more permanent solution, you may be considering laser hair removal.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a very popular cosmetic treatment, the purpose of which is to provide long term hair removal. How it works is very simple. The laser emits intense light energy which targets the pigment in individual hairs. This light travels down the shaft of each hair and into the follicle. The heat from the laser then starts to destroy the follicle so that it can no longer produce hair. However, complete and total damage to the follicle may not occur after just one session. It is also important to keep in mind that body hair follows a unique growth cycle that includes resting, shedding and growing periods.


Stages of hair growth and laser removal

For laser hair removal to be successful, hair should ideally be targeted during the growing phase, called the anagen period. This is where the hair is visible on the surface of the skin and the laser can successfully reach the follicle. If laser hair removal takes place during the shedding (catagen) phase, the laser may not necessarily be able to reach the follicle as successfully. And laser hair removal isn’t possible at all during the resting (telogen) stage of the hair growth cycle.  


Skin/hair color and laser hair removal

Hair and skin color also make a difference as to how effective laser hair removal will be for you. Since the laser targets pigment within the individual hairs, the treatment works more quickly and efficiently in patients with dark hair and light skin. This is because this combination offers the greatest contrast, making it easier for the laser to work. Patients with different skin/hair combinations may find that the process takes longer for them, or that more hair grows back between laser hair removal appointments.

So, how permanent really is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a very effective and long-lasting form of hair removal. However, the results are not always completely permanent. Whether or not hair regrows depends on several different factors, but predominantly comes down to whether the follicle of the hair was damaged or destroyed during laser hair removal. If the heat from the laser light destroys the hair follicle, it is unlikely to ever produce hair again. The more sessions of laser hair removal that you have during the right stage of the hair growth cycle, the more damage the follicles will sustain until they are destroyed. For most patients, this requires several sessions of laser hair removal over the course of 2 to 4 months. In the meantime, if your hair does regrow, it will almost certainly be lighter and less noticeable than it was before.


If you are considering laser hair removal and would like more information about this treatment, or to schedule a consultation, call at (916) 600-4428 to get in touch with our knowledgeable and experienced team.