Laser hair removal has made waves throughout the aesthetic industry. People of all ages ditch their razors and regular wax appointments for a more “permanent” hair removal solution. But before you head to your nearest provider in Cincinnati, take a step back.
As leaders in the Cincinnati aesthetic community, Amy Brenner, MD & Associates recommend laser hair removal for a lot of our patients. However, we also want them to know exactly what they are getting into and the results they can expect.
For the question of the hour: Does laser hair removal work permanently?
Yes and no. Laser hair removal does not lead to permanent hair loss. Instead, the treatment focuses on permanent hair reduction.
How does laser hair removal work?
Understanding whether or not laser hair removal works permanently requires knowledge of the hair growth cycle. We promise not to harp on too many details, but we’ll give you a quick overview.
Although you may not notice this, your hair doesn’t grow and shed at once—even if it may seem like it. In reality, your hair grows in alternating phases, meaning different follicles remain in different points of the cycle. So you don’t have to fear having tons of hair one moment then absolutely none the next.
You can think of the hair growth cycle as a three step process:
1️⃣ Active Growing (Anagen)
During the anagen phase, the hair bulb stays intact and sits closest to the surface of the skin. The follicle grows in both directions (upward and downward), and since the bulb contains an abundance of melanin (pigment), laser hair removal can effectively target actively growing hair.
2️⃣ Regression (Catagen)
Catagen is a brief intermediate phase between anagen and telogen. This regression phase happens when the lower part of the hair stops growing but hasn’t shed. During this time, the body also absorbs the lower third of the follicle.
3️⃣ Resting (Telogen)
Hair follicles in the resting phase no longer have their bulb, causing them to become “club hair.” Club hair either falls out on its own or gets pushed out by growing follicles.
With that being said, when you get laser hair removal, you will probably notice hair growing back. Why? Because laser hair removal only treats hair during the anagen phase. However, as you continue getting initial treatments as follicles move throughout the cycle, you will notice less hair growth when it does happen. For some, hair doesn’t return at all!
How is that possible?
It’s all about how the hair gets removed. With shaving, razors cut off parts of the shaft, which is why you may get a prickly feeling when you touch your skin. Waxing, on the other hand, is a little more effective. Instead of simply shaving the shaft, it pulls hair from the root.
Laser hair removal takes that one step further by using light energy to eradicate hair follicles at the source. Controlled wavelengths from laser energy penetrate the skin before hair follicles absorb them. That energy then converts to heat that targets the melanin in the hair bulb (without harming the surrounding areas), which disrupts and causes deterioration of the growth centers. As you can guess, damaged growth centers can’t grow hair as effectively… hence permanent hair reduction.
Due to its versatility, laser hair removal works great for your:
- Bikini area
- And more
Before getting laser hair removal, you should always speak to a professional to make sure the treatment is right for you. Most people will require a series of treatments to get the desired hair-reduction outcome. If you’re in the Cincinnati area, our nurse practitioners or skincare specialists at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates will be able to help you determine exactly how many treatments you’ll need.
Who’s a candidate for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal candidacy depends on a few factors. First, you want to make sure you have realistic expectations. Do not let anyone tell you laser hair removal results in permanent hair loss, because that may lead to disappointment. Candidates are people who understand they will see a significant improvement in the amount of hair growth, even if some still grows back.
Second, the type of laser a provider uses has a huge impact on who will have a successful treatment. Some lasers only work well on people who are fair skinned with dark hair since laser hair removal targets the hair’s pigment while avoiding the pigment of the skin. When there’s a larger contrast between the color of the hair and the skin, the treatment works more effectively. However, more advanced lasers have higher capabilities.
For example, at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates, we use the GentleMax Pro laser system—the gold standard of laser hair removal devices. Other lasers use a fixed, single wavelength to eliminate hair. While this technology definitely works, it isn’t nearly as effective as Syneron GentleMax Pro.
Here’s why: GentleMax Pro utilizes dual wavelengths that allow for customized treatments; plus, it’s the fastest dual wavelength laser on the market! As a result, it makes laser hair removal a safe, comfortable, and effective option for almost all skin types and tones (yes, even tanned skin!)
Keep in mind that laser hair removal is not recommended for:
- People who are pregnant
- People with underlying skin conditions that could worsen with laser treatments
- Clients with blonde, red, or gray hair, since there’s not enough pigment to target
What happens during a laser hair removal treatment at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates?
The laser hair removal process is fairly simple! After you’ve decided you’d like to try permanent hair reduction at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates, you’ll first meet with a specialist to discuss your hair removal goals and which areas are your top priority. During that time, we will closely examine your hair type and texture to find the best light setting for you. We will also discuss your medical history, skin type, and any other factors that may influence the outcome of your treatment.
Our experienced team will create a customized program that includes your treatment area(s) and how many sessions you will need to achieve the smooth skin you’ve always wanted!
Side note – we ask that you shave before your laser hair removal treatment. This helps to eliminate the risk of burning hair that sits above the skin’s surface.
During your permanent hair removal treatment, we will supply eyewear to protect your eyes from the light. After applying a cool gel, your hair reduction specialist will use a handpiece to administer flashes of light that will begin treating hair follicles.
Depending on your customized plan, you may need multiple sessions to get your desired look. These should be completed within 4 to 8 week intervals.
Bottom line: Laser hair removal does work permanently for long-term hair reduction.
Even though you may not experience permanent hair removal, laser hair treatments are still one of the best options for long-term results. That means you can finally say goodbye to daily shaving and monthly waxes!
Keep in mind, the treatment won’t work overnight, and you will need multiple sessions to obtain your desired results. However, after each treatment you’ll notice less and less regrowth. Treated hair may take 1 to 2 weeks to fall away, and during that time, it can seem like they are still growing.
For more permanent hair reduction results, make sure you follow through with all of your recommended treatments. With consistency, you could see up to 80-90% hair reduction in the treatment area(s), and the hair that does grow back will be lighter and thinner than before. If you follow your plan, your laser hair removal treatment could last between 6 to 12 months or longer!
What about laser hair removal side effects?
As with any aesthetic treatment, laser hair removal may come with temporary side effects, including:
After a laser hair removal treatment, some people experience temporary redness, swelling, mild pain, and/or itchiness. These side effects tend to go away after a few hours.
Skin pigment changes
In rare instances, there may be some skin darkening or lightening in the treated areas.
People with lighter skin are more prone to see hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) while those with darker skin may see hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin). Again, these changes typically fade over time.
Although this doesn’t happen often, some people may notice the treated areas have crusted over. As long as you take proper care of the area by applying moisturizer and daily SPF (and don’t forget post-care instructions!), then crusting should subside without scabbing or scarring.
A great laser technician will minimize side effects as much as possible. But if you don’t choose your technician wisely, you could experience more complications, including:
To avoid these issues, choose a trained professional who only uses FDA-approved lasers like our GentleMax Pro.
Schedule your laser hair removal at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates
Let our aesthetic experts help you gain smooth, hair-free skin. As a medspa and medical practice, we are uniquely equipped with the ability to not only boost your overall health, but also help you enhance your outer beauty with aesthetic treatments.
We’re here to offer a warm, friendly environment while providing the highest quality aesthetic treatments and wellness plans to help you look great and feel great. No matter what, we will stick with you throughout your entire journey, because your goals are our goals.
Get started today by using our virtual consultation tool or scheduling an appointment.