Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent and How Many Sessions Needed?
A decade ago, it’s likely that you would be asking questions about whether or not hair removal with a laser device is even effective in the least bit. Today, the questions revolve around whether or not laser hair removal is permanent. Hair removal is a given with laser treatment. That’s no longer up for debate.
But how long do the results of laser hair removal last? More importantly, how many sessions do you need to achieve optimum results from your laser hair removal treatments? These are the questions we will answer in this blog.
There’s no question about the fact that laser hair removal is more effective compared to other methods like shaving and waxing. Take shaving as a case study. Say you shave 3 times every week. Over 25 years, you will have to use the razor 3,900 times. Pair this inefficiency level with the cost of razors and the possibility of suffering razor cuts for 25 years. It’s simply not the best option.
Laser hair removal is a safer, more efficient alternative to shaving and other hair removal methods. However, in the hair removal world, it’s still a relatively new treatment method. As a result, it’s only normal to have questions about the results of laser hair removal.
There is a high potential of achieving near-permanent results with laser hair removal. Furthermore, you don’t need up to 10 treatment sessions to achieve satisfactory results from laser hair removal. In this blog, we will highlight the different factors that interplay to determine the timeline of your laser hair removal results.
But first, we will start with a look at the procedure for laser hair removal. By understanding how it works, it will be easier for you to decide whether or not it’s possible to achieve permanent hair removal with laser tech. Let’s get started!
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
The sheer amount of energy that laser hair removal devices emit is why most people think laser hair removal may be permanent. This form of laser therapy works thanks to high-heat laser beams that attack follicles in the treatment area via radiation.
Regardless of how many laser hair removal sessions you need, the laser beams work with a singular purpose. That purpose is to heat hair follicles and destroy them.
Your hair follicles are present immediately after the outer layer of your skin. They are the part of the skin responsible for the production of new hair strands. Consequently, when laser beams destroy them, there is a grinding halt in the production of new hair strands.
With this in mind, doesn’t it mean that the results of laser hair removal are permanent? The answer is “not quite.” You still have to consider factors like the hair growth stage and your skin complexion.
The main point is that laser therapy attacks the hair follicles. It’s why the results of laser hair removal last longer compared to other treatment options like tweezing and waxing.
Furthermore, it comes with few limitations in its application. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, laser hair removal is approved for use in the following areas:
- Bikini area
- Face (excluding the area around the eyes)
Before we go into whether or not laser hair removal is permanent, it’s best to look at the influence of skin tones on the result of laser therapy for hair removal. Your skin tone is a significant determinant of how many sessions you will need for complete laser hair removal. It’s a factor that also determines how efficient laser hair removal is for you.
Unless the technology changes tomorrow, laser beams used for hair removal target the melanin present in your hair. Hence, the best hair removal results come with a combination of darker hair and lighter skin tones. That’s not to say laser hair removal won’t work for people with light-coloured hair and dark skin tones. It only means you may need to increase the number of laser hair removal sessions you had in mind.
In the same vein, it’s impossible to destroy all of the hair follicles in the target area. Some of them will only suffer a level of damage. And just like other parts of your body, your hair follicles also heal. If this happens, there will be the production of new hairs in the treatment area. This scenario is part of why it’s impossible to promise permanent results with laser hair removal.
However, one thing you can rely on is the quickness of laser hair therapy sessions. Regardless of the number of treatment sessions you need, the duration of each laser hair removal appointment remains the same. Depending on the treatment area’s size, you can expect to spend 30-60 minutes at the medical aesthetician’s office.
Is laser hair removal safe?
In addition to how long the results of laser hair removal lasts, one polarizing issue is safety. For most, the idea of laser beams aimed in the direction of their skin doesn’t seem safe. This can’t be further from the truth.
Laser hair removal is 100% safe. As mentioned earlier, the energy from the laser beams will only target the melanin in your hair follicles. As such, the surrounding skin and tissue are entirely safe.
In the hands of a highly trained medical aesthetician, it’s a non-invasive treatment option with minimal downtime and side effects. You can even go back to work immediately after your laser hair treatment.
What type of lasers do medical aestheticians use?
There are different types of laser technology available for hair removal purposes. Hence, you have some due diligence to do on your part. It’s best to seek out a medical spa that uses advanced laser tech.
The choice of tech will inform whether or not your laser hair removal results are permanent. For instance, the GentleMax Pro is arguably the most effective laser tech on the market. It works using dual-wavelength tech. In essence, with this device, two different laser beams will be targeted at the unwanted hair. This way, the treatment is faster and doubly effective!
Related Article: Laser vs Waxing vs Shaving: Which Offers Guaranteed Results
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent: How Long Does it Last?
No, and yes. This is as straightforward as it gets when discussing how permanent laser hair removal results are. The main goal of laser hair therapy is to destroy hair follicles responsible for hair regrowth. In a near-perfect world, laser beams can destroy every single hair follicle in the target area.
However, even rainbows have a cloud in them. With laser hair removal, it’s almost impossible to kill off every hair follicle in the target area. As such, you can expect some form of hair regrowth in the target area. Although, with follow-up sessions, it’s possible to eliminate all the hair follicles in the treatment area. The odds of this happening increase with more sessions and a smaller treatment area.
Whether or not you can achieve this level of satisfaction is down to the skill of your medical aesthetician. It’s also dependent on the type of hair and its growth stage during the treatment. For instance, it’s entirely possible the hair in the treatment area is too light or short. If this is the case, it will be almost impossible to achieve permanent laser hair removal results.
