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Understanding Laser Hair Reduction: How Does it Work and is it Permanent?

by Skin_Town

In the search for smooth, hair-free skin, many people have turned to laser hair reduction as a modern and efficient solution. This advanced methodology promises longer-lasting results compared to traditional hair removal techniques such as shaving, waxing, or plucking. But how exactly does laser hair reduction work, and is it truly a permanent solution? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the science behind laser hair removal, the procedure itself, its effectiveness, and what you can expect in terms of permanency and maintenance.

The background of science in laser hair reduction

How Lasers Target Hair Follicles

Laser hair reduction operates on the principle of selective photo thermolysis. This process involves using specific wavelengths of light to generate heat, which is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in the hair. Melanin is abundant in the hair shaft and follicle, making it an effective target for laser treatments.

When the laser light is absorbed by the melanin, it converts into heat, which then damages the hair follicle. This damage inhibits the follicle’s ability to produce new hair, leading to a reduction in hair growth over period of time. The surrounding skin, which contains less melanin, remains largely unaffected by the laser light, minimizing the risk of damage to the skin.

The Hair Growth Cycle

To understand why multiple sessions of laser hair reduction are necessary, it’s essential to know the phases of hair growth:

  1. Anagen (Active Growth Phase): Hair is actively growing, and the follicle is rich in melanin. This is the phase where laser treatment is most effective.
  2. Catagen (Transitional Phase): Hair growth slows, and the follicle begins to shrink. Laser treatment is less effective during this phase.
  3. Telogen (Resting Phase): Hair growth stops, and the old hair detaches from the follicle. New hair begins to form beneath it. Laser treatment is ineffective during this phase.

Since not all hairs are in the same growth phase at any given time, multiple laser sessions are required to target all hairs during their anagen phase.

Hair growth cycle

The Laser Hair Reduction Procedure

Preparing for Treatment

Before undergoing laser hair reduction, it’s important to consult with a qualified dermatologist or laser technician to determine if you are a suitable person for the procedure. Here are some general preparation steps:

  1. Avoid Sun Exposure: Tanned skin increases the risk of side effects, so it’s recommended to avoid sun exposure for at least six weeks before treatment.
  2. Stop Other Hair Removal Methods: Avoid waxing, plucking, or electrolysis for six weeks before treatment, as these methods temporarily remove the hair root, making laser treatment less effective.
  3. Shave the Treatment Area: Shaving the area a day or two before the procedure ensures that the laser targets the hair follicles beneath the skin without burning the hair above the surface.

During the Procedure

  1. Preparation: The technician will clean the treatment area and may apply a cooling gel or a topical anesthetic to reduce discomfort.
  2. Laser Application: The laser device is passed over the skin, emitting light pulses that target the hair follicles. The duration of the session depends on the size of the area being treated. Small areas like the upper lip may take a few minutes, while larger areas like the back or legs can take up to an hour.
  3. Cooling and Soothing: Many modern laser devices include cooling systems to protect the skin and reduce discomfort. After the session, cooling creams or ice packs may be applied to soothe the treated area.


Post-treatment care is crucial to ensure optimal results and minimize side effects:

  1. Avoid Sun Exposure, stay away from the sun, sauna, swimming, hot baths, and exercises for 2-3 days.
  2. Protect Your Skin, wear SPF 30+++, and avoid makeup, active ingredients, body serums, peels, lasers, and facials for a few days.
  3. Skip Perfumes & Fragrances: Refrain from using perfumes and fragrances for a few days.
  4. Minimize or avoid waxing, threading, and shaving for 2-3 days.
  5. Use Gentle Skincare Products, Avoid harsh products or exfoliants for a few days after the procedure.
laser hair removal

Is Laser Hair Reduction Permanent?

Understanding Permanency

The term “permanent hair reduction” can be somewhat misleading. While laser hair reduction can significantly reduce the number of unwanted hairs and delay the regrowth, it does not guarantee 100% permanent hair removal for everyone. Here’s what you can realistically expect:

  1. Long-Term Reduction: Most individuals experience a 70-90% reduction in hair growth after a full course of treatments. The remaining hairs are typically finer and lighter.
  2. Variable Results: Results can vary based on factors such as hair color, skin type, hormonal balance, and the area being treated.

Factors Affecting Results

  1. Hair Color and Skin Tone: The ideal person for laser hair reduction have light skin and dark hair. The greater the contrast between hair and skin color, the more effective the treatment. Advances in technology have made it possible to treat darker skin tones, but the results may not be as pronounced.
  2. Hair Growth Cycle: As previously mentioned, multiple sessions are needed to target hair in the anagen phase. Typically, 6-8 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart are recommended.
  3. Hormonal Factors: Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause, or medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can stimulate new hair growth, even after a successful laser hair reduction course.

While laser hair reduction offers long-lasting results, maintenance sessions may be necessary to keep the treated area hair-free. These sessions are usually required once or twice a year, depending on individual hair growth patterns.


Laser hair reduction is an effective and popular method for achieving long-term hair reduction. By understanding how the process works and the factors that influence its effectiveness, you can make an informed decision about whether this treatment is right for you. While it may not provide complete permanency, it offers significant and long-lasting reduction in hair growth, making it a worthwhile investment for many individuals seeking a more permanent solution to unwanted hair. Always consult with a qualified professional to ensure the best results and minimize potential risks.

Unwanted body hair can be a nuisance, requiring constant maintenance through shaving, waxing, or plucking. For those seeking a more long-term solution, laser hair reduction presents a viable and effective alternative. At Skin Town Clinic, we aim to provide our patients with the best dermatological care, leveraging advanced technologies and years of expertise.

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