08 . November . 2019 BY Dr. Sharmishtha Deshpande

Laser Hair Reduction is technology’s answer to the bothers of unwanted body hair. It’s a boon for both women and men who struggle with grooming, amidst a hectic lifestyle as we experience these days.

Laser Hair Reduction, is, without a doubt, the best possible option for you to get rid of unwanted body hair, permanently. It beats out the traditional methods of shaving, waxing or threading any day.

The trouble however is, with this growing popularity, a number of salons, stand-alone technicians and self-styled clinics & ‘experts’ have started offering laser hair reduction as a service. Most of them do not have the necessary technical and medical know-how to guide you right or the technology to deliver the expected results. And unfortunately, there is little information available to an interested party that is not misleading.

We have been addressing many of your questions, bringing about clarity on the process, the science behind it and things you need to keep in mind. We strongly believe that any decision, especially those concerning your body and hair MUST be a well-informed one!

Keeping in line with this, today we are addressing a very commonly asked question, on social media forums, and very often at our clinics during consultations – ‘Why do I need so many sittings for laser hair reduction?’. And various forms of the same query!

So here we are, once again, with our ‘Ask the Hair Expert’ series; this time to address your queries on the reduction of hair using laser treatment, how many sittings you need, why so, what to expect, how to approach the treatment in itself and how we can help you address your concerns on the subject!

You asked: “How many laser sittings do I need for hair removal? Why do I need so many sittings for hair to stop growing? Why is my hair growing back when I have had a laser hair reduction session?”

Here’s the answer from the Hair Experts.
Yes. You DO need multiple sittings for the laser to do its job.
And it has to do with your hair growth cycle.

So, let’s first have a quick recap on how laser hair reduction works at large, and then move on to address why you need multiple sittings for the hair reduction to happen.

How does laser hair reduction work?

Laser hair reduction is a cosmetic procedure, performed under medical supervision, that helps reduce the growth of unwanted hair. The procedure is performed by a trained specialist, using a long pulse/ motion speed laser that is set according to your hair and skin type.
If you are someone who follows our pages, you would have read about the science behind this technology and how it works. For those who aren’t familiar, laser hair reduction is basically selective photothermolysis. It targets the pigment melanin in the hair bulb and burns the papilla thereby arresting hair growth. This leads to permanent hair reduction over time.
‘Over time’ is the keyword here. Let us clarify very categorically that laser hair reduction does not remove hair permanently in one sitting! Or even two sittings for that matter! There is no ambiguity here.
A person may on an average need about 6-8 sittings, at intervals as prescribed, to permanently damage most of the hair follicles in the particular area being treated.
Let us now dive a little deeper into this to give you clarity.

Why are multiple sittings needed?

Multiple sittings ensure that hair in all stages of the hair growth cycle is addressed.
The most common misconception is that laser hair reduction needs just one sitting to get rid of all unwanted hair. There is then that frantic ‘my hair is growing back!’ panic attack after the first sitting.
Every single hair goes through a 3-phase life cycle, and not all are in one phase at the same time! Laser hair reduction process focuses light energy on individual hair follicles, targeting the dark pigment in them – in the Anagen phase, and destroys them. But, due to the growth cycle, not all hair is at the same point of the life cycle and hence some hair follicles do not get damaged by the laser during the particular sitting. These will continue to grow.
You hence need a series of laser sessions for permanent hair reduction to target individual hairs at different growth cycles.
Over the course of the treatment, with multiple sittings, you will observe that there is a significant reduction in the number of hair-producing follicles. It is thus right to say that laser hair removal is permanent hair reduction. With each passing session/sitting, you are in fact permanently attacking & reducing the number of hair-producing follicles.
Now that we have explained the need for multiple sittings, we will answer your next question – How many laser sittings do I need for hair removal?

There is no specific number or count as an answer here, that will apply to all. The number of sittings you need for effective hair reduction is dependent on your hair growth cycle. This is something that can be determined only after a thorough consultation process with the trichologist. As mentioned above, a person may on an average need about 6-8 sittings. This is thus not a sacrosanct number!

Apart from your hair growth cycle, there are other factors which play a role in determining the sittings you may need – where you opt to get it done (do go to a reputed clinic!), the effectiveness of the technology that is being used for the procedure, the before/aftercare that you engage in etc. Further, the time taken per sitting is also dependent on the nature of the area being treated, the type of hair you have, and again, the technology being used for the process.

Advanced technologies like the Cool Brush Technology are extremely efficient and does its work, with virtually no discomfort to you. On average, treatment for facial hair will take less than 12 minutes while laser hair treatment on the back and upper thighs will take the maximum time of about 60 minutes. Owing to the larger spot size, gliding motion & pulse rate of 10/sec, the time taken per session is dramatically reduced.

While at it, we will also address another common question when discussing sittings – Will hair grow back after my laser treatment – after all my 6/8 sittings?

Yes, it will grow back – because every hair is made to go through a particular cycle. However, that’s not your full answer.

With every sitting you have, the diameter of the hair that grows out becomes thinner, density becomes lesser and eventually leading to permanent removal of hair. After about six to eight treatments, you will see a visible reduction in hair growth. If at all there is any regrowth, it can be very easily managed with maintenance treatments in every six to twelve months. From our experience, we have seen that most patients do experience some fine re-growth, perhaps after a year or so. Typically one maintenance sitting per year helps maintain excellent results.

Why is this so? Because Vellus, meaning non-pigmented baby hair, cannot be destroyed by lasers and these are not obviously visible. Further, you experience hormonal changes throughout your lifetime and this has a direct impact on your hair growth cycle. The hair type and skin tone can also affect the hair removal process.

How can a Trichologist help you?

It is a myth that laser hair reduction is just a cosmetic procedure and that there is no need to consult a doctor for the same. Medical history is very important to be looked into for the process. Some disorders & medications have relative contraindications to laser. Also, laser hair reduction does not show results in some who suffer from certain hormonal disorders. Consultation with a Trichologist would be most advisable.

Trichologist would run through a thorough consultation to understand your lifestyle, medical history, examine the area which you wish to get treated, hair texture & hair colour in that area and analyse your hair growth pattern.

This consultation is the key. It helps the doctor, technician and most importantly – you, understand the path forward. The number of sittings needed, energy to be used to work on the hair follicle and the treatment schedule – all of this depends on the findings of this consultation.

There are specific parameters for the session, to be used on the basis of your hair & skin type, so as to have optimum results without jeopardising safety. A professional will diagnose and take a measured call on what is needed for you.

Go for laser hair reduction! There is no doubt that it is THE best choice as a permanent solution for unwanted body hair hassle. But, let it be a well-informed decision and do it responsibly at a reputed clinic under professional supervision. This would be most efficient, result-oriented and will deliver the expected results.

Do read more on the topic, on our laser hair reduction blogs, and for all things ‘Hair’, do follow our blogs on hair loss, hair care, treatments & solutions, and interesting hair trivia!

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