Laser Hair Removal: Why More Than One Treatment Is Needed

October 8, 2010 in Hair Removal 101,Laser hair removal

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While laser hair removal is an effective treatment that can result in hair free skin, one treatment is not enough to accomplish this goal. The average number of treatments recommended is 3-6, with occasional maintenance treatments needed as well. The exact number of treatments needed is unique to each individual, and will depend on the area being treated, the hair density and hair thickness. Regardless of these factors, one laser hair removal session to remove or reduce the hair will not be enough. To understand why one treatment is not enough it is essential to understand how hair grows.

Understanding how hair grows in different stages will help you understand laser hair removal, and why more than one treatment is needed. There are three different stages of the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen is the growing phase, catagen is the intermediate phase and telogen is the shedding phase.

If the hair is clearly visible, it is in the anagen phase and can most likely be treated by laser hair removal, which will attempt to destroy the hair follicle. During the anagen phase the hair will have the most amount of melanin and this is also the phase where laser hair removal will be the most efficient. The catagen phase can be described as a transition phase that occurs at the end of the anagen phase. The catagen phase means that the active growth of the hair has come to an end and the hair will shrink. After the catagen phase comes the telogen phase which means the hair is simply “resting” and not growing at all. The hairs in the telogen phase will start to shed and prepare for the next cycle of growth to begin.

When the hair is in the catagen or telogen phase it is not visible or capable of absorbing the laser light. Not absorbing the laser light means that the laser hair removal will not be efficient. At this point, no destruction of the follicle will occur. Only hairs in the anagen phase can be treated by the laser. So, it makes sense that multiple laser hair removal treatments are needed in order to target all hairs.

The percentage of follicles in any of the phases will constantly vary, and since a portion of hairs will always be in the catagen or telogen phase, laser hair removal cannot target all hairs at the same time. This explains why more than one laser hair removal treatment is needed. Using an experienced laser hair removal that employs the latest laser device can potentially reduce the amount of sessions needed. But overall, one treatment is not enough to achieve the goal of laser hair removal, which is to permanently remove or reduce hair.

Photo via SensitiveTouchMedicalSpa

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