Laser Hair Removal: Permanent or Temporary Fix?
In short, no. Laser hair removal works by heating the hair follicles to stop new hairs from growing. This puts the hair follicles in a state of dormancy for a long period of time — much longer than with shaving and waxing. When the hairs do grow back, they’ll be lighter, finer, and fewer in number.
Although the procedure is often touted as a form of “permanent” hair removal, laser treatment only reduces the number of unwanted hairs in a given area. It doesn’t get rid of unwanted hairs totally.
Laser therapy uses high-heat laser beams as a mild form of radiation. During the procedure, these laser beams heat up and damage your hair follicles.
Your hair follicles are located just below the skin. They’re responsible for producing new strands of hair. If the follicles are destroyed, then hair production is temporarily disabled.
The AAD deems the following areas as appropriate for laser hair removal:
- bikini line
- face (except for the eye area)
This form of hair removal works best with darker hair colors on light skin tones. This is because the lasers target hair melanin (color). Even if some hairs aren’t removed, the lightening of their color can reduce the appearance of hair on the skin.
Some of your hairs may also shed within a few days of your first treatment session.
Overall, laser hair removal is a relatively quick procedure. Smaller areas, such as the upper lip, can take just minutes. Larger areas of hair removal, like the back or chest, may take an hour or longer.
Although laser hair removal isn’t exactly permanent, it’s still one of the best options for slowing hair growth over an extended period of time. Other long-term hair removal options you can discuss with a dermatologist include electrolysis and needle epilators.
If you don’t want to go through with the expense of medical procedures that aren’t really permanent anyway, there are numerous at-home hair removal options.
Talk to your dermatologist about:
- tweezers epilators
- waxing or sugaring
- proper shaving techniques