Untitled design (1)

Is laser hair removal treatment permanent?

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 Permanent?

In short, no. Laser hair removal works by heating the hair follicles to stop new hairs from growing. This puts the hair follicles in a state of dormancy for a long period of time — much longer than with shaving and waxing. When the hairs do grow back, they’ll be lighter, finer, and fewer in number.

Although the procedure is often touted as a form of “permanent” hair removal, laser treatment only reduces the number of unwanted hairs in a given area. It doesn’t get rid of unwanted hair completely.

Most people experience hair removal that lasts several months, and it might last for years. But laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. When hair regrows, it’s usually finer and lighter in color.

How laser hair removal works

Laser hair removal relies on a concept called selective photothermolysis. It is a precise microsurgery technique used to target tissue in a specific area. It matches the specific wavelength of light and heats the tissue and destroys it with a laser without affecting or damaging surrounding tissue.

During a laser hair removal session, the laser emits light energy that targets the pigments in the hair. Once the melanin has absorbed the energy, the latter travels down to the follicle. There it turns into thermal energy. The heat will damage the hair follicle, preventing any further growth.

Laser hair removal only works on hair that is in the anagen phase of growth. Indeed, it is the only time the hair and the follicle connect, letting the energy travel from the former to the latter. Only 20% of all hair will be in the anagen phase at any point in time.

This explains why patients need multiple sessions six weeks apart. During that time, 20% of hair can move into the right phase of growth. Laser hair removal works on all skin tones and hair colors.

What about home lasers?

Lasers that can be used at home for hair removal are available. These devices might cause modest hair reduction. But there are no large studies comparing how effective these devices are compared with laser hair removal done at a doctor’s office.

Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers these home laser hair removal devices to be cosmetic, not medical, which means they don’t get the same level of scrutiny as other medical devices. Currently, there haven’t been large, long-term studies on how safe and effective home machines are.

If you choose to use a home laser hair removal device, follow the instructions that come with the device to help reduce the risk of injury, especially eye injuries.

Laser hair removal usually requires two to six treatments. The interval between treatments will vary depending on the location. On areas where hair grows quickly, such as the upper lip, the treatment might be repeated in four to eight weeks. On areas of slow hair growth, such as the back, the treatment might be every 12 to 16 weeks.

For each treatment, you’ll wear special goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beam. An assistant might shave the site again if necessary. The doctor might apply a topical anesthetic to your skin to reduce any discomfort during treatment.

Most people experience hair removal that lasts several months, and it might last for years. But laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. When hair regrows, it’s usually finer and lighter in color.

Share this post