Can we remove hair permanently by laser?
Shaving, plucking, or waxing hair can often be time-consuming. Many people turn to laser hair removal as a solution to take care of unwanted facial and body hair. But, is laser hair removal a permanent solution?
After you have your first laser hair removal treatment, you will see a reduced number of hairs immediately. Hair growth may increase in the treated area from 2 to 8 weeks after since not all hair follicles respond equally to the treatment. It usually takes 3 to 8 sessions to achieve permanent hair loss. You may also need touch-up sessions about once a year.
Laser hair removal permanently reduces hair. Even if some hair grows back, it should be less noticeable as well as finer and lighter than it was before your treatments. Laser hair removal is a noninvasive option for women and men to remove unwanted hair to help you look your best. Shaving and waxing are not only time-consuming but may irritate your skin causing bumps, redness and in-grown hairs. Lasers can be used to concentrate light energy to selectively target hair follicles and prevent regrowth
Laser hair removal is a method of hair removal in which a laser (a concentrated beam of light) is used to remove unwanted hair. Laser hair removal uses light to target the pigment in individual hairs. The light travels down the shaft of the hair and into the hair follicle.
The heat from the laser light destroys the hair follicle, and a hair can no longer grow from it.
Hair follows a unique growth cycle that involves resting, shedding, and growing periods. Recently removed hair that is in a resting phase will not be visible to the technician or laser, so a person may need to wait until it regrows before removing it.
Hair removal from a destroyed hair follicle is permanent. However, people who undergo hair removal can expect that some hair in the targeted area will grow back.
Over time, it is possible to treat the area again to reduce the number of hairs that regrow. In some cases, it may even be possible to eliminate all hair.
Whether or not hair grows back depends on numerous factors, including the type of hair that regrows and the skill of the person removing the hair.
Most people find that when hair regrows, it is lighter and less noticeable than it was before. This is because the laser may damage the hair follicle even when it fails to destroy it.
If a hair follicle is damaged but not destroyed, the hair will eventually regrow. It can be difficult to destroy every single hair follicle, so most people will see some hair regrowth.
When hair regrows, it is possible to treat it again, so people who want to remove all the hair may need several treatments.
In some cases, hair may be too light, too short, or resistant to treatment. In these cases, a person might choose to use other hair removal methods, such as plucking stray hairs.
Why Does Hair Still Grow After the Treatment?
Whether hair comes back depends on many aspects, including the hair type that regenerates and your commitment to manual hair removal methods. After laser treatment, new hair growth becomes thinner and less noticeable. The laser will damage the hair follicle even though it doesn’t kill it. The hair will gradually recover if a follicle is damaged but not completely lost. Every hair follicle can be challenging to eradicate. For this reason, most people who undergo the treatment still notice regrowth.
Hair grows in stages. Your hair produces the pigment in the active cycle, which gives it its color, and the laser targets this pigment. Laser treatments for follicles in the active stage are most successful. The energy of the laser won’t harm follicles that are inactive or dormant. Waiting a few weeks between each treatment will enable more hair to shift from dormant into the active stage of development. Thus, repeat treatments will allow more follicles to be eradicated.
You can have laser hair removal performed by a professional at a salon or you can do it yourself at home. Although highly effective and easy to do, laser treatments, and IPL, can cause burning and irritation if performed incorrectly. Electrolysis Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method which uses a special machine to stop hair growth with chemical or heat energy; then, the hair follicles are removed with tiny electric tweezers. Although electrolysis is permanent, the amount of sessions needed to achieve permanent hair removal varies by each person's genetics.
A consultation with a board-certified or -eligible plastic surgeon can determine if you are a good candidate for permanent hair removal and choose which laser will work best for your skin and hair type.
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that is all about timing. Missing a session or not sticking to your schedule can affect your laser hair removal results. This is because there are a few things to take into account when booking a session and starting your treatment. Below are the five main things that can have an impact on your laser hair removal results.
Your hair growth cycle
The hair growth cycle plays a big part in the efficiency of laser hair removal. Simply because the treatment only works on hair that is in the anagen phase of growth. Indeed, it is the only time when both the hair and follicle connect, allowing the light energy to travel from the former to the later.
Unfortunately, only 20% of all body hair is in the anagen phase of growth at any point in time. The remaining 80% of hair is in one of the other three stages: catagen, telogen, exogen. Thus, one session can only treat up to 20% of the anagen hair. That is why treatments always include at least six sessions and why you must wait six weeks between sessions.
