If you’re sick of the redness and irritation that comes with repeatedly shaving, laser hair removal has probably crossed your mind more than once. While more costly than shaving or waxing, laser hair removal claims to provide long-lasting and time-saving results. But many would-be buyers wonder, is laser hair removal permanent?
How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Last?
Unfortunately while we would love to give you a definitive yes or no answer, we have to stick with the dreaded, ‘it depends.’
Whether laser hair removal is permanent depends on each individual patient. No two hair follicles are built the same, so it’s hard to predict how your body will react to the process until it’s already underway.
Laser hair removal can only promise to reduce the number of unwanted hairs in any given area, but it cannot guarantee that the hairs will be completely removed.
This might not seem like a promising answer, but take heart— out of all treatments available on the market, laser hair removal has been found to be one of the best options for slowing down hair growth over long periods of time.
For many patients, laser hair removal is permanent. For others, laser hair removal is a successful treatment that leaves their skin feeling silky smooth for an extended period of time. Their hair follicles remain dormant up to several years, and in some cases even longer.
If and when the hairs do grow back, most patients find that the dense, coarse, dark hair they had removed is gone. In its place there are lighter, finer, and fewer hairs that need to be removed.
If there are any stubborn hairs that stuck around and were not destroyed during the laser hair removal treatments, their appearance is usually greatly diminished due to their color being lightened during the process.
While some patients don’t experience regrowth for up to several years, others need regular touch-ups. After your full round of laser hair removal treatment is finished, if you’re experiencing regrowth it’s recommended to schedule maintenance treatments once or twice a year.
How Does It Work?
In order to understand whether laser hair removal is permanent, it’s important to know a few things about how the process works.
Laser hair removal emits pulses of densified light from a laser directly into each individual hair follicle. It is most attracted to pigment, which absorbs the laser light and subsequently destroys the hair. This process not only destroys the hair within the follicles, but it also prevents new hair from growing.
How Long Does It Take?
Unfortunately, not all of your unwanted hair can be removed in one session. Up to six sessions are normally needed in order to reach the desired level of smoothness, and these sessions need to be spaced roughly six weeks apart. So, if you’re looking for smooth legs by beach season, you’ll need to get started in the dead of winter.
The reason multiple sessions are needed, and why they need to be so carefully spaced apart, is because the sessions work around hair’s natural growing phases. This allows the technician to destroy the greatest number of hair follicles and ensure your laser hair removal is permanent, or at least as long-lasting as possible.
There are three growth stages— the growth phase, the resting phase, and the falling out stage. All of your hair is at different stages at once, which explains why laser hair removal cannot be completed in one session. The hair follicle has to be zapped by the laser while it’s in the growth stage so that the laser hair removal is permanent.
The hair growth cycle is typically about a month long. By scheduling the laser hair removal sessions four weeks apart, the technician is ensuring that he or she will be able to remove as many hairs as possible. This technique will give you the most permanent results possible.
The exact number of hair removal treatments will vary from person to person. Some participants will only need up to four sessions in order to reach their desired level of smoothness.
If your hair is particularly dark or coarse, more sessions may be required in order to achieve the longest-lasting results. Some patients need as many as 8 or more treatments to reach their desired outcome.
Is it Painful?
For most patients, laser hair removal is not painful. With that being said, the level of discomfort felt during treatments is dependent on a number of factors.
The level of discomfort during treatment is mostly dependent on your individual pain tolerance. While some patients find that it doesn’t hurt at all, others compare the experience to being repeatedly stung by a bee and are very uncomfortable throughout the procedure.
The color and texture of the hair being lasered plays a large role in how the procedure feels. Coarse hair requires more energy to be emitted onto the hair follicle in order to destroy it. When you have very dark hair, chances are that the hair will also be very coarse, making the individual zapping of each hair follicle a little more intense.
Keep in mind that if you are a patient that finds the laser hair removal experience unpleasant, the first session will probably hurt more than the rest. After the initial session, hair that hasn’t already begun to fall out is becoming finer and lighter, so the initial pain will likely be reduced after the first session or two.
While most patients report the treatment as being relatively painless, bear in mind your pain tolerance when deciding if laser hair removal is for you. Since there is no guarantee your laser hair removal is permanent, you could be receiving sessions every few months for long after your initial round of treatments.
Hopefully this explanation helped you understand the benefits and limitations of hair removal, whether laser hair removal is permanent, and what you can expect from the process.
While no dermatologist will suggest that the process is an end-all be-all of hair removal, it is a method that has been proven time and time again to leave patients happy with their results.
If you think laser hair removal is right for you, call our office today to schedule a consultation.