What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is an alternative to hair removal methods like shaving, waxing, and depilatory cream removal. Laser hair removal uses concentrated laser light to access the hair follicle. When the hair follicle takes in the heat, the pigment within the follicle is broken into countless small pieces. The hair follicle is then entirely destroyed, which means you won’t be able to regrow that hair in the future.
Lasers that we use have been approved by the FDA for safe and effective hair reduction. During treatment, the laser emits a pulse, which travels through the skin and is attracted to the darkness of the hair. The laser then heats up the hair’s shaft and root, destroying it. Because the follicle is eliminated, it is unable to re-grow hair. The Dynamic Cooling Device™ of our Candela GentleYAG laser emits a highly focused spray of coolant on the skin just before each laser pulse, targeting the exact area. This process protects the epidermis from overheating, burning, and scaring while reducing any discomfort.
So, a damaged hair follicle means no more hair. Because the laser effectively targets many hairs at one time, lots of follicles are destroyed at once. This all allows us to remove the hair of large areas in a fairly quick treatment session.
Below is some additional information that will help you to better understand laser hair removal, and the factors that affect hair growth. The human body has a mixture of hairs with varying amounts of melanin, also known as dark pigment, and a combination of activated hairs that are cycling through the growth cycle and hairs that have not yet become active. Most importantly, many factors such as hormones, age, ethnicity, weight, metabolism, and medication all influence the body’s hair growth.
Who is a good candidate for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal at SoCal Lazer & Medi-Spa is customized based on the patient’s needs. The spot size and laser fluence are determined according to your individual skin type and level of hair growth.
Certain types of hair are easier to remove than others. Dark hair is easier to target with the hair removal laser than light hair. The SoCal Lazer & Medi-Spa team strives to help every patient get rid of unwanted hair, regardless of what type of hair they have.
Where can hair be removed from?
Laser hair removal can address unwanted hair growth in nearly any part of your body. The most common areas for hair removal include:
- The upper lip
- The underarms
- The bikini area
- The lower legs
- The lower arms
- The chest
- The back
When does the hair fall out?
It generally takes 10-14 days for the treated hair to start shedding. The hair will come out on its own, or you can buff it away with a body scrub, a loofah sponge, or exfoliating gloves.
Will new hair grow back?
Although the treated hair follicles won’t grow new hair, there are other untreated hair follicles which will grow new hair. Around a week or two after the hair treatment, your untreated hair follicles will enter the active growth phase, also known as the anagen growth phase. Future treatments are scheduled once the new hair is prominent enough for removal.
How many laser hair removal treatments are needed?
This can vary based on the patient, but most patients have about 8-12 laser hair removal treatments in total. The treatments are typically scheduled 4-12 weeks apart to allow time for all new hair growth to be addressed. After a full series of treatments, you’ll have the smooth skin you’ve always wanted.
Hair Growth Cycles
When the hair is actively growing each individual hair goes through three main cycles, which are Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Anagen is considered the growing stage, this is when the root of the hair is the largest, has an abundance of melanin, and is attached to the root. It is only during this stage that the hair is able to be targeted by lasers. Anagen can last several weeks normally, and at any time, about 15-20% of a person’s hair is in this stage. Catagen is often called the transition stage. The hair at this point has completed its growth stage and is as long as it will get. The hair retreats from the root and will fall out on its own. This stage can last anywhere from a week to just two days. Telogen is the “resting” stage where the hair is not growing or shedding. During this stage the hair is not visible and it is fully detached from the root, this stage does not have a set time duration, it can last as short as a week up to a year or more before it comes back to Anagen
ANAGEN – Active Growth Phase
Laser hair removal can only occur during this active growth stage.
CATAGEN – Transition Phase
Hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the dermal papilla.
TELOGEN- Resting Phase
The dermal papilla completely separates from the hair follicle.
There can be as many as 2,500 hair follicles per square inch, however less than 100 hairs are actually actively growing. The hairs that are inactive are “waiting” to be activated by hormones. This is why many people experience heightened amounts of hair during puberty, and less amounts of hair in some areas as we grow older, such as the head, and more in other areas, such as the ears or back. Our genetic makeup tells our body when to produce more or less hormones, thus affecting our hair growth. Hair must be in the active anagen phase to be treated by laser; this is why treating a young child before puberty will not prevent future hair growth during puberty, it will only kill the hair they have actively growing at that time
Melanin, or dark pigment is the amount of color present in the hair. Because laser light is absorbed better by dark objects, removal of dark hair is much more effective than for lighter hair. Additionally, the more contrast the skin has with the hair, such as light skin with dark hair, the more effective the treatment will be. Each hair is different and has varying amounts of melanin, which will also influence the effectiveness of laser treatments. There are some products that are designed to add melanin to the roots of lighter hairs, and we have these products available for interested customers.