7 o'clock, your alarm rings, you get up, head in the shower, pick up your razor, shave, wash and you are good to go. Next day? Repeat. The day after? Again. And so on. If you do not like body hair, shaving is unavoidable. Or whatever other short-term hair removal method you are using. Shaving is not like going to the gym or drinking coffee. You can skip the latter but not the former. And there may come a time when you tire of shaving, your body hair wins this little petty war and the only thing you are left with is frustration. Do not lose hope! Why? Because there are out there long-term hair removal methods such as hair removal or electrolysis. Now, you may have heard a lot about laser hair removal and wonder, how long does laser hair removal last?
That is an excellent question and one that needs an answer. Laser hair removal is a long-term hair removal method. It is not a permanent hair removal method per se. So far, electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method named and recommended as such by the FDA. We covered that in our article comparing laser hair removal and electrolysis. Laser hair removal is a hair growth reduction method and, as somep eople still have misconceptions about the whole process, we will take some time to explain how laser hair removal works again.
How long does laser hair removal last?
1. How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal uses light energy sent to the individual hair follicles under the skin. This process happens as the hair piment captures the light, which slides through to the follicle, damaging it, thus reducing or preventing future hair growth. However, it is important to remember that each hair has different growth cycle and can be in any of the three stages during a session.
Laser hair removal works only on hair that is in the anagen stage of the growth cycle. It is indeed the only time when the hair is attached to the follicle. Only 20% off all your hair will be in that stage at any point in time. Thus, the laser will not damage all the follicle and hair will continue to grow there. This explains why you will need several sessions: to ensure the laser reaches the follicle it did not damage the previous sessions. Even then, the hair may eventually grow back as the hair follicle needs to be destroyed to actually prevent any regrowth.
2. How many sessions do I need?
Each person is different and will have different needs. Many factors can influencer the success of laser hair removal, including the hair growth cycle, skin color, hair color and texure, hairiness, skin sensitivity, medication history, etc. 50% of patients need just four sessions, while 100% need eight sessions.
At Infinity Laser Spa, we always recommend to start with six sessions for non-hormonal areas. Then, the client and technician can discuss together and assess the result of this first treatment before deciding to add up any more sessions. Hormonal areas such as the full Brazilian or Mankini and the face may take up to twelve sessions.
Permanent laser hair removal is a misnomer since laser hair removal can only contribute to decreasing hair growth by up to 90%. However, there is a potential for permanent results, and many people require infrequent touch-ups. Indeed, there may be a bit of hair coming back.
3. How long does a session last?
The length of each session will vary depending on the area requiring the laser hair removal treatment. A session can take anywhere between 10 minutes for a small area up to an hour and a half for a full body laser hair removal session. Individually, a small area like the underarms will take 10 minutes while full legs laser hair removal will take 40 minutes.
You can request a time estimate prior to scheduling your appointment. To make sure you make the most of your session, please do shave the day or the morning before. Make sure you wash the area off any cream or body lotion that may interfer with the treatment. Communication is one key aspect to success so make sure you tell the technician of any worries you may have, ask questions and inform them of any medication you may be on.
4. Is laser hair removal really permanent?
Laser hair removal is a long-term reduction method that can reduce hair growth to up to 90%. Laser hair removal is permanent when the laser destroys the hair follicle. When the hair follicle is only damaged, the hair will eventually regrow. The time it takes for hair to grow back will depend on each person's unique hair growth cycle.
It is unlikely to permanently remove every single hair follicle because hair growth occurs in multiple phases and can be influenced by hormones or medications. Multiple treatments may lead to permanent hair removal for some patients, but people should know that laser hair removal mostly reduces hair growth.
Furthermore, hormones can have a big impact on the hair growth cycle. A huge hormonal change such as the one you experience through pregnancy, may bring unwanted hair growth. Thus, do not be surprised to see hair where you had lasered before. You may need touch-up sessions after giving birth or in general once a year to manage regrowth. However, even when the hair grows back, it will be thinner and lighter.
To conclude, the results of a laser treatment will vary for each person, depending on their hair growth cycle, skin and hair color, medication, etc. While some patients will achieve permanent hair removal, other will either need more sessions or achieve hair growth reduction. Some other lifestyle changes will affect the results of the treatment.