Laser hair removal is state of the art and world class treatment to get rid of unwanted and unsightly hair from any part of our body with utmost precision. It targets those hair follicles that are in anagen phase. It is an advanced and dermatologist recommended procedure, for its sheer safety, efficacy and lasting results. From the early 70’s when lasers came in, until now, laser technology has seen multifold growth, with more and more advanced procedures coming in and showing effective results for almost all skin types.
So is laser hair removal a permanent solution? This post is dedicated to answering all of these questions so that you can take the right decision on whether or not you want to opt for a laser hair removal treatment.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
Yes, laser hair removal is a permanent hair reduction solution. So laser hair removal treatment is not a permanent hair removal treatment literally, but rather a permanent hair reduction treatment. That is, it is not going to permanently stop the regrowth of your hair, but would rather reduce the amount of regeneration.
A lot of patients would observe regrowth of tiny hair on the treated areas after the completion of the last session of their laser hair removal treatment. This clearly indicates that though the total number of hair is much lesser than before, there is no permanent removal of the hair. It will just take longer to grow back when compared to the other removal methods such as waxing, threading and shaving. You will also notice that the regrown hair is much finer and lighter just like baby hair.
So, even after you complete all your sessions successfully, you might have to go for an annual follow-up to ensure that the laser hair remova treated areas remain hair-free.
What Are the Factors That Influence The Permanence Of Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal results depend upon various factors. Depending upon the body part on which you are getting the treatment done as well as on how well the treated area responds to the procedure, you would need at least four to eight sessions to see visible results. Your dermatologist would let you know the number of sessions that you would require. Once you have completed all the required sessions, you will notice almost 70-80% hair reduction in the treated areas.
The effectiveness of the treatment may also vary due to certain hormonal disorders which will result in faster regrowth of hair. In such situations, you will have to first treat the hormonal disorder and simultaneously schedule your laser hair removal treatment sessions for aesthetic enhancement. Since the hair follicles can regenerate, you would have to ideally schedule a follow-up with your dermatologist at least once or twice in a year, in order to maintain the results of the treated area.
Permanent Hair Removal Vs. Permanent Hair Rreduction
Technically the term must be laser hair reduction as FDA approved several manufacturers of laser equipment for using the term permanent reduction and not permanent removal of hair. This means the laser treatment will result in reduction in total number of body hair and not permanent removal of all hair from a particular part. Laser works by selectively targeting the pigmented cells (chromophores) in hair follicles intended for long term and there may be several sessions to achieve that.
What The Experts Says About Laser Hair Removal?
Dermatologists suggest Laser hair removal as a safe and effective procedure for almost all Indian skin types as the colour and skin tone is suitable for the same. However, there are certain considerations which must be kept in mind, that include –
- Laser hair removal may not give exact same results for everyone, as it depends on skin type, strength of hair, thickness of hair and area to be treated
- People with darker (Fitzpatrick’s skin type 4,5 and 6) or simply Indian skin tone will respond in a better way as the laser can differentiate between the pigment of hair follicles and the skin. For lighter skin or with lighter colour of hair it becomes challenging as blonde white and red hair do not have enough melanin for laser to target
- Laser hair removal is not permanent for every hair in the area but for the hair being treated at the targeted area. Largely it reduces the number of hair, thins out the further hair growth and with repeated sessions and maintenance, you can get long lasting and permanent results for the hair so treated
- Expertise in treating with laser is extremely important for efficacy and longevity of the procedure. Since sensitive skin areas are targeted and laser can damage the surrounding tissues so precision is a must while performing the treatment
- Treatment can be cost effective if proceeded for full body laser hair removal, as compared with individual body parts. And also when compared with traditional methods, in the long run, laser hair removal is more cost friendly.
What Is The Difference Between Medical & Beauty Grade Machines?
Both, a medical grade machine and a beauty grade machine are used for laser hair removal. The main difference between both the machines is the amount of temperature that is used for targeting the hair follicles. While a medical grade machine uses 70 degrees, the beauty grade machine uses only 40 degrees. The lack of high temperature renders the hair to become lighter and thicker, and they stop responding to the treatment eventually. This is the main reason why it is best to use the medical machine as they are more effective in heating the hair follicles and providing better laser hair removal results.
