Does laser hair removal last forever? Spoiler: No, it doesn’t. But it can keep your skin sans hair for a lot longer than shaving or waxing. In fact, it can last for months or even years at a time. Here’s how it works and what you can expect.
Laser hair removal is often promoted as a permanent solution to body hair removal, which is a bit of a fib. Once the treated skin is hair-free, it’ll likely stay that way for several months to years. But while it can offer long-term results, it’s rarely a lifelong fix. Laser hair removal tends to just damage hair follicles, it doesn’t destroy them. That means the hair can def grow back over time.
Also, keep in mind that the treatment only works on follicles that are in the growth (aka anagen) stage, and not all hair grows at the same rate. So, if you’re a laser hair removal newbie, you’ll prob need at least 2 to 6 treatments before you see a major difference. Most folks note 10 to 25 percent less hair after the first session, but everyone is different.
The good news is that the amount and thickness of the affected hair tends to decrease with more treatments. So in theory, you may find that consistent laser treatments can result in permanent hair removal. But that’s not a given and there are no guarantees.
As for touch-ups, it really depends on your skin, hair color, hair thickness, and the area of your body. Some can go more than a year without needing a treatment while others can only go a few months. You’ll know it’s time when you can see soft, downy hairs start to make an appearance.
Factors that impact how long it lasts
Reminder: Everyone has their own unique skin stich going on. So laser hair removal results can totes vary from person to person. Here are some factors that can determine how long it can last.
Location, location, location
Lots of peeps like to zap the hair off their pits, legs, face, bikini area, butt, or balls. But where you get laser hair removal can affect how long it lasts.
- Face: Facial hair (e.g. the upper lip, cheeks, or chin) tends to grow back quicker than other areas. So generally, the initial laser treatments have to be repeated 4 to 6 weeks for it to work.
- Pits and pubes: Armpit hair and pubes tend to be thicker than the rest of your body hair. So you might need more treatments to see a difference. Again, you’ll need to wait 4 to 6 weeks between treatments.
- Body: The legs and back tend to grow more slowly than hormonal areas. Woot! So you might be able to wait up to 8 weeks between treatments.
Hair and skin color
Your skin tone and hair color can impact the effectiveness of laser treatments. In the past, good candidates were peeps with light skin and dark hair. The idea is that the color contrast can make it easier for the practitioner to target the hair follicles.
If you have blonde, white, or gray hairs, you may find laser treatments don’t work as well. Likewise, some people with darker pigmentation may not respond as well and may require more treatments. There’s also a chance your consultant may tell you that you can’t be treated.
The good news is, thanks to advances in laser hair removal techniques and technology, treatments can work well for folks who have light hair or darker skin. You just have to find the right provider who has the right equipment. For example, lasers with longer wavelengths work well with darker skin types, while shorter lengths are more suitable for those with lighter hair and skin.