How many times do you have to laser before hair stops growing?

Quick Answers

The number of laser hair removal treatments needed for permanent hair reduction varies from person to person. On average, it takes 6-12 treatments to see a significant, lasting reduction in hair growth. However, some people may need more treatments to stop hair regeneration completely.

What is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is a popular procedure that uses concentrated beams of light to remove unwanted hair. During treatment, laser energy is absorbed by the pigment in each hair follicle, damaging the follicle enough to retard future hair growth. With multiple treatments over several months, laser hair removal can provide significant, permanent reductions in hair regrowth over areas treated.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal devices target melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color. The laser emits a beam of highly concentrated light that passes through the skin and is absorbed by the melanin in each hair follicle.

This creates heat that damages the hair follicle, impeding its ability to regenerate. Hair follicles that are damaged in this way will no longer produce hair after the treated hair sheds.

Who is a Good Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?

The best candidates for laser hair removal have light skin and dark coarser hairs. The laser targets melanin, so darker hair with more melanin will absorb more of the laser’s energy.

People with light skin and dark hair usually see the best results. Laser hair removal is less effective for people with fine, light hair and on darker skin tones because there is less contrast between the hair color and skin tone for the laser to target the hair.

How Many Laser Hair Removal Treatments Are Needed?

Most people need a series of laser hair removal treatments to stop hair from growing back permanently. This is because hair follicles cycle through different phases of growth, and laser only affects hair follicles in the active growth phase at each session.

Since not all hairs are actively growing at the same time, multiple treatments are necessary to disable all hair follicles over time as they enter the growth phase. On average, it takes between 6-12 sessions to see significant hair removal with long-term reduction in growth.

Factors That Affect Number of Treatments Needed

Some key factors affect how many laser sessions will be needed for permanent hair reduction:

  • Hair color – Darker and coarser hair responds better. People with light, fine hair may need more treatments.
  • Skin tone – Pale skin with dark hair shows the best results. Tan or dark skin is harder to treat effectively.
  • Hair growth cycles – More treatments are needed to target follicles in different phases.
  • Hormones – Hormonal changes can impact hair growth patterns.
  • Medications – Some medications promote hair growth.
  • Area treated – Smaller areas need fewer treatments than large areas.
  • Hair thickness – Thicker, more dense hair needs more treatments.

Average Number of Treatments By Area

On average, the recommended number of laser hair removal treatments by body area are:

Area Treated Average Treatments Needed
Bikini line 6-10 treatments
Underarms 6-10 treatments
Upper lip 6-10 treatments
Chin 6-10 treatments
Chest or back 8-12 treatments
Legs 10-15 treatments
Arms 10-15 treatments

As you can see, smaller areas like the upper lip or underarms require fewer sessions, while treating larger areas like the legs or back necessitates more treatments.

What Happens After Each Laser Hair Removal Treatment?

During each laser session, the technician will pulse the laser over the treatment area, delivering intense beams of light to each hair follicle. You may feel a slight stinging or snapping sensation as the laser pulses.

Right after treatment, the area may be mildly red and swollen for a few hours as the skin reacts to the laser. It is normal to see darkened hair shafts shed from the follicles over the following week or two.

Any hair that regrows over the next month following treatment will be lighter and finer as the follicles recover. Only about 10-20% of the targeted hair follicles are affected with each session since follicles cycle through dormant and growth phases.

With multiple treatments, more and more hairs will be disabled until hair growth is stopped completely. Treatments are typically spaced 4-8 weeks apart to allow the follicles to recover and reach the active growth phase again.

After Your First Treatment

After the first session, you may see some hair loss, but regrowth will still continue. You can shave or wax as normal in between treatments.

After 3-4 Treatments

Within 3-4 treatments, you should see about a 30-50% reduction in hair growth on average. Regrowing hairs will be lighter and thinner as the follicles are damaged.

After 6-7 Treatments

After 6-7 sessions, most people achieve about 60-80% permanent hair loss. You will likely have significant bald spots and sparse regrowth.

After 10-12 Treatments

It typically takes 8-12 sessions to see up to 90% permanent hair removal. Only stubborn, coarse hairs may continue to grow sparsely.

When Will I See Permanent Results?

Most people can expect to see permanent reduction in hair growth after an average of 6-12 monthly laser treatments. However, results will vary for each individual.

With each successive session, you should notice decreased hair regrowth. For many people, the area is effectively bald within 6-9 sessions, with only stray hairs regrowing thereafter.

Nevertheless, it can take up to 12 or more treatments to disable all hair follicles in a given area if it is large or dense. Consistency with scheduled treatments is key for best outcomes.

Maintenance Treatments May be Needed

After completing an initial course of 6-12 laser sessions, you can enjoy permanent hair removal for months to years. However, maintenance treatments may be needed down the road.

This is because hormone changes, medications, or aging can sometimes restart growth in dormant follicles. Getting follow up treatments annually or when regrowth occurs will keep the area smooth and stubble-free.

The Takeaway

Most people can achieve about 80-90% permanent hair reduction with 6-10 laser treatments spaced 4-8 weeks apart. For complete hair removal, especially over large body areas, you may need up to 12 or more sessions.

With each successive laser treatment, you can expect to see progressively lighter, finer, and sparser hair regrowth until it fully stops. Consistency is important to disable all hair follicles once and for all.

Be patient through the process. Laser hair removal does not happen overnight. With commitment to the recommended number of treatments, you can enjoy smooth, hair-free skin for years.

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