Laser hair removal is a non-invasive technique that uses highly concentrated light to penetrate hair follicles. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle to inhibit future hair growth. Laser hair removal is effective for most parts of the body.
Because laser hair removal only affects actively growing hair follicles, it may take several laser hair removal treatments to provide significant hair reduction. Additionally, while laser hair removal effectively slows hair growth, it doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. Periodic maintenance treatments may be needed.
Typically the shedding of the treated hairs takes about two to three weeks. These hairs should be allowed to fall out on their own and should not be manipulated by the patient for certain reasons, chiefly to avoid infections. Pulling hairs after a session can be more painful as well as counteract the effects of the treatment.
Number of sessions
Hair grows in several phases (anagen, telogen, catagen) and a laser can only affect the currently active growing hair follicles (early anagen). Hence, several sessions are needed to kill hair in all phases of growth.
Multiple treatments depending on the type of hair and skin color have been shown to provide long-term reduction of hair. Most patients need a minimum of seven treatments. Current parameters differ from device to device but manufacturers and clinicians generally recommend waiting from three to eight weeks between sessions, depending on the area being treated. The number of sessions depends on various parameters, including the area of the body being treated, skin color, coarseness of hair, reason for hirsutism, and sex. Coarse dark hair on light skin is easiest to treat. Certain areas may require considerably more treatments to achieve desired results.
Laser does not work well on light-colored hair, red hair, grey hair, white hair, as well as fine hair of any color, such as vellus. For darker skin patients with black hair, the long-pulsed laser with a cooling tip can be safe and effective when used by an experienced practitioner.
Laser hair removal procedure steps
- Your plastic surgeon may perform the laser hair removal procedure, or may delegate this to a nurse or other licensed provider.
- A beam of highly concentrated light is used to target unwanted hair follicles. There is some mild discomfort that does not last long.
- Because hair grows in cycles, it typically takes three to four laser hair removal treatments to provide significant hair reduction.
Laser hair removal has become popular because of its speed and efficacy, although some of the efficacy is dependent upon the skill and experience of the laser operator,and the choice and availability of different laser technologies used for the procedure. Some will need touch-up treatments, especially on large areas, after the initial set of 3-8 treatments.