Can IPL or Laser Really Remove Hair Permanently?

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Today, there’s a wide range of IPL or laser hair removal treatments available to choose from, with each product designed to remove unwanted body hair for both men and women. However, these light-based hair removal treatments cannot promise to deliver permanent hair-free results.

Truth is, the results don’t last a lifetime — there will always be some hair regrowth after the treatment. However, what these light-based hair removal treatments can do is to provide is a long-term solution to reducing body hair, especially when compared to other hair-removal methods such as shaving, waxing, or epilating.

Factors Affecting Hair Regrowth

PCOSThere are certain factors that may result in hair regrowth after using IPL or laser hair removal methods. One is hormonal changes in the body, such as those caused by menopause or pregnancy, may reactivate hair follicles that the treatment had rendered dormant, thus causing hair regrowth.

Some individuals may also experience hormonal imbalances that can speed up hair regrowth after treatment. Women who have PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome often suffer from unsightly hair growing on unlikely areas, including the face. If these hormones are still present at high levels after a light-based hair removal treatment, then regrowth can definitely be expected. It is strongly recommended to stabilize one’s hormone while doing the IPL or laser hair removal treatments.

Hair Differs Depending on Body Part (Growth Cycle)

Hair anatomy
By OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Hair growth and regrowth vary greatly on different parts of the body. For instance, hair on the scalp can grow an average of 1/10 of an inch every week. On the other hand, leg hair can only grow at about half that rate. Overall hair production is affected by the repeated life and growth cycle of the hair follicles, which includes rest phases.

How Long Does it Take for Hair to Regrow?

Laser hair removal is not a permanent solution, as it only causes hair follicles so become dormant for an extended period of time, meaning that hair regrowth is to be expected post-treatment.

But how soon and how rapidly the hair regrows depends on the intensity and the duration of the hair removal process, among several other factors.

Even though this process may not permanently stop hair from growing, you can still experience several years of hair-free skin, especially if you periodically conduct maintenance treatments.

There is still ongoing discussion as to the overall effectiveness of this procedure, and the result may vary from one person to another. However, you’ll be sure to see a reduction in the amount of regrowth. Furthermore, when the hair grows back, it’s often thinner and patchier than before undergoing the treatment.

Conclusion

IPL or laser hair removal treatments should never be thought of as a permanent hair-free solution in the literal sense. These light-based hair removal treatments main function is to render the hair follicles dormant, thus slowing down their growth and regrowth.

Therefore, in order to maintain hairless skin, it’s crucial to go through periodic maintenance sessions as part of your grooming routine also known as touch-up sessions.

DeviceSafety FeatureTreat on Face*FDA ClearedClinical Data
Tria Laser 4XTria Laser 4XYesYesYesR. Wheeland, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2007
Philips Lumea ComfortPhilips LumeaYesYes**YesNuijs T. et al, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2008
Silk'n Flash&GoSilk'n Flash&Go, SensEpil, BellaliteYesYesYesAlster & Tanzi, Dermatologic Surgery 2009
Remington iLight Ultra Face and BodyRemington iLightYesYes**YesNone Published
SmoothSkin GoldSmoothSkin GoldYesYesYesEmerson & Town, J. Cosmetic Laser Therapy 2009
Source: Do Home-use Hair Removal Lasers & Intense Light Devices Deliver What They Promise - Godfrey Town & Caerwyn Ash.
*only for female facial hair below the cheek line.
** If the device has multiple models, choose the model with facial cartridge.

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