The hard truth that most clinics and med spas won’t tell their patients is that laser hair treatment simply isn’t for everyone. While most patients can experience up to a 90% reduction in hair growth (and even permanent hair removal upon regular treatments), there are some factors that prevent a minority of patients from experiencing similar results.
There are number of reasons why laser hair removal may not be working for you. laser is an absolutely amazing treatment and works well for the majority of people.
Laser hair treatment is a very precise procedure that demands two things: the ability to damage hair follicles beyond the point of further hair growth, and the ability to do this without damaging the outer layer of skin.
When laser hair treatments fail to create perfect results, there are several reasons why this may be the case. The most common reason has to do with the pigmentation of the skin and the hair, and the laser finding difficulty in differentiating the two.
What are the reasons why laser hair treatment might not be working for you?
You didn’t time your treatments correctly:
Proper treatment times are essential. if not enough time have been allocated to each one of your sessions this will result in large areas being left untreated. Laser hair removal treatments should not be rushed in any way. This will affect your results. If the laser is pass to quickly over the skin the energy from the laser will not be absorbed correctly. As a result you will notice some patches were missed of hair are growing back a lot faster than others.
Hair Type and Color:
Hair type and hair color are the most important factors in determining whether laser hair removal will work on a patient or not. This is due to the way the procedure works.
During laser hair removal, the laser – intense beams of light zapped onto the skin – is set to target a certain pigmentation. The pigmentation of the hair follicles must be dark enough relative to the skin so that the laser can pinpoint the hair follicles and burn them.
If the hair follicles have too little pigmentation (white hair, light red hair, or light blonde hair), it will be difficult for the laser to properly target them. This also becomes an issue with patients with darker skin tones, as the hair and the skin might be too similar in color for the laser to be properly effective.
Hair type is also a factor to be considered. Hair that is rough and coarse will have more prominent hair follicles, while hair that is fine and smooth will have less distinct hair follicles. The ideal candidate is a patient with fair skin and dark, coarse hair. The further a patient is from the ideal laser hair removal profile, the more difficulty they may experience.
While recent advances in laser technology have helped to alleviate some of these pigmentation-related problems, it still remains a slight issue today.
You might have a hormonal imbalance:
One of the top reasons why Laser hair removal doesn’t work boils down to hormones. Yes, believe it or not hormonal conditions can lead to ineffective hair removal. Our hormones encourage hair growth with the most common one being testosterone. Males naturally have higher levels of testosterone which is why they’ve more hair, especially facial hair. Women naturally have lower levels of testosterone and a woman’s testosterone levels are controlled by estrogen. This yin and yang type balance prevents women from growing as much facial hair (and other hair for that matter).
Women with excessive body hair or facial hair might see laser hair removal as their go-to hair removal treatment. However, if you have too much hair, it might be a case of a hormonal imbalance that could cancel out laser hair removal results. If your hair growth is a result of hormonal imbalance, laser hair removal might not work at all for your excess facial and body hair.
If you believe that your excess hair might be related to hormonal imbalance, consider having a medical evaluation prior to your laser treatment. Some predictors of excess hair due to hormonal imbalance include sudden hair growth, obesity or acne problems, or a family history of hirsutism.
Some causes of excessive hair growth that can overcome laser hair removal results include:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: PCOS is the most common condition related to excessive hair growth in women. Women experiencing PCOS also may have diabetes, weight loss difficulty, irregular menstruation, and acne.
- Post menopause: Women in the post-menopausal stage have less estrogen and more testosterone, resulting in increased facial hair.
- Family history: Women with a family history of hirsutism are likelier to experience excessive hair growth.
Hair Growth Rate or Cycle:
Laser hair removal can only target hair follicles that are in the first stage, the growing stage. Several treatments are necessary to effectively burn all the hair follicles that are missed in the other treatments, as they go in and out of the growing stage.
However, this isn’t a precise science that laser hair removal practitioners can always pinpoint correctly. While most people generally have similar hair growth rates or cycles, this can vary from person to person, and other factors can also affect a person’s hair growth rate. These can include the hair color, the hair density, the hair coarseness, and the area of the hair.
If your laser hair treatments are not spaced optimally relative to your hair’s growth cycles, then your laser treatments might not be affecting as many hair follicles as necessary for best results.
You waxed before treatments:
Believe it or not, this is one of the top reasons why Laser hair removal isn’t successful for people. Yes, you do need to remove the hair before every single laser hair removal treatment but you cannot wax it. If you wax before a Laser hair removal treatment, it’s pointless. It won’t work. And it never will if you keep waxing.
Why? Because the laser needs to identify the pigment to locate and target the hair follicle to encourage targeted hair loss. Waxing removes the entire hair and follicle so no pigment can be found.
For best results, it is essential that a patient follows proper preparation protocol before a laser hair removal treatment. Failing to do so will lead to less-than-ideal results, or even no changes at all. Some patients also make the mistake of only preparing properly before their first treatment, and then fail to prepare on the following treatments.
• Shave: The area to be treated should ideally be clean of any hair. 1-2 days before your treatment, shave the entire area, ensuring that there is little to no hair remaining. This will allow the energy from the laser to be thoroughly absorbed into the hair follicle.
• Avoid All Tanning: For best results, there has to be as much contrast as possible between the pigmentation of your hair and your skin. This means avoiding all tanning, including sunless tanners, for around a month prior to your treatment. And while you are undergoing a series of treatments, make sure to always wear sunscreen (SPF 50+) whenever you are exposed to the sun.