Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?


Is laser hair removal permanent?  This is the most common questions asked in regard to this treatment.  Laser hair removal offers a permanent reduction in hair growth. Though the lasers do destroy the hair follicle preventing any future hair from growing, it can be difficult to effectively treat every single hair.  Some patients may find that years down the road, some hairs may start to come back.  Many people try to avoid using the term “permanent” as it may create false hope.  Instead they prefer to say that it is a “long-lasting” solution to unwanted hair.

Patients that have the ideal characteristics for laser hair treatment (fair skin and dark hair) will experience the most success as far as permanent hair removal, but for the most part, it is very rare that a patient will experience 100% permanent hair loss after a series of treatments.  It can be difficult to laser every single hair in a particular area because there may be some hairs in the laser area that may be very fair or light compared to the surrounding hair.  This means that these hairs won’t effectively be removed by the laser, but because these remaining hairs are fair and light, this is not an issue for most people as these hairs are not very noticeable to begin with.  Because of this, it may be better to say that you will see a ‘permanent reduction in hair growth’.  Out of all the treated hairs in an area, only about 70%-80% will effectively be removed.

A small percentage of patients may find reoccurring hair growth after several treatments.  This may occur in patients that have grey, white, or blond hair who are not good candidates for this treatment in the first place as the laser targets pigment in the hair follicle.  Having pigmented dark hair on light skin is the best combination to make laser hair removal permanent.

Keep in mind that hair grows in 3 different cycles and that successful laser hair removal requires a series of routine procedures.  It is only after a series of treatments that you will begin to see permanent results.  It is not wise to begin laser hair treatment without any intention to complete it.  You will not be happy with your results if you stop after one or two sessions as there is still a full cycle of hair that has yet to be lasered and it will appear that the treatment didn’t work at all.

So is laser hair removal permanent or not?  When laser hair removal is effectively performed and completely destroys the hair bulb of an individual hair, in theory yes, the result should be permanent and that hair should not grow back.  Many people complete treatment and find they need to have touch-ups every other year just to keep any hairs that might have returned at bay. This is caused by the hair bulbs repairing themselves if they weren’t 100% completely destroyed.  Once you have learned how laser hair removal works, you will better understand the expected results for your particular skin tone and hair color.