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Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Jun 13, 2008
If you are considering laser hair removal, the chances are that you have heard or read that the hair removal is permanent, but how true is this, and how long is permanent?

There are two aspects to laser hair removal that are often misunderstood; first, that the process will result in the total eradication of hair in the 'offending area', and secondly, that the treatment will be 100% successful after the first treatment.

Sorry to disillusion you, but both these points are misconceptions, and they need a little clarification. If your chosen clinic or spa claims either of these, then my suggestion would be to find an alternative practitioner as soon as you can.

Permanent Doesn't Necessarily Mean Forever!

Laser hair removal is efficient and very effective - I don't want to give you the impression that it's a waste of time, however, it isn't always 'permanent' - some patients report hair re-growth, albeit the hair grows back much finer, usually much lighter in color, and far less noticeable than before any laser treatment.

So in reality, for some people it should be more accurately described as permanent hair reduction or long-lasting hair removal - having said that, the vast majority of patients are satisfied with their treatment, and will happily recommend the procedure to others.

There are some unscrupulous clinics that will claim that their treatment is "100% permanent", but they are misleading their customers - this is poor practice and is counter-productive in the long-term. We usually find that these individuals are not in business for very long. The problem was serious enough at one stage for the FDA to introduce a regulation that forces the clinics to use the phase 'permanent reduction' in any of their advertisements.

As I mentioned before, most people are more than happy with the results they get; as long as their expectations are set correctly before they undergo any treatment.

Why More Than One Treatment?

You will always need more than one session of laser hair removal treatment, and there are very good reasons for that. To understand why, you first need to know that hair has three stages of growth:

1. The Active Growing Phase - as it suggests, new hair is being formed and the hair itself is connected in the base of the hair follicle to the hair matrix.

2. The Regressive Phase - this phase lasts for approximately two weeks during which time the hairs is no longer growing, but it isn't yet ready to be shed.

3. The Resting Phase - after 4 to 6 weeks of this phase, the hair is naturally shed, and the hair growth cycle starts again.

Laser hair removal treatment only works on hairs that are in the first, active growing, phase of the hair growth cycle. For that reason, your first treatment will not remove any hair that is in the second or third stages of the cycle, meaning you will need to have repeat treatments at a later date to catch the hairs when they are in the correct active phase. This is why you will more than likely be given treatment appointments a week or so apart.
About the Author
Ray Baker writes about medical issues for The New York City Laser Hair Removal Guide where you'll find helpful articles, information and advice about Laser Hair Removal New York City .
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