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Results: How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Last?


When trying to determine the length of laser hair removal results, certainty is not assured. There are many factors that affect how a person responds to laser hair removal treatments. These factors, which can include skin and hair type, the type of laser used, and existing medical conditions, also affect how long a patient's results last before regrowth occurs—so a single definitive answer to the question “how long does laser hair removal last?” is nearly impossible. However, by evaluating certain key information about a patient, and about the efficacy of laser hair removal treatments in general, we can make reasonable estimates as to how long their personal laser hair removal results will last!

Facts About Laser Hair Removal Results and Permanency

Let's begin by identifying some facts about laser hair removal results. While average statistics on the length of laser hair removal results won't apply to everyone, they're a good starting point when trying to predict your results. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that good laser hair removal candidates may "reduce hair counts by 20 percent to 90 percent" through the course of treatment.

While individual hair reduction results tend to vary, the number of recommended laser treatments for hair removal patients is more static. Many trusted laser hair removal information sources, like the Mayo Clinic and American Laser Centers, tend to concur that the minimum amount of laser treatments needed to achieve true, lasting hair removal results is 6-8 treatments, spaced out over several months.

Also, it's important to mention that no matter how many laser hair removal sessions a patient undergoes, the treatment won't yield them a lifetime of hair-free results. Despite what some laser hair removal products may claim, laser hair removal is not a method of permanent hair removal; it's a method of permanent hair reduction. It's true that continued laser hair removal sessions will produce long-term hair removal, but once a patient stops treatment, they will likely experience hair regrowth on treated areas.

Currently, electrolysis is the only treatment widely held to produce permanent hair removal results. However, the treatment process itself is reportedly very expensive, time-consuming and painful.

Personal Factors Affecting Laser Hair Removal Results

If you decide that laser hair removal is your best bet for long-lasting hair reduction, then it's time to take personal steps to ensure you will receive optimal treatment results. You already know what to expect on the average, and about how many laser treatments you will need, but there's a lot more to predicting the outcome of your laser hair removal results than just these aspects. Certain personal factors like skin and hair type—which determine treatment candidacy—can affect your laser hair removal results, as will your hair's natural structure and growth rates.

Your skin and hair type can be highly relevant to your treatment results, and the length of time you can maintain them. This is because, if laser hair removal isn't compatible with your natural physicality, you may require more than the average number of laser hair removal treatments, and/or your unwanted hair might only be treatable with a specific type of laser technology.

The best candidates for laser hair removal typically have fair skin and dark hair. Hair lasers are attracted to hair with a greater concentration of melanin pigments, like brown or black hair. Additionally, lasers can more effectively find and focus their energy on eliminating these dark hair pigments when the surrounding skin has little to no melanin in it, like with fair skin. When a patient has dark skin, and/or light hair, it becomes more difficult for the laser to target hair follicles for treatment.

When you attend your initial laser hair removal consultation, be sure and ask the hair removal provider what laser technology options are available. Explain your concerns to the specialist, and have an earnest discussion about your personal risk factors and odds for success. If the provider doesn't use the type of laser that will work on your skin and hair type, another local specialist may have what you're looking for. As of now, the best laser systems on the market to treat darker skin tones include the Nd:Yag laser, and the Diode laser. If the hair removal provider disqualifies you for laser hair removal based on an existing skin condition or medical problem, you will need to take care of that issue before pursuing laser hair removal with them or with anyone.

How Hair Growth Rates Can Affect Your Treatment Results

Your individual hair growth rate can also have a large effect on the overall success of your laser hair removal and on the length of results. Since hair growth does not occur the same way for each patient, one person may yield shorter laser hair removal results than another person—even when they both use the same type of laser technology! In other words, it's helpful to have a basic understanding of the hair growth process when trying to predict your individual laser hair removal results. Here are some basic truths about hair growth that are worth knowing:

  • A full hair growth cycle occurs in 3 phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transition or breakdown) and telogen (rest).
  • The length of these hair growth phases differ on various body areas. For instance, scalp hair tends to have a longer growth phase than body hair does, and eyebrow hair has a shorter growth phase than leg hair. Also, hair on certain body sites has a different growth rate than on others.
  • All hair follicles are not in identical phases of the growth cycle at the same time; rather, hair follicles cycle in a random "mosaic pattern".
  • A patient's individual hair structure and hair growth rate can be affected by age, gender, ethnicity, hair color, genetics and health conditions. For example, hair tends to grow at a faster rate during youth than it will during a patient's elderly years.

As far as the last point, it's helpful to try and examine some of these personal factors and analyze what they could mean for your laser hair removal success. You can even ask your hair removal specialist to help you determine your individual and genetic predisposition for long-lasting hair removal results.

However, some things you can learn through your own personal assessment. For instance, do you have particularly dense, coarse body hair? You may require a greater number of laser hair removal treatments to fully eliminate it. After shaving, does your hair grow back within two days? One day? If you naturally have a fast hair growth rate, you may experience regrowth before other laser hair removal patients do.

Final Tips: Estimating the Length of Your Laser Hair Removal Results

To make the best assessment of your laser hair removal candidacy, and how long your laser hair removal treatments should last, you should consult with a licensed hair removal provider. They can help answer your questions concerning your treatment candidacy, the number of laser hair removal treatment sessions you may need, and what you can expect in terms of hair regrowth.

To get the most out of your consultation appointment, we recommend considering the treatment factors we've gone over in this article beforehand. By learning as much about your laser hair removal potential prior to pursuing treatment, you will know what to ask your hair removal specialist during the consultation—not to mention it's a proactive way to educate and protect yourself from developing unnecessary laser hair removal side effects, and disappointing results.

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