How Many Sessions of Laser Hair Removal Are Needed to Achieve Smooth Skin?
Laser hair removal treatment has made leaps and bounds in the last decade, becoming extremely effective with the real potential of dramatically reducing the rate at which hair grows. Laser hair removal is great for larger treatment areas as it can cover them in a short time period. And while the treatment can cause a little discomfort, it’s not really any worse than having your bikini line or back waxed on a regular basis.
The big question is how many sessions do you actually need for the treatment to be successful? As this is somewhat of a grey area we have compiled some answers for you on the subject.
How many sessions are needed?
Most physicians will advocate that an average of 6 sessions minimum are needed to see any kind of real results. While it is possible to see results as early as after one session, it is more likely that you will need 6 or 7 of them to actually achieve any type of semi-permanent hair reduction.
It is also important to schedule the treatments at regular time intervals, on average between four and six weeks, so that the laser can catch any hairs that were dormant in the previous session. If you schedule the treatments too far apart you risk completely missing entire cycles of hair growth and never catching certain hairs.
After the first session it is possible to see a 5-20% difference in hair growth. By the sixth session this result can go as high as 80%, so it is well worth persevering with the treatments. Results really do depend on different factors, such as skin type and hair color and type, and this is something your physician will be able to evaluate with you on a case by case basis.
Why do some areas require more sessions than others?
Hair grows in cycles and treatment is only effective when it attacks hair during the growth period. This period may only last a couple of weeks. After that the hair goes into a resting period that can last up to 24 weeks (depending on the area of the body treated).
It is important to schedule repeat treatments in order to catch as many hairs as possible in their growth period. This is also the reason that touch-ups may be required a year or so after treatment has been finalized. For example, while an armpit hair will complete a cycle within 5 months, a leg hair can take up to 12 months.
Another reason for more sessions may be hormonal. Areas such as the upper lip and chin are generally more hormonally-ruled than the arms or legs. This means that these areas may require more sessions than an arm would, as hairs may be more or less active due to hormonal fluctuations.
Often after important hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause, long-term dormant hair follicles suddenly become active, causing an influx of hair growth. This does not mean that hormonal changes revert the results of laser treatment, just that hairs that were never treated before suddenly start to grow. Depending on the amount of hairs that are affected your physician may advise a few touch up sessions or a full treatment schedule.
Why would I need a touch up session after the initial treatment?
There are several reasons for this. One being that there may be patches of hair that were not treated during the initial sessions and are now in full growth period. A touch up session or two every year or so can help maintain your hair-free skin.
The other main reason is, as mentioned above, hormonal, causing dormant hair follicles to become active and hair to grow. Unless there is a large hair regrowth, a couple of touch up sessions will take care of this for you. This is really where the semi-permanence of laser hair removal treatment comes into play.
While the treatment can target multiple hairs at a time and can therefore cover a large area of skin rapidly, it cannot target each hair at its optimal growth period during a session. This does not mean that correctly treated hairs grow back, but that other hairs come out of their resting period and start to grow. These are new hairs that were not treated previously.
As stated earlier in this article, each person is different and your physician will explain this to you. But you should assume that you will need at least 6-8 regularly scheduled sessions to see results and also that you will probably need to budget for another session within a year or two of your initial treatment.
Long-term smooth and hair-free skin is something that is completely obtainable with laser hair removal today, and usually 6-8 sessions over the course of a year will help you see a huge reduction in the regrowth of hair. While the treatment is more or less effective on a person by person basis, the high percentage rates of success have proven that laser hair removal can provide a relief from a regular hair removal regimen.