How Many Treatments are Needed For Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal provides a smooth and hairless skin surface after one treatment, but you won’t be done yet! It takes multiple treatments to do the job well, and provide lasting effects.

You’ll see results soon after your first session, when your laser treated hairs fall out and your smooth skin revealed, often with your pores getting smaller as well. When your hairs start to grow back, they will be finer and weaker, which means you’re on your way to smooth and hairless skin. It’ll take a few laser hair removal treatments to get to the point where those hairs simply stop growing back. And you’ll be free from shaving, waxing and plucking, as well as from those moments of dread when you realize you forgot to shave your legs this morning, and your stubble is visible by your ankles, or your husband touches your leg and pulls his hand away.

The number of laser hair removal treatments needed to eliminate stubble issues and hair regrowth annoyance varies from person to person, depending on several factors such as age, skin type, the amount of hair you have in your treatment areas, your hair texture, your hair’s natural thickness, and also your hormonal balance levels, since your hormones can create a greater or lesser degree of hair growth over time.

Also, hair grows in different stages. One stage is the ‘Active’ stage, also called the Anagen stage. At any given time, 15% to 20% of your body’s hair will be growing in the ‘Active’ stage. During laser hair removal treatments, only your hairs in the ‘Active’ stage will be treated by the laser. So that’s just 15% to 20% of your body’s hairs laser-treated and ‘shed’ after your procedure. Other hairs on your body are in the ‘Catagen’ phase, which is a transitional phase when growth of a hair stops and the outer root  sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. 3% of your hairs are likely in ‘Catagen’ stage. 15% to 20% of your hairs are in the ‘Telogen stage,’  which is a resting stage in which the hair follicle is at rest. As a fun fact, you will likely shed 25 to 100 telogen hairs each day naturally.

So with your hairs all growing in different stages, there’s some overlap in the hairs that will be treated by hair removal lasers. That’s why your desired body parts that you’d like hair-free need to be lasered several times, over the course of several weeks or months.

Laser hair removal works better on some people than others, since everyone regrows hair at different rates. But the average results you can expect is for 70% to 80% of hair regrowth reduction after a full four to six courses of treatments. At the three treatment mark, at least 50% of your hair will be gone forever. Within six treatments, that number will most often rise to 90% of your hair permanently eliminated.

Your laser hair removal regrowth reduction will also depend on which parts of your body you wish to get treated, since you may have thicker or more hair in some parts of your body than others. For instance, laser hair removal on your leg hairs may take three to six treatments, and you may experience similar results for your arms, facial, chest, underarm, and bikini area. If you’ve been shaving your bikini area rather than waxing, the hairs you grow in that area might be a bit thicker and might require additional laser hair removal treatments.

Similarly, men often find that the hair they grow on their back is thicker than their arm or leg hair, so getting laser hair removal on the back may take an additional few treatments to achieve their desired results.

For legs, you will see significantly less regrowth after three treatments or so, and the great news is that you’ll need laser hair removal appointments less frequently after your first three treatments. For instance, your first few laser treatments, when hairs are thicker, may be timed 6 to 8 weeks apart during your first three treatments, and then your dermatologist may decide that you can come in every 8 to 12 weeks for your next laser hair removal treatments. So your procedures become much more convenient to your schedule. Some people’s hair regrowth calls for treatments every 4 to 6 weeks. Again, it depends on many factors. But as soon as you start seeing or feeling stubble, call to make your next appointment for within the week, if possible. Or, your dermatologist may decide that your hair color and thickness would require the next treatment an additional week later.

It’s all very personalized according to your body’s way of growing hair, and where you wish to have hair removed. But this is not going to be a forever thing. Laser hair removal in most cases removes hair permanently. If you do experience continuing regrowth even after a full course of treatments, your doctor may suggest electrolysis to treat each hair one-by-one; a bit more time-consuming and some say a bit more painful. But many patients say the results are worth the time they took to get laser hair removal treatments, and that results were extremely satisfying.

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