When it comes to laser hair removal there is an optimum time to do it to get maximum results. Firstly you need to understand that one zap will not get rid of the hair forever and you will need a few treatments. Why? Our hair grows in different phases.
I guess this is kind of like any form of hair removal treatment in that you need to. To understand when the optimum time to do hair removal through IPL or Laser, it’s important to know how both Laser and IPL hair removal works along with the different stages of hair growth.
Whether it be Laser or IPL, a highly concentrated beam of light is aimed over the hair, this puts the light into the pigmentation of the hair and destroys the follicle, this usually prevents growth for anywhere from weeks to months, but it can take more than one treatment to do so. It is also important to remember that while there can be up to 2,500 follicles of hair in any square inch of skin, sometimes only about 100 of them are showing. If they aren’t showing, it can be hard to say how many treatments will be needed to treat all of the hair and destroy all of the follicles.
Hair Growth Cycles
Hair Growth Cycles
Stage 1 – Anagen : This stage is the beginning phase of hair growth. This is when the hair is visible above the skin and is still attached to the papilla. The papilla is a knoblike vascular indentation of the bottom of the hair follicle on which the hair bulb fits. (Definition courtesy of dictionary.com) This hair growth Anagen phase is ideal for laser or IPL hair removal because since it is still attached to the papilla the laser can attack the papilla and prevent any new growth. This stage usually lasts for about 2-3 weeks and occurs for both facial and body hair.
Stage 2 – Catagen : This stage is not exactly ideal for permanent hair removal as it is during this stage that the hair begins to shed, this shedding is not the same as after the treatment. This can last about 2 days, so not very long. You can still get the treatment as the follicle will produce another hair.
Stage 3 – Telogen : This is the final stage of hair growth and is the one stage where laser treatment cannot be done. This is because the hair is neither growing nor developing and it is no longer attached to the papilla. This stage is fairly unpredictable and can last for any amount of time ranging from a few days to a few years.
How The Cycles Effect You
It can take 6-12 weeks for hair to grow from the papilla to show above the skin. With this knowledge we know that if you were to pluck your eyebrows you wouldn’t see the exact same hair in a week, even if you have hair in the same area. This growing stage is the perfect time to receive laser hair removal treatments, and it may take a few treatments over a period of a few weeks (usually about 8 weeks apart) to get the desired results because hair will grow in the same area, even though it isn’t the same hair. Because of this, it is very important to keep on your regimen with your treatments. Missing a treatment could allow your hair to enter the next stage and shedding will begin, if you get treatment during the catagen stage, it will likely not be as effective.
Hair can grow about ½ inch a month, but you will probably only see about ¼ inch above the skin. So even if after a month or so, the hair doesn’t appear to be so long, it actually is. Again I will say, do not skip a treatment and do not do too many treatments. Treatments are scheduled around the Anagen stage of hair growth to work towards a goal of permanent hair removal.
Now that you know how hair grows, it is very important to watch for yourself and monitor which stage of growth your body hair is at. The amount of treatments you will need will vary greatly on your genetic factors for hair growth, your skin tone and hair color.