Indeed, those six weeks give time to the hair to move from the exogen to the anagen phase so they can be targeted by the laser. The thing with the hair growth cycle is that not only is it unique to each individual but also to each hair. There is thus no way to know how much time each hair will need before it is in the right phase of growth.
Nor is there a way to know how long each hair will stay in each phase or if every single hair follicle is currently producing hair. Because the hair growth cycle is difficult to track, it can be difficult to treat 100% of hair in those six sessions. It is possible that even after your initial treatment, some follicle air suddenly produces hair simply because the hair they produced was not in the right stage of growth all this time.
The best way to get good results regardless of your hair growth cycle is to keep a tight schedule. Make sure you come in for a session every six weeks and that you follow pre and post-session care recommendations very strictly. You may not have control over how quick your hair grows, but you have control over helping to make your treatment smoother.
Your hormone levels
Hormones can have an impact on your laser hair removal results simply because hair growth is triggered by hormones. This means that should you have higher hormone levels, your hair growth will be faster and you may not see results straight away.
For example, excess male hormones such as testosterone will stimulate hair growth. Thus, women or men receiving hormone replacement therapy at the time of hair removal may see the decrease of hair after treatment but will have more regrowth than someone who is not receiving hormone therapy. This can also be the case for some with other hormone imbalances.
Even though hormone imbalances may interfere with the treatment, it won’t have drastic impacts. Patients will still be able to see a clear difference before and after their treatment. Thus, laser hair removal remains a great solution for transgender people, especially when transitioning from male to female.
Although the impact of laser hair removal results will be much smaller, taking hormonal contraceptives may also have an impact on the treatment. While pregnant women should not undergo laser hair removal, should they have done the treatments before pregnancy, they may see hair growth in places that were treated or that did not have hair.
Your skin tone and hair color
In recent years, we've seen advancements in inclusive technology made especially for dark sin tines. When done properly, laser hair removal is safe for all skin tones. Laser hair removal works best on people with light skin and dark hair. This is because the hair to skin contrast is so sharp, the laser will not have any issue spotting the hair against the skin. However, that does not mean that laser hair removal only works on people with fair skin and dark hain. Indeed, laser hair removal works on all skin tones and hair color.
Darker skin has more melanin and can be more susceptible to burns and hyperpigmentation while undergoing laser treatments. All hope is not lost though! In an effort to get to the bottom of it all, we chatted with two experts, who broke down all the laser options for women of color so you can finally stop making monthly waxing appointments
However, treating dark hair on dark skin or fair hair on light skin may be trickier and take longer. Indeed, the lower the hair to skin contrast, the more difficult it is for the laser to find the hair and send the light energy through the dermis to the follicle. Laser technology improvement such as ND: YAG lasers and diode lasers allow for safe and effective treatment of people of color.
The Nd: Yag technology has a weaker melanin absorption rate, and longer wavelengths which make it safe to use on dark skin tones. This combination of technologies allows our highly-trained medical professionals to create customized treatment plans to fit the exact needs of each client's skin tone and hair type
With such machines, the energy gets to the hair follicle without relying too much on melanin to do so. They provide a good solution for people of color. However, in essence, their hair remains harder to target and thus, laser treatments may require more sessions. Treating fair hair is also trickier. Here, the issue is the lack of pigments.
Indeed, blonde and ginger hair are very low in pigments. Thus, they are very difficult to target and to treat. However, a diode laser with a 755nm wavelength will allow to safely treat fair hair. However, because they are harder to target, it is likely that patients will need additional sessions to ensure every single hair follicle is permanently damaged and unable to produce new hair.
Your hair removal history
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. It will reduce hair growth by up to 90%. While it does not classify as a permanent hair removal method, a lot of patients will experience permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is the only permanent method. Even though no other methods will lead to similar results, some may help.
Of course, if you have shaved or used depilatory creams your whole life, you will have not started the hair growth reduction process. Indeed, both methods do not contribute to hair growth reduction. Creams dissolve the hair, shaving cuts it flat at the surface of the skin. Root and follicle remain. If only they may stimulate hair growth.
Waxing, plucking and sugaring on the other hand will contribute to hair growth reduction but in the very long-term. Repetitive waxing will end up damaging the hair follicle. Eventually, patients will see a decrease in hair growth. However, this will take a very long time.
Patients who have been waxing for years and switch to laser hair removal may see faster results. As mentioned above, this is because repetitive waxing will eventually damage hair follicles enough so that they won’t produce any new hair.