There are many myths about laser hair removal, including how often you will require treatment to maintain those silky-smooth results. Timing your laser hair removal correctly is much more important than you might realise! As a rule of thumb, if you’re looking to permanently reduce your hair growth, you will need to visit us in clinic for a laser hair removal session every 4-6 weeks, for a minimum of 6-12 treatments. But why can’t I come in once a week and get those results faster, you ask? The answer is simple: the hair growth cycle.
The hair growth cycle
There are three stages of hair growth and laser hair removal is only effective on hair in the first stage of growth (Anagen). The hair growth stages are:
Growth Phase (Anagen)
Transition Phase (Catagen)
Resting Phase (Telogen)
Anagen is the active growth phase of hair follicles. At this time, the cells in the root of the hair divide rapidly, so the hair is growing and extending to the hair shaft. During the anagen phase, the hair follicles are the most receptive to the laser light because they are rich in protein (keratin) and melanin. Lasers work by targeting the melanin (colour) in the hair. The anagen phase for a hair follicle is genetically determined and varies from person to person, but about 85 per cent of hair follicles on our body are in the anagen phase at any one time.
At the completion of the anagen phase, the follicle enters the catagen phase when the hair stops growing. This phase lasts only 2-3 weeks. About five per cent of our hair is in this phase at any given time.
The final stage is the telogen. At this time, the hair begins to shed and the follicle is prompted to start a new cycle. The length of this stage is about 100 days for the healthy follicles on the scalp, but other areas of the body can vary significantly. About 10 per cent of hair follicles are in the telogen phase at any given time.
Timing your laser hair removal
Given that anagen is the most important phase for laser hair removal you can understand why not all hair is treated in any one laser hair removal treatment, and why it is important to book a package of treatments. The number and time between treatments may vary from person to person, depending on your hair type, so it is recommended to always follow the advice provided by your trained laser technician.