Laser treatment is not a permanent hair removal method.
If you are looking for a long-lasting solution to remove unwanted hair from the face or any other body part, laser hair removal is one of the best options available.
This method uses high-energy laser beams to destroy the hair follicles. But is it a permanent solution to the issue? To understand it, you should first understand how laser hair removal works.
How does laser hair removal work?
The laser is a high-energy beam of light. It targets the hair and hair follicle's pigment (colouring agents) to track them. Once the hair is tracked, its energy travels down the hair shaft to reach the roots of the hairs, the hair follicles. The hair follicles are destroyed, and they cannot grow hair anymore.
But, your body has some more hairs than are visible to you. Where are these hidden hairs? These are the hairs whose follicles are in the resting phase, and they have shed their hair threads. Such hairs will not be completely tracked, and thus their follicles will not be fully destroyed.
So, the dermatologist may ask you to undergo several treatment sessions for better results. As the resting phase is 2-3 months long, you will need several sessions for that period for the effective removal of body hair.
Is it a permanent solution?
The method seems superb. Your hair follicles are permanently destroyed. But does it ensures the destruction of all hair follicles? Let's understand.
There are too many of them
There are tens of thousands of hair follicles are on your body. Humans are born with around 5 million hair follicles, and only a fraction of them are on your scalp. More follicles are added to this pool after birth. It will be next to impossible to track and destroy all of them. Even with the most careful and rigorous process, there are chances that some of the hair follicles may persist.
Hair follicles in the resting phase can survive the mass killing
All the hairs on your body are not in the same phase of the growth cycle. Most of them (85-90%) are in the growth phase, the longest hair cycle phase. The follicles in the resting phase shed their hair and have less pigment than others. So, how is the laser going to track them?
If you have not taken multiple sessions, it is possible that some of the hair follicles in the resting phase (approximately 10-15%) will survive and will be able to regrow the hairs again.
Laser may not work on regrown hair
Some people also note that the hairs grow back but are thinner than the previous ones. It happens because the laser has damaged the hair follicle but has failed to destroy it. Sometimes, the regrown hairs have less pigment that the laser can't destroy. So, you will need to combine the treatment with some other options.
When do you begin to notice hair regrowth?
The answer is not so easy. It depends on the dynamics of your hair cycle. Some people have a long growing phase (anagen), and their hairs grow much faster than others. While others having a longer telogen (resting) phase have a danger that more of the follicles will survive the laser and regrow hair (although these hairs will be much weaker).
Also, it depends on your skin's complexion. The laser works best if you have more contrast between skin and hairs, i.e., darker hairs on lighter skin. This contrast helps the laser to track down the follicles and destroy them. That's why people with grey or white hair on light skin (less contrast) will need more treatments and will have more risk of hair regrowth.
Also, the skill of the technician and the quality of the laser-matter, and the studies have found that the lasers with longer wavelengths are best for darker hair.
What does the research say
Various investigations on people using the laser have produced variable results.
An earlier study published in the Dermatological surgery noted that hair regrowth was experienced by 34% of people after receiving three sessions. However, the technology and methodology improvements have improved the results, and recent studies have noted more promising results.
A recent study published in the Lasers in Surgery and Medicine in 2020 found that using a long-pulsed laser beam (755 nm wavelength) effectively removed the unwanted hairs. The participants in the study (954 people) received multiple laser treatments over months. A follow-up after 11.5 years found that the effects persisted in 87.9% of the people.
Does hair regrowth depend on the area being treated?
The answer is 'yes'.
Different areas of the body have different hair densities. More hair density means more chances of survival for hair follicles. The strength of hair follicles is also different for different areas.
Hair removal on the face will be long-lasting. Some people feel good results for as many as 10 years, but others report hair regrowth after a few years. It all depends on the factors mentioned above. However, it would help if you continued treatment for months to ensure that surviving follicles are destroyed as they return to the growth phase.
The hair growth will be noticed after years, but these hairs will be sparse and thin. In such cases, other hair removal methods, e.g., electrolysis, can help you out.
The effectiveness of laser hair removal depends upon various factors. It is one of the best options at your disposal. It is a long-lasting but not a permanent solution. A hair can regrow as long its follicle is alive. You will note hair growth after a few years, but these hairs will be short and thin and can easily be removed by other methods.
Moreover, the exact effect depends on several other factors mentioned above. You need to consult with the skin specialist to know more about the best method for you.
At Welzo, we offer products to treat female facial hair, also known as Hirsutism. Click here for online consultation.
However, if you do not like laser hair removal (particularly on sensitive skin, e.g., upper lip etc.), we have a safe hair removal cream for you. It is a prescription drug for the hair growth due to hormonal imbalances. Click here to order it after an online consultation.
To learn more about other hair removal methods, visit our information pages by clicking here.
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