Laser hair removal is a common cosmetic procedure that permanently reduces the amount of unwanted hair on a person’s face and body by vaporizing existing hairs below the skin and at the root. While it is a popular treatment for patients of any age, it is most common for people between the ages of 20 – 45. The most frequently asked questions for laser hair removal are “How long does it last?” and “Is it permanent?”.
The answer is simple: results vary from person to person.
Factors that determine the longevity of laser hair removal include:
- the color and thickness of your hair
- the area being treated
- type of laser used
- the color of your skin as the laser best targets the pigment in the hair
How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Last?
It is recommended that patients get approximately 6-9 laser hair removal sessions, depending on the area, and separated by numerous weeks apart. By spacing each session weeks apart, you allow the new hair growth to come in during the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Laser hair removal only targets hair during this stage. Patients will notice lighter, finer, and less noticeable hair after each session.
Most patients will experience laser hair removal results that last several months while others for several years. It is important to keep in mind that hair does not fall out immediately. Results will typically start to become more noticeable within days to weeks, and after a few treatment sessions.
Since laser hair removal targets hairs during the anagen phase, it is imperative to target the area with multiple treatments in order to treat hair regrowth and the new hair that has yet to be treated.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
Laser hair removal results are near-permanent for a period of time. That is with the exception of the face. That is due to fluctuating hormonal levels and the reactivation of hair follicles by androgens. Examples of such androgens include dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone.
Another factor that can accelerate hair regrowth on the face is menopause. Menopause is most common among women who are between 45-55, where estrogen levels decline.
While laser hair removal can be temporarily permanent due to the destroyed hair follicles, it is not guaranteed. This is because the hair does eventually grow back over a period of time. The hair that regrows will typically be sparse and very fine. Treating the areas periodically with touch up sessions can reduce the number of hairs that regrow. It can also create almost-permanent results.
Do Laser Hair Removal Results Differ From Men and Women?
Men typically have darker and much coarser hair than women. That makes them the ideal hair type for laser hair removal. Dark and coarse hair better allows the laser to focus its light on the pigment within the hair and does not have pigment within the skin competing for it.
While the treatment may respond better to men’s body hair, more sessions will be required due to the dense, thick hair. Ultimately, results are very similar among men and women.
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