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How Permanent is Laser Hair Removal?

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Laser hair removal is often touted as a permanent hair removal solution. But with maintenance and follow-up treatments needed long after the laser hair removal treatments are completed, can laser hair removal really be called a permanent hair solution?

So how permanent and how effective is laser hair removal? While laser hair removal is an extremely effective procedure – after just a few sessions, patients can expect to lose around 80% of the facial or body hair in the treated area – it is difficult to call it a truly permanent solution, and it is better referred to as a semi-permanent hair removal solution.

Why is Laser Hair Removal Not Permanent?

Laser hair removal is not exactly a permanent solution because of the way hair follicles and hair growth in the body work together. Firstly, it is important to understand that the hair growth cycle means that not all the hair in any given area will be ready to be treated at any point in time.

Hair goes through various cycles of growth, and hair strands can only effectively be treated once they are in a certain period of growth: the growth phase. Even after several sessions of laser hair removal, there is still the chance that some of the follicles were not completely destroyed by the procedures.

Secondly, the body can heal the damaged hair follicle affected by the hair removal sessions. Just because a hair follicle is damaged doesn’t mean it will stop growth forever. With enough time and nutrition, the body can repair any hair follicle damaged by the lasers.

While growth won’t return completely to normal right away, patients with regrown follicles may experience hair that is lighter, finer, and thinner than the hair that grew previously. This can easily be treated with a follow-up or maintenance laser treatment at a later period.

The Hair Growth Cycle

To better understand why laser hair removal isn’t permanent, it’s important to know how the hair growth cycle works. Hair grows in cycles of three phases. The hair on your face or body do not necessarily go through the stages of the hair cycle at the same rate; this is why a single session of laser hair removal can only target about 10% to 25% of the treated hair.

These three phases or stages are the following:

  1. Anagen Stage (Growth): The anagen or growth stage is the most important stage of hair growth, as this is when the hair actually grows. It is the first stage of the cycle, and is the point in the cycle when laser hair removal works best, as the hair pigment and the hair follicle are most exposed and vulnerable.
  2. Catagen Stage (Transition): The catagen or transition stage is the stage that sits between the growth stage and the rest stage. This is the stage when you typically experience shedding hair; when you find hair coming out on your pillows, in the hair brush, or in the shower. While laser hair removal isn’t typically recommended for this stage, it can still affect some follicles. This is also known as the shortest stage, with just an average of 2-3 days of duration.
  3. Telogen Stage (Rest): The last stage of the hair growth cycle is the telogen stage, when the hair sheds the most and the follicles go into a stage of rest or dormancy. While other phases generally have set durations, the telogen stage is unpredictable in how long it might last, with some follicles staying in the telogen stage for as long as several months or years. This is one of the major reasons why laser removal isn’t a permanent solution, because it can be impossible to target the follicles and pigment in the telogen stage until they leave it.

Maintenance and Follow-Up Laser Hair Removal Treatments

While some may be disappointed to hear that laser hair removal isn’t truly a permanent solution to their unwanted facial or body hair woes, it’s important to remember that it is perhaps the best hair removal solution out there. You should have no difficulty maintaining your results as long as you stay committed to your laser hair sessions.

To maintain the consistency of your hair removal results, you must simply make sure to follow your recommended schedule for sessions, both the initial procedures as well as the maintenance sessions in the future.

Is There a Permanent Hair Removal Solution, and Is It Better?

While laser hair removal might not be a permanent solution for both lighter skin and darker skin, it is probably the best solution that is available right now. Other hair removal solutions include threading, waxing, and shaving, although none of these are long-term solutions.

The only procedure that has been certified by the United States FDA as a permanent solution is electrolysis, which damages the follicles beyond the point of repair. However, there are quite a few drawbacks to electrolysis, which is why lasers are overtaking it in popularity. These drawbacks include:

  • Increased Pain: There is typically more pain with electrolysis than laser removal, as the procedure is more intensive – fine tubes are inserted into the follicles and an electric current is sent into the skin. Sun exposure can also worsen the pain.
  • More Treatments: As less area can be covered per laser treatment, more treatments are required with electrolysis to make sure of a complete procedure. In some cases, patients can expect up to 30 treatments.
  • Greater Cost: While each individual treatment is less costly than laser removal per session, the greater number of treatments means a patient will end up paying more.

Ethos Spa: Where We Recommend Laser Hair Removal

Ethos Spa is the premier home of laser hair removal in the state of New Jersey, and when patients ask us what we suggest for the best hair solution, we always recommend laser removal for its efficiency and simplicity.

No matter what your facial or body hair goals may be, laser hair removal can assist you in achieving them. A hairless upper lip, hairless legs, whether you have lighter skin or darker skin or anything else; at Ethos, can we help you with what you need.

Book your free consultation with Ethos Spa today to understand more about why this solution is the ideal procedure for you.

Read more: Is Electrolysis Better than Laser for Hair Removal?

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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