How long does laser hair removal last?

At our Bournemouth laser clinic we constantly get asked whether laser hair removal is permanent. Does the treatment actually get rid of hair permanently?

The answer is yes, it can get rid of up to 90% of your hair. But it is never going to get rid of every single last little hair – in other words it won’t look like a waxed effect. But, if 90% is good enough for you, then I would say laser or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is definitely for you.

The fact is, when we laser or IPL a hair, we are aiming to heat the hair follicle to 60-70 degrees. This not only kills the hair itself, but also heats and destroys the stem cells at the base of the follicle which are responsible for producing the hair. Once those stem cells are destroyed, those follicles will not produce again. That is why we can say that laser hair removal is permanent. However, as we always inform our clients at Laser Skin Solutions, everybody has dormant hair follicles which may or may not start producing hair in future, often as a result of hormonal changes in the body. Pregnancy for instance can cause some women to develop a ‘fury’ line of hair from the navel down to the bikini line. When women come to us therefore for laser hair removal on the this area, we have to warn them that whilst we can permanently remove the hair we can see there now, they may get ‘new’ hair growth (not re-growth) should they become pregnant. Once those stem cells have been destroyed, those follicles will not produce again. But dormant hair follicles (which are not producing hair now) can be hormonally stimulated to produce new hair.

For some people with underlying hormonal conditions like PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), laser hair removal can end up being a hair management system rather than a permanent solution. Whilst we can heat and destroy actively growing hair follicles, if dormant hair follicles are constantly being stimulated by hormones, then new hair growth would need to be lasered in the same way. Whilst we always warn clients of this at our Bournemouth laser clinic, to date, all of our PCOS sufferers respond in exactly the same way as everyone else. Namely that a course of 6-8 laser hair removal treatments are required in order to achieve the required reduction, followed by the odd top up treatment if and when any ‘new’ growth appears.

To put it into context however, I had my bikini and underarm hair lasered nearly 15 years ago now and apart from the odd straggler, I never need to do anything to the area. So if that amount of time is good enough for you, to be able to call this treatment ‘permanent’, then laser hair removal is definitely for you. The fact remains, that laser hair removal is as permanent for as long as we’ve had the technology – which is about 20 years how. What we haven’t yet been able to do is to do a laser hair removal treatment on the bikini line of a 23 year old and look at her when she’s 83 – but that day will come I’m sure!

In the meantime, if 15-20 years is permanent enough for you, come see us for your laser hair removal consultation by calling us on 01202 29 69 69 or contact us via the website at www.laserskinsolutions.co.uk

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