Laser hair removal targets the hair in the active growing phase. There are three growth phases, anagen, catagen and telogen. When the hair is in the active growing phase ( the anagen phase ) the heat from the laser targets the base of the hair follicle by destroying the root. Once the hair has left the active growing phase, the root is now protected and the heat from the laser cannot penetrate deep enough to effectively eliminate the hair.
When you have your treatments done, only a certain percentage of hair is in this perfect state so we are only targeting a small amount of hair with each treatment. That is why we require a number of treatments and then maintenance treatments to remain smooth and hair free.
“You also have hair follicles that sit dormant, and can sit in this state for months to years before they become active again.”
That is why if you take a break from your treatments and it looks like all of your hair grew back, it hasn’t, it is just new follicles that have become active. We are designed to have hair to last our lifetime so it cycles and rests in order to protect itself.
The laser is attracted to the actively growing hair that is sitting in the follicle so that means no waxing or tweezing prior to your treatment, this would take away the target. It is suggested that you shave or trim the area to be treated the day of or the day before your appointment.
The laser loves colour so there needs to be a certain amount of colour in the hair to attract the heat from the laser. Sometimes after a certain amount of treatments the hair can become quite fine and light. If the hair has reached this point we suggest you take a break from your treatments and switch to waxing or tweezing, but remember, you can suddenly have a stronger growth of hair, that just means you need a few maintenance treatments.
Having colour in the hair is great for attracting the laser but having a tan can also attract the heat of the laser. That is why if you are spending a lot of time outdoors please make sure to apply your SPF or prolong your treatments until your tan has faded in order to make your treatments safe.
“Laser Hair Removal is a fantastic way to keep your body smooth and silky.”
Just remember to keep your skin tan free, make sure the hair has enough color to be effective, stop waxing or tweezing at least three weeks before your treatment and come into the clinic with the area to be treated shaved.
The hair grows at different rates all over the body so the treatment schedule varies for different areas. As well, as the hair becomes finer and lighter, and the hair growth slows down, so will your treatments.
Typical treatment schedule:
- Full face and neck : every 4 to 6 wks to start
- Bikini and Underarms: every 6 to 8 wks to start
- Chest and or Back : every 8 to 10 weeks to start
- Arms and legs : every 8 to 10 weeks to start
Once you hit maintenance expect to do your touch up treatments every 6 to 12 months.
Carol Verbeek RN
- Clinical Esthetician, External Affairs Medical Spas