Laser hair removal is a permanent method of removing hair that does not damage the hair follicle. The hair can regrow if the hair is not damaged or destroyed during laser hair removal. Many doctors refer to laser hair reduction as permanent hair removal, rather than long-term. Learn more about laser hair removal, its cost, and how it lasts.
What is the procedure for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal uses light to remove individual hairs. The light travels through the shaft of the hair to the hair follicle.
The laser light heats the hair follicle and the hair cannot grow.
The unique growth cycle of hair involves resting, shedding, and growing. A technician or laser will not see any hairs that are in the resting phase. This means that it may be necessary to wait for it to regrow before removing it.
Laser hair removal can take several treatments, which for most people takes between 2 and 3 months.
Laser hair removal is permanent?
Permanent hair removal is possible from a damaged hair follicle. People who have hair removed can expect some hair growth in the area.
It is possible to treat the area once more to reduce the number of hairs that grow. Sometimes, you may be able to remove all hair.
Hair growth depends on many factors including the type of hair being removed and the skill level of the person who is removing it.
People find that hair grows back lighter and more noticeable. The laser can damage hair follicles even if it does not destroy them.
The hair will regrow if it is not damaged but not completely destroyed. Most people will experience some hair growth, even though it is difficult to remove every hair follicle.
It is possible to treat hair that has grown back, but it may be difficult to do so again. People who wish to get rid of all their hair might need multiple treatments.
Sometimes hair is too thin, too long, or resistant to treatment. These cases may lead to the need for other methods of hair removal, such as plucking any stray hairs.
How long does laser hair reduction last?
Laser hair removal can be permanent if the hair follicle has been destroyed. The hair will regrow if the hair follicle is not damaged.
The length of time that hair takes to regrow is dependent on each person’s hair growth cycle. Some hair grows faster than others. A hair in its resting phase will grow faster than hair in another phase.
Most people will see some hair growth within the next few months. After this occurs, people can choose to have more treatments.
Is it the hair or skin color that makes a difference?
Hair removal works best for people with dark hair and light skin tones. Because of the contrast in the pigment, the laser is able to better target the hair and travel into the follicle to destroy it.
People with darker skin and hair may require more treatment than others. They may also find that their hair grows back faster.
The technician must be able to pinpoint the area where the hair is to be permanently removed and the type of laser that will work best.
Side effects and potential risks
Some people feel burning, stinging, or discomfort during treatment. Many technicians use a numbing cream on the areas they treat. Some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to the numbing cream.
Side effects that are minor and not serious can occur, including:
- Changes in skin color, especially in those with darker skin, are often temporary.
- Skin redness
- The skin may blister or crust.
Scarring can sometimes result from irritation caused by hair removal. Infected skin can also be caused by irritation. Although rare, skin infections may spread to other parts of the body and cause serious complications.
Providers can reduce the chance of side effects by sharing detailed medical information and discussing the risks and benefits.
After hair removal, it is important to avoid direct sunlight. Sunburns can cause skin irritation, leading to blisters and scarring.
Patients who feel severe pain, fever or crusting, blisters, or any other signs of skin disease or infection should seek medical attention.
Laser hair removal can dramatically reduce the amount of hair on the body. Most people will see some hair regrow over time.
Even if hair does grow back, it will appear smoother. Talk to a specialist or doctor about your treatment goals and get a realistic idea of the results.
Certain hair types and skin colors produce better results than others. Talking to a doctor, dermatologist or another skilled practitioner will help you know what to expect.