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Why you need multiple laser sessions for optimal laser hair removal results

Hair growth cycle consists of three distinct stages; anagen, catagen, and telogen. All three phases occur simultaneously; one strand of hair may be in the anagen phase, while another strand of hair is in the telogen phase. A laser hair removal treatment will only be effective (disa bles the follicle so it can't grow new hair) when the hair is in the growth cycle (anagen phase). Each strand of hair on the human body is at its own stage of growth. The hair revolves through the three phases of growth. Once the cycle is completed, it begins again (anagen) and a new strand of hair begins to form. The rate of growth is about .5 inches per month, 6 inches per year.


PHASE 1 – ANAGEN This is the beginning phase of growth. The hair is attached to the papilla. The hair bulb is intact and contains an abundance of pigment. During this phase the laser will disable the follicle, because the hair is attached to the root. This is the ideal phase for laser hair removal. PHASE 2 – CATAGEN This is an intermediate phase; the hair bulb is no longer present. The lower part of the hair stops growing. This is not an ideal phase to disable the follicle because the hair is no longer attached to the root. During this phase the hair will begin to shed. PHASE 3 – TELOGEN This is the final phase of hair growth. This is the “resting” phase. The hair bulb is no longer present. The hair in this follicle will be pushed out by a new “Anagen” growing hair. The laser will have no effect on a follicle in this phase because the hair is no longer attached to the root. At the time of your laser hair removal treatment the laser is passed over the treatment site. The laser will detect a colored hair in the hair follicle. The colored hair will absorb the light and transfer the light energy to heat energy and it is this heat that will disable (stop) the follicle from growing another hair. For the follicle to be disabled the colored hair must be attached to the root (papilla), and that is when the hair is in the Anagen Phase. For a follicle to be treated it must be in the Anagen stage. That is the reason you will require a series of treatments because not all of your hair is in the Anagen phase at the same time. At any given time 20% of the hair on your body is in the Anagen phase. The other 80% is on the Catagen or Telogen phases. That is why you will get (on average) a 20% reduction after every laser session. Often we see clients who have done laser at another clinic and they have not seen any improvement after several treatments. Laser should NEVER be like that. You should see an improvement after every treatment because at any given time you have hair in the Anagen phase.

Am I a good candidate for LHR, (Laser Hair Removal)?

The quality of the LHR machine and the skill of the technician play a significant role in whether your treatments will be successful. A 10-year-old machine that's seen daily service may not perform as well as a newer, higher quality machine. There is also technique and skill. The goal is to hit every hair follicle with a laser pulse. If the technician goes too fast, or doesn't provide sufficient coverage, your results will suffer. Conversely, if the technician goes too slow, there's a chance you'll get burned.

The average person see's good results with 5-6 treatments. There are circumstances where 5-6 treatments are not sufficient. One reason is light haired individuals pose a challenge because the laser needs to distinguish the hair follicle from the surrounding skin. It does this by contrasting the color difference between the hair and the skin. If you're fair skinned with blond hair, the laser has a hard time locking onto the follicle because there's no sufficient color differentiation. The laser has a difficult time locating the follicle.

Lastly, there are a small percentage of individuals who for as yet unknown reasons don't respond well to laser hair removal. These persons may need 12-15 treatments before seeing adequate hair removal, and some may never respond to the treatment. No one has yet identified the reasons for this, we just know it happens on occasion.

We advise our patients not to tan during their laser hair removal treatments. The treatment is most effective when there is a good deal of color difference between the skin and the hair. Light skinned, dark haired individuals typically respond very well. Dark haired, dark skinned people (and conversely) light haired, light skinned individuals may need more treatments than the typical 5-6.


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