The Reality of “Permanent” Laser Hair Removal
“Is laser hair removal permanent?” It’s one of the most common questions about laser hair removal and its ability to minimize unwanted hair. And it’s also one of the biggest misconceptions about this treatment.
The answer to this question is not exactly. Many people confuse the idea of laser hair removal with the idea of never shaving again. However, these are 2 different things. In reality, laser hair removal isn’t actually “removing” the hair at all. Instead, it provides long lasting hair reduction by destroying the hair follicles.
While patients will never get rid of 100% of all hair follicles, the number of hair follicles that produce hair can be reduced by about 75%-90%. Once the follicles are destroyed they do not regenerate, resulting in lasting hair reduction, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs in the treated area.
How Many Sessions of Laser Hair Removal are Needed?
The cycle of hair growth does not allow every follicle or even most follicles to be destroyed with a single treatment, which is why it’s important to get multiple treatments. Research done by ASLMS, the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, agree patients need in excess of 6-9 treatments for the greatest reduction. As such, most laser hair removal packages or treatment programs will include about 8 sessions, and patients will often see a reduction in hair after each and every session.
As mentioned, 8 sessions is often recommended to achieve optimal results. However, even then not all hair follicles will be destroyed, but a large majority of them will be. The follicles that are not completely destroyed are at least damaged, meaning they have shrunk in size, causing any hair that can still grow will be much finer, appear lighter in color, and grow back very slowly.
Our laser specialists often recommend spacing treatments every 6 weeks, although waiting longer than that between treatments will not negatively affect the patient’s results. The desired outcome after completing 8 treatments is that the patient will have a few random hairs that are very fine in texture, and that shaving will only be necessary every 2-3 weeks.
Patients who are having their faces treated with laser hair removal should expect to need 1-4 touch-up treatments annually after completing their 8-session package in order to maintain their results. Of course, outcomes can vary from person to person.
What Are The Best Possible Results of Laser Hair Removal?
A typical patient sees anywhere from a 75%-90% reduction in hair in the treated area. Results can vary based on the area that is being treated. For example, as mentioned earlier, hair growth on faces is hormonally driven and will require ongoing touch up treatments to keep hair at bay. The settings used during treatment will also play a factor in the amount of reduction a patient will see.
Our goal at each treatment visit is to increase a patient’s settings from his or her previous visit in order to maximize results. The more energy we can safely administer will effectively diminish more hair follicles, thereby providing greater hair reduction.
As mentioned, patients will never achieve 100% hair removal, and med spas should never guarantee 100% hair reduction, as this is not medically possible. Our team of laser experts suggest patients be very wary of anyone who claims that hair removal will be permanent or that shaving will not be required after having laser hair removal.
Schedule a Consultation to Learn More
Interested in learning more about how laser hair removal can reduce hair growth? Schedule a free consultation with one of our licensed laser practitioners. Even though patients will never be 100% hair free, laser hair removal will significantly reduce unwanted hair on most areas of the body, making maintenance far easier.