How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Last?
How long does laser hair removal last and how permanent is it? In short, the results from laser hair removal can last for years, and in some cases, forever. Laser hair removal is permanent when the targeted hair follicles are effectively destroyed during treatment. If the follicle is only damaged during treatment, hair may eventually regrow.
All things considered, laser hair removal is 95% to 98% permanent, making it one of the most popular cosmetic treatments we do at SGK. It is helpful, however, to know how laser hair removal works so that you can better understand it and be able to think with how long its results might last for you.
The Laser Focuses on Hair by Isolating its Color or Pigment
The lasers used in laser hair removal are attracted to the color in your hair when compared to the skin that surrounds it. The laser attracts itself to that pigment and the heat from the laser then travels down the hair shaft to the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (called hair follicles) from which hair grows. If a hair follicle is only partly damaged by the laser but is not fully disabled — such as could happen when inadequate passes of the laser or inadequate treatment sessions are done — hair is likely to grow again from that follicle. This is one of the reasons that multiple visits and multiple passes of the laser are required for a complete and effective treatment. It’s also why laser hair removal is most effective for people with fair or light skin and dark hair.
The laser removes hair in its growth cycle
The second factor to understand is that your hair goes through four phases in its growth: Growing, Transition, Resting, and New Hair Phase. The laser will effectively handle hair that has grown, and which can thus absorb the heat and energy of the laser.
As new hair from untreated follicles enter the growth stage, they are picked up in subsequent laser hair removal treatments.
A helpful analogy might be of pulling weeds: if we are de-weeding by pulling on the stem or leaves, we won’t catch those plants that haven’t yet sprouted. But, when we return for a second or third pass, we will now have leaves and stems we can grab onto to finish the job.
Between 5 and 8 laser hair treatments are done over 1 to 2 months. Patients should expect clearance of at least 80% of the hair from the treated area, with the remaining 20% being less dense and of a thinner caliber, and slower to grow back.
These factors give laser hair removal its 95 to 98 percent permanency. Once a follicle is dead, the hair will no longer grow from it. That’s why we recommend laser hair removal includes touch-up visits usually twice a year after the initial series of treatment sessions to address hairs that may have since come in from follicles that weren’t effectively treated.
Treatment Area Also Matters
Laser hair removal is most often done on the upper lip, legs, back, shoulders, and bikini line. The fine, lighter color hair on the face is more persistent than, for example, the coarse hair of the underarms and legs, where treatments are most effective.