Laser Hair Removal is now one of the most common ways to get rid of unwanted hair, and done right, can definitely provide permanent hair removal. But the performance of Laser Hair Removal relies on numerous factors, encompassing (i) the kind of laser being used, (ii) the color of your hair, (iii) the color / kind of your skin and (iv) the stage of the hair in the hair growth cycle.
Today there are 5 different types of lasers that can be used to remove unwanted hair. Some lasers suit light skin, some lasers suit dark skin, some suit light hair and some suit dark hair. And even if you get it all right, you still might not be left with permanent hair removal in the short term. You see, the answer lies in the hair growth cycle, and more specifically, what phase of the cycle your unwanted hair is in. . . . sounds complicated - it is !
Before we get to know the hair growth cycle, it is essential to appreciate just how Laser Hair Removal actually works. That is, to comprehend literally how you can accomplish permanent hair removal, acquiring an appreciation of the laser process is critical.
The laser process doesn't actually physically remove the unwanted hair. The energy from the laser actually travels through the skin, and is drawn in by the pigment in the hair follicle and shaft. When this energy is absorbed into a hair, the follicles are damaged, which then impairs that particular hairs ability to grow. Eventually the hair will fall out, typically within a matter of weeks.
Getting knowledge of how the laser performs is essential. You need to always remember that the laser doesn't just make the hair fall out on the spot. It actually impairs the ableness of a hair to grow, causing it to eventually fall out. Now that we have a brief understanding of how the laser operates, it is time to get knowledge of how the hair growth cycle affects the permanence of laser hair removal.
The stage of the hair in the growth cycle will ultimately determine if the hair removal will be permanent, or if another treatment will be required. You see, the hair growth cycle consists of three stages, and the permanence of Laser Hair Removal is more predictable when the hair is in one stage in particular - the growth stage.
The growth cycle of hair includes 3 distinct stages : (1) Active/Anagen (2) Regressive/Catagen (3) Resting/Telogen.
Laser hair removal is most potent in the Anagen stage where the hair contains the most pigment, and is most sensitive to the laser light. If the laser treatment is applied when the hair is in either of the 2 other stages, then the likeliness of permanent hair removal is less.
Although hair is primarily the same thing from person to person, the way an individual's hair grows is so unique, owing to many factors including: weight, metabolism, age, genetics and environmental conditions. However, regardless of how these factors influence individual hair growth, hair itself grows through three differing phases:
1. The ACTIVE or ANAGEN growth phase, comprises approximately 85 % of our body hair at any given point in time and can last up to several years. During this stage, the hair shaft and follicle has an affluence of pigment and is most sensitive to the laser light.
2. The REGRESSIVE or CATAGEN phase is the period during which the hair ceases to actively grow but is not yet shed. This phase often lasts a few weeks comprising about 3 - 4% of our total body hair at any given point in time. The laser will work in this stage, but if it is late in this part of the cycle, a new hair might already be coming through and the new hair will not be affected by the laser.
3. The RESTING or TELOGEN phase lasts 5 - 6 weeks, at the end of which the hair falls out and the new hair becomes visible. The new hair mightn't be affected by the laser because it will not have pigment in it yet, remembering that the laser actually relies on the pigment to find the hair. Approximately 10-13% of our body hair is in this phase at any one time.
So now we understand the growth cycle of hair, it needs to be asked, “Is permanent hair removal actually possible?" The answer is Yes, Laser Hair Removal can definitely provide a level of permanency. As you can see, if a hair in the Active/Anagen stage is revealed to the laser, then that hair will most probably be killed permanently. If a hair that is in either of the other 2 stages is exposed to the laser, then that hair will most probably be killed, but the new hair coming through will still continue to grow.
So to get permanent removal of your unwanted hair, you will more than likely need a number of laser sessions. You could be lucky - your first Laser hair removal session will permanently remove all of your unwanted hair, but the likeliness is that you will need a number of sessions at set intervals to ensure that you get to the hair when it is in the first stage of growth. And that is all there really is to know, permanent Laser Hair Removal is definitely achievable !
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