Usually, when there is hair regrowth following laser therapy, the new hairs are lighter and far less noticeable compared to the way the area used to look. This technicality is why many medical spas promise permanent laser hair removal results. After all, if the hair in the area is far less noticeable two months after the treatment session, it’s permanent, right? You be the judge of that!
Persistence is a plus
If you’re wondering whether or not laser hair removal is permanent, you should be prepared for persistence. You see, the higher the number of treatment sessions you undergo, the more likely it is that your hair removal results will be permanent — or close to it.
So if you’re looking to remove every strand of hair in the treatment area, you should prepare for at least 6-8 treatment sessions. Of course, these treatment sessions will be spread out over a time interval best determined by your medical aesthetician.
With this level of persistence, you may not need touch-up treatments in the treatment area for 2-6 years after your initial treatments. However, depending on how fast your hair grows, it’s best to go in for a follow-up session at least once every year. This gives you the best chance of achieving permanent laser hair removal results.
Hair growth cycle
One crucial factor that determines whether or not hair removal will be permanent is the hair growth during the procedure. Your hair has four different growth stages. As such, the timing of your laser hair removal is essential.
The more your treatment aligns with the growth stage, the easier it is to target hair follicles in the treatment area. Consequently, the higher the effectiveness of your laser hair removal treatment.
How Many Laser Hair Removal Sessions Do I Need?
According to the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS), the average person needs about 6-9 treatments to achieve optimum hair reduction with laser therapy. In light of this, most medical spas in Canada offer an 8-session treatment package with the possibility of -4 follow-up sessions.
As with other forms of cosmetic treatments, laser hair removal results are dependent on the uniqueness of the individual’s body. As such, the number of laser hair removal sessions you need is dependent on the following factors:
For starters, we all have different concentrations of hair on our bodies. Similarly, your hair grows at a different rate compared to your neighbour. Therefore, the number of laser hair removal sessions you need will also differ from that of your neighbour.
If your hair regrows speedily, you’ll likely need more appointments with a medical aesthetician. In some cases, you may even need more than the average 8 treatment sessions recommended by the ASLMS.
The treatment area
Surprisingly, the rate of hair growth on different parts of your body is not the same. The treatment area also has a distinct size. A larger surface area means there are more hair follicles for the laser beams to target. As such, you may need more treatment sessions to target larger surface areas properly.
For instance, laser hair removal for the back may require 6-9 treatment sessions. On the other hand, you may only need 4-6 sessions to get rid of hair in the bikini area completely.
The level of results you want
For some people, it’s not a question of whether or not laser hair removal is permanent. This category of people are not looking for complete hair removal. Instead, they just want a reduction in the amount of hair present in the treatment area.
As such, it makes sense that people looking to reduce hair density in the treatment area will need less sessions. Mostly, 2-4 laser therapy sessions will do the job here. However, if you are looking to achieve permanent laser hair removal, you may be needing up to 8 treatment sessions.
Hair growth cycles
As much as possible, an expert medical aesthetician tries to schedule your laser hair removal sessions in line with your hair’s growth stage. The four growth cycles to consider here are:
- Anagen: This stage features active hair just above the outer skin surface.
- Catagen: This stage of hair growth features the transition of hair from active growth to dormancy.
- Telogen: The telogen stage is characterized by complete dormancy. Here, the hair remains within your skin, with the hair follicles beneath starting to produce new hair.
- Exogen: This is the stage where your body starts to shed old hair naturally. It also features the accelerated growth and movement of new hair to the other surface of the skin.
From the above, it’s easy to conclude you have different hairs at varying growth stages. While hair on some parts of your body may be falling out, others are just starting to grow beyond the surface. With this growth mechanism, your body naturally ensures there’s always visible hair on the surface of your skin.
So, how does this determine the number of sessions you need for permanent laser hair removal? It’s best to target hair in the anagen growth stage. Doing so increases the chances of ultimately damaging the hair follicles in the area.
This is why laser hair removal treatment sessions need to be scheduled weeks apart. Hence, your medical aesthetician can adequately target different sections of hair in the anagen phase. Sometimes, it can take up to 8 treatments to achieve this level of coverage.
Best Laser Hair Removal Results
Whether or not the results of laser hair removal are permanent isn’t the best way to judge this treatment’s efficacy. Instead, you should look to the degree of reduction of hair in the treatment area. Under optimum conditions, the best laser hair removal results are characterized by a 70%-90% reduction of hair in the treatment area.
Of course, different factors can affect this percentage. For instance, the rate of hair growth is an essential factor. Similarly, the laser settings during treatment will affect the portion of hair removed during a laser therapy session.
Usually, the goal is to tweak the laser settings until the medical aesthetician can achieve a hair reduction of over 90%. For an expert medical aesthetician, this is usually possible by the 2nd or 3rd treatment. The more laser energy applied, the higher the degree of hair removal.
Related Article: What is the Best Treatment for Laser Hair Removal in Vaughan?
Achieve Near Permanent Results with the Right Team
From the information above, it is indeed possible to achieve near-permanent results with laser hair removal. All you need is a professional aesthetician that can adequately gauge your hair’s growth cycle, the best laser settings and an optimum interval between treatment sessions.
Here at Canada MedLaser, our medical aestheticians have the skill to do just that. Get in touch with us to discuss the number of sessions you’ll need for satisfactory results! We are more than happy to answer any questions you have about laser hair removal.
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