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How Permanent Is Permanent Hair Removal?


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What does permanent mean? In the realm of hair it means that those follicles will not grow back. Ever. It means a life free of body hair. How does this apply to laser treatments, what kind of results do they offer? The simple answer is prettygood, lasers does offer fantastic results. However, just how great these results are is based on a person to person basis. The problem arises with the fact that that laser clinics, medical spas, plastic surgeons, and dermatologist are often fast and loose with the term “permanent hair removal. "

Currently the FDA only allows for electrolysis to be marketed under that definition. That's not to say Laser Hair Removal is not FDA approved, it is, but it's approved for permanent hair reduction. Laser technology faces a much stiffer review process than electrolysis did, and lasers could very well be even more efficient.

The Difference Between Hair Removal and Hair Reduction

Permanent hair removal refers to the fact that hair will not grow back, you will be as bare today as the day you were born, whereas hair reduction allows for the chance of regrowth. Reduction says that it's long lasting, there's a possibility for permanency, but it allows for small chance that it's not. This does not mean that you should expect hair regrowth after laser treatments, most clients do not have any sort of regrowth. Some people experience results that can last a lifetime, while other patients the results may only be significant for 3 or 5 years.

Laser Hair Removal provides reduction of up to 90% of hair growth. You may not be able to remove all hairs with laser technology, but you can expect to loose the vast majority of it. Laser Hair Removal can't claim permanency without acknowledging that 10% chance. This is why the FDA would prefer the term permanent hair reduction over hair removal. And let's not forget that 90% hair loss is still vastly superior over waxing or tweezing, which offers a zero percent chance of permanent hair reduction.

Laser Technology vs. Electrolysis

Electrolysis accomplishes the removal of hair by individually electrocuting each hair, follicle by follicle. It's an effective process for getting rid of hair, but an extremely time consuming one as well. Expect a treatment to last 2 to 3 hours! While an effective method for small areas like the upper lip, electrolysis can become problematic for larger areas like the back or chest. And while the technology of electrolysis is long lasting in theory, it doesn't account for human error. Imagine having to pluck out all your leg hairs individually, after hours of plucking there's no way you could keep up a high level of focus. Laser epilation offers efficiency and control anywhere on the body: from the back to the face to the bikini line.

While, technically laser treatments may not be deemed permanent hair removal, it's as long lasting as hair removal can be. Nothing on the market today offers better results than Laser Hair Removal.

Check out what the FDA has to say about Laser Hair Removal and permanent hair reduction.

Mia Hepburn is a former health care liaison and writes the Cosmetic Blog at


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