Can Laser Hair Removal Cause More Hair Growth?

December 31, 2010 in Hair Removal 101,Laser hair removal

There has been some discussion in recent years, mostly on forums, on whether laser hair removal causes more hair growth, but the general answer to that question is no. This method does not make the hairs grow, but instead reduces the amount of hair that is growing. However, there is a small amount of people who swear that hair started growing, in areas where there previously had been none, after they had received laser hair removal. While this type of occurrence is rare and has not been scientifically proven, it is not an impossibility that a laser somehow would be able to reinvigorate hairs and make them grow.

Normally, laser hair removal will definitely help to reduce hair in any area of the face or body, because the heat from the laserdevice is so strong that it severely and permanently damages the hair follicles. However, there is something called vellus hair, or peach fuzz hair, which is very fine hair that can appear anywhere on the skin, and this hair can be difficult to treat. For reasons that the experts are still not completely sure of, the laser can have a hard time in treating and eliminating these hairs. In addition to the vellus hairs, single sparse hairs can also react similarly.

One theory is that the beam from the laser hair removal machine is easily absorbed by normal, dark, long hairs, also called terminal hair, but that vellus hair has a harder time absorbing this light due to their finer texture. This can result in the vellus hairs not getting completely destroyed but only minimally damaged. The smaller damage that wasn’t really “enough” can make the vellus hairs try to repair themselves by supplying more blood to the hair follicles and thereby be able to grow longer and stronger. After all, hair protects our skin and our bodies are programmed to produce it. It appears that the fine hair can be especially hard to get rid of because it provides warmth and shields the skin.

So how can one make sure that laser hair removal does not stimulate hair growth? One way would be to avoid treating the fine hairs, also called vellus hairs. While it may be very tempting to treat them, they are rarely visible to anyone and it is best to leave them alone. In fact, there are laser hair removal clinics that refuse to treat vellus hairs because they have received reports of more hair growth in areas where the vellus hair was treated.
The normal hairs, the ones that are long, dark and highly visible, also called terminal hairs, are the only type of hair that should be treated. The vellus hairs can be removed with an alternative hair removal method, such as electrolysis; even though it is expensive and time consuming it can permanently remove any type of hair with high success.

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