When patients come see us for laser hair removal, they wonder why we can’t remove all of their hair permanently with a single laser treatment. It’s complicated. We humans are a hairy lot — each of us having around five million hairs on our bodies. Men have a few hundred thousand more than women. But each of these hairs operates like an independent contractor. Every hair is independent of every other hair.
Well, our hair goes through different phases of a growth cycle and we have to catch the hairs in the right phase for the laser energy to be effective. That’s why it takes a series of laser hair removal sessions to get the kind of hair reduction our clients seek.
Permanent hair reduction
The FDA has approved various lasers for what they call “permanent hair reduction.” This is simply a matter of reality because laser treatments can’t remove all the unwanted hair permanently due to a couple of reasons.
First, lasers only damage hair in the anagen (growth) cycle. But hairs can also be in the catagen (transitional phase between growth and rest) or the telogen phase (rest). In the catagen and telogen phases the body is preparing to shed the hairs, halting nourishment and releasing the hair bulb from the hair follicle. That’s why lasers don’t affect hair in these phases; they’re already on their way out. Because the hair is no longer anchored in the follicle, the laser energy can’t travel down the hair and damage or destroy the follicle. Now consider those hair numbers. Since each of our millions of hairs can be in a different phase, it’s obvious you can’t catch them all in the growth phase, no matter how many laser hair removal sessions you have.
Second, damaged follicles can rebuild with hormonal changes. Plus, if a follicle is only partially damaged, it may heal and begin to regrow hair.
Bottom line? Numerous studies show the degree of permanent hair reduction to be from 85 to 90 percent. Those are consistent with what our patients experience.
Now you know why the FDA clearance is for “permanent hair reduction.” Still, 90 percent of your unwanted hair permanently gone is way better than shaving, plucking, waxing, creating razor burn and ingrown hairs, and all the other fun and cost involved with the endless ritual of removing unwanted hair.
Are you ready to get started getting rid of your unwanted hair? Call Dr. Barrera and our team, (713) 468-5200, and set up a session for laser hair removal.