The medical grade machine consists of two types of technology – Alexandrite laser (ideal for people with medium complexion and coarse hair) and Diode laser (ideal for people with darker complexion and coarse hair).
How Long Does a Laser Hair Removal Treatment Last?
Despite the fact that it treats the target hair permanently, but some hair grow back post the procedure comprising several sessions. As LHR does not treat all of the hair, rather it treats the hair in anagen phase only as inly that time is melanin the highest and the hair is attached to its roots. Also the results of laser hair removal depend upon various factors like the body part on which you are getting the treatment done, how well the treated area responds to the procedure, hormonal disorders and other health conditions. Only after treating the root cause of unwanted hair, the results would be long lasting for LHR. And you would need at least four to eight sessions to see visible results. Your dermatologist would let you know the number of sessions that you would require. Once you have completed all the required sessions, you will notice almost 70-80% hair reduction in the treated area.
Since the hair follicles can regenerate, you would have to ideally schedule a follow-up with your dermatologist at least once or twice a year to maintain flawless skin at the treated area.
When Is Laser Hair Removal Most Effective?
Laser hair removal for Indian skin types is best proceeded with USFDA approved soprano ice or Q switched Nd:YAG laser technology. Based on Fitzpatrick’s colour scale for skin tone there are different results on different skin types when proceeded with LHR. This treatment works more effectively on V and VI types of skin colours as it does not cause any major side effect. Indian skin tone is largely the V and VI one but it may not just be restricted. With advanced laser technology now every skin tone can be treated with LHR. A person’s hair colour, thickness of the hair, and their skin colour are the deciding factors that determine the effectiveness and permanence of a laser hair removal procedure.
What Results Should I Expect?
Ideally you would be able to see visible results within 2-3 sessions and with the completion of all the sessions, 70-80% of your unwanted hair would be gone leaving behind smooth and flawless skin. As hair does not shed immediately but it takes several weeks to fall. The before and after results for laser hair removal vary from person to person. Initially you might feel some redness and swelling for which ice application is recommended. Also there might be some hair growth but the hair would be finer and lighter in colour which is almost invisible.
Why Does Hair in Some Areas Grow Back and In Other Areas It Doesn’t?
Since laser hair removal targets only the hair in its growth or anagen phase thus not all hair gets treated in one session. At any point around 60% of your hair is in anagen phase of their growth cycle. So LHR targets those 60% only. The rest of 40% is in its catagen and telogen phase and since the laser treatment does not affect them, they grow back once they are out of their shrivelling or resting phases. You can have them removed when you are back for your follow-up session. Also the hair growth depends on skin type, underlying health condition, thickness and density of hair on the skin, etc.
Why Are Follow-Up Sessions Needed?
To upkeep the permanence of your LHR treatment, follow-up sessions are important. Once you decide on getting laser hair removal done, you need to be fully committed to it as the whole cycle can take up to nine months to complete. The simple reason why follow-up sessions are required is so that the dermatologist can target the few hair follicles which have regenerated. This will ensure that you have a thorough and permanent reduction. Depending upon the regrowth of your hair, you can either schedule a follow-up session once or twice in a year.
What Happens If You Discontinue The Treatment?
When you discontinue, you will notice that hair has grown back again much faster than it was supposed to and you are back to square one. This is why patients are advised to attend all their sessions and also schedule regular check-ups so that they do not face the same problem again.
With this treatment, you would start noticing the results right after the first session. After a couple of sessions, people are under the impression that they have successfully completed the treatment and stop attending the further sessions.
Laser hair removal is the safest way to stop the growth of hair for an extended period of time. If you are thinking about getting a laser hair removal treatment done believing that the results are forever and effortless, then you will be disappointed, but it is still the best option when you think of spending unnecessary time and money on shaving, waxing, trimming, etc., only to find the hair grown back in a very short period.