Laser hair removal is a permanent method of hair removal for those tired of shaving, trimming, or waxing. Using the latest laser technology, therapists can stop hair growth within the follicle, resulting in a significant reduction in hair growth and thickness after every course of treatment – with most experiencing permanent or near-permanent results.
While laser hair removal’s results are impressive, clients typically want to know “how long does laser hair removal take?” or “how many sessions for laser hair removal are needed”.
Below we’ll answer all your questions, explaining how long laser hair removal takes and how many sessions you can expect to see a significant reduction in hair growth.
How long does laser hair removal take to be effective?
Laser hair removal works by heating the hair, which conducts the heat into the follicle. Using this heat, the follicle is destroyed, preventing future hair regrowth. Because the hair must be in place to burn the follicle, only hairs in the “growing phase” are affected.
Following a session, these “non-growing” hairs may begin growing again. Some of the damaged follicles may also repair themselves. However, as the sessions go by, more and more hair follicles are damaged, producing fewer and fewer hairs after each treatment.
Hair growth phases
Let’s explore the four stages of hair growth:
- Anagen. The growing phase.
- Catagen. The transitional phase.
- Telogen. The resting phase.
- Exogen. The shedding phase.
The names tell the story: first, the hair grows normally from the follicle. This comprises the majority of hairs at any one time. After a period of growth, hair begins to slow. It enters the transitional phase before stopping hair growth completely. At some point, the hair inside the follicle is shed before a new period of hair growth begins. The entire cycle can take years, and you have hairs going through all four phases.
Hair regrowth on your body and face
As we’ve seen, hair regrowth after each treatment is predominantly hair that hasn’t been treated yet. You will continue to go for treatments until body hair regrowth is nonexistent or minimal. You may not see regrowth for many years following all your treatments. And the hair that does grow back is sparse and fine.
On the face, hair regrowth is more common. While the effects of laser hair removal are long-lasting, they’re rarely 100% permanent. After ten years or more, some people report no hair regrowth; others may require annual touchups to maintain a hair-free appearance.
Most commonly, hair regrowth occurs on the chin, neck, and other parts of the face. Women, in particular, can experience hair regrowth on the chin, upper lip, and sideburns as estrogen levels drop in menopause.
Even so, hair remains very sparse and fine regardless of regrowth. And can be treated by further laser hair treatments.
How many sessions for laser hair removal to be effective?
It depends. Because we all have different genetics and hair growth, the level of hair and its regrowth speed determine how many treatments for laser hair removal are needed.
Clients can typically expect to see approximately 80% clearance after around six treatments. However, results can vary. Facial hair, for instance, can take more sessions. The sessions are spaced out to optimize for hair regrowth and to allow time for the skin to heal. You’ll go for a session roughly every 6 to 10 weeks.
In between sessions, clients may notice hair in the treated area begins to fall out or becomes sparser – that’s a normal part of the process. Therapists should always try to achieve the optimal outcome in the fewest sessions possible.
Almost all patients see significant results within five to ten sessions. Some further sessions may be needed a year or so after the first group of sessions. These further sessions are rarely as intensive as the first – and typically touch up the previous work.
What to expect after a session?
Although laser therapy damages the hair follicle, it can still take between one to three weeks for hair loss to occur. Hair regrowth can be expected after a few weeks – from previously dormant hair follicles. You should treat your skin gently in the weeks after each treatment. While laser hair therapy isn’t permanently damaging to the skin, it does irritate.
Black dots where the laser was applied are also normal. It’s the remains of the burned hair. Use proper hygiene and gentle exfoliation to remove the hair. Keep your skin hydrated and well-maintained – avoiding the sun where possible.
You’ll continue to receive treatment for around a year to a year and a half, depending on the number of sessions and how often you receive them. Further touchups are usually minimal in the following years. And most people find that after five years, they no longer see any further hair growth.
- Most people see substantial results after 5 to 10 laser hair treatment sessions.
- Hair regrowth occurs because dormant hairs begin growing again between sessions.
- After a year, some clients need further touchup sessions to achieve lasting results. Most hair regrowth that occurs is typically very sparse and fine.
- Almost all clients see permanent results after five years or so of laser hair treatments.
- Look after your skin between sessions, moisturizing, using gentle exfoliation, and sun protection to prevent damage to the skin.