Laser Hair Removal – Understanding How Hair Grows

December 16, 2010 in Hair Removal 101,Laser hair removal

Realizing how hair grows is crucial in order to fully grasp the concept of laser hair removal. In addition to knowing what is happening at each stage and have a better experience overall, understanding the hair growth cycle can also help in avoiding disappointment after laser hair removal treatments. Anyone considering laser hair removal should know the hair growth cycle first.

One treatment can never disable all hair, but several sessions will be needed, and that is directly related to the hair growth cycle. While laser hair removal, in the hands of an experienced practitioner, is an efficient treatment, it also is a long term process. Fully understanding the concept of hair growth helps to understand why more than one session is needed.

Hair naturally grows in three different phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen is the active phase where the hair is growing to its full extent. Catagen is the short transitional phase where the hair is slowing down and getting weaker. The telogen phase is the final phase where hairs are resting and will eventually fall off. About 80-90% percent of all the hairs is in the growing phase at anytime, and laser hair removal will be able to target those hairs. However, this also means that 10-20% of the hairs will not be affected and must be targeted in an upcoming session. Hair that is visible to the eye is in the anagen phase and is growing, but hair that is in the catagen or telogen phase will be unaffected by laser hair removal, because it is not capable of absorbing the laser.

The way in which hair grows makes it impossible for laser hair removal to target all hair in one session. Even hairs that have been treated may grow back, albeit thinner and shorter. This explains why more than three treatments might be needed. And one of the first things that people will notice after a laser hair removal session is that the hair is still there. This is because laser hair removal does not immediately extract the hair but kills the hair at the root. The dead hair will eventually shed where after the skin will stay hair free for a couple of weeks. After that, hair will start to grow in the treated area, and this is completely normal. If the previous laser hair removal session was successful then the growing hair is not the hair that was treated, but a new set of hair that needs to be targeted.

When it comes to laser hair removal, understanding how hair grows is definitely essential in order to have a positive experience. And while laser hair removal is a long term process that requires a bit of patience, many times it is worth it, because it can easily result in something as wonderful as smoother and more hair free skin.

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