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What Are the Laser Hair Removal Stages?

You might be interested in laser hair removal to get rid of excess hair. But if you want to get the most out of this treatment, it’s important to understand the stages of laser hair removal and how the process works.

With a better understanding of laser hair removal treatment stages, you will have an easier time communicating with your provider while also customizing this removal process to meet your needs.

In this guide, we’ll give an overview of the stages of hair growth, the role these stages play in laser hair removal, and how to prepare for your treatment. Keep reading or use the links below to get started.

Understanding the Three Stages of Hair Growth

Hair growth is generally divided into three separate stages. They include:

Stage 1: Anagen

The first stage is called anagen. This is a time of growth. Generally, the cells in the hair bulb divide quickly, creating new hair. Then, hair will grow for a few years until the follicles become dormant once again. During this time, your hair can grow anywhere from 15 to 30 inches, but the length of the phase is dependent on the maximum length of your hair. This depends on a number of factors, including your age, health, and genetics.

Image of white woman’s underarm hair.

Stage 2: Catagen

Catagen is the second stage of hair growth, and it is significantly shorter than the first stage. Generally, it only lasts for a few weeks. During this time, the hair stops growing and separates itself from your blood supply. During this phase, hairs are referred to as club hair.

Stage 3: Telogen

The last stage is called telogen. It starts with a resting phase, where the club hair allows a new hair to grow underneath it. The stage will last a few months, and then the club hairs will shed during the resting phase. This allows the new hair to emerge through the hair follicle, starting the process over again.

How Long Is a Hair Growth Cycle?

Based on the information above, the first stage, anagen, is responsible for the vast majority of the growth cycle. Depending on your maximum hair length, the entire cycle itself could last between 3 to 10 years. Your overall health, age, and genetics are going to dictate the ultimate length of your hair growth cycle.

Graphic titled: 3 Stages of Hair Growth with text that reads, “1. Anagen: Hair is still attached to the papilla. 2. Catagen: Hair sheds and growth stops. 3. Telogen: hair is in a resting stage.” Text is accompanied by an illustration of three hairs.

With a detailed understanding of these three phases, you’re ready to prepare for laser hair removal.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

If you are looking to get rid of unwanted hair, laser hair removal is an efficient way to accomplish that goal. You’re probably wondering how laser hair removal works, and there are a few important points to keep in mind.

During the laser hair removal process, a laser will be used to emit a light that the pigment in the hair, called melanin, will absorb. Then, the light’s energy is converted into heat. The high heat will damage the hair follicles, which are located in the skin. The hair follicles are responsible for producing hair, but when they are damaged by the laser, they can no longer do so. Therefore, it will delay the emergence of new hair or prevent it from happening entirely.

As technology has improved, the precision of laser hair removal has increased. Therefore, it is possible to target the laser for even the smallest hair removal areas.

Overall, this treatment is effective, but multiple treatment sessions are needed to stop hair from growing. While laser hair removal is considered permanent, some stray hairs may grow back, so you may need to have touch-up sessions in the future. At LivSmooth, this is included in your treatment cost from the beginning.

Before undergoing laser hair removal, you’ll work with a treatment professional to customize your plan to meet your needs.

Laser Hair Removal Stages & Hair Growth

Laser hair removal technology can help you remove unwanted hair for good, but the stages of hair growth and laser hair removal are closely intertwined. Let’s look at this relationship a bit more closely.

Illustration of laser targeting a hair follicle with text that reads, “Typically, the anagen phase is best for laser hair removal.”

As we explained, hair is only attached to the hair follicle during the anagen phase. During the other two phases, catagen and telogen, the hair is detached from the skin entirely. Therefore, if laser hair removal were to be applied during these phases, it would have no notable impact on the hair follicle.

The hair has to be given enough time to grow and shed in between treatment sessions. It’s generally ideal to space the treatment sessions a few weeks apart in order to plan laser hair removal around the stages of hair growth.

With an understanding of the stages of laser hair removal, hopefully it makes more sense as to why multiple treatment sessions are needed. 

How Long of a Gap Is There Between Laser Hair Removal Sessions?

Regardless of whether you are interested in full body hair removal or hair removal that focuses on a single area, multiple treatment sessions will be required to complete the process. How many sessions are needed may depend on:

  • The thickness of your hair
  • How much hair you have in the area
  • The size of the treatment area

You will work with a treatment professional to customize a treatment schedule that matches your needs, but in general, treatment sessions are spaced anywhere from six to 10 weeks apart. If the treatment sessions are paced any quicker than that, the hair may not have enough time to grow and shed before the next session.

Illustration of calendar with a clock and text that reads, “On average, laser hair removal sessions are scheduled about 6-10 weeks apart.”

There are a number of factors that will play a role in how far apart your sessions are spaced, including:

  • Your rate of hair growth will play a role in your treatment schedule. If your hair tends to grow quickly, then we may be able to compress the sessions shorter together since your hair cycles are a bit more rapid.
  • The area you are having treated may also play a role in the frequency of your treatment sessions. Hair may grow faster on some parts of your body than others.
  • Your skin and hair color could also play a role in the frequency of your treatment sessions. For example, you may have more melanin than other people, which might mean that you absorb the light differently. This could have an impact on your cells’ ability to transmit heat to the hair follicle, impacting your results.
  • Provider availability may be limited, depending on their booking schedule. In some cases, this may push your appointments further apart. With LivSmooth, we work with you to plan your treatment during your consultation to keep progress moving as smoothly as possible.

Your treatment professional will go over all of this with you before your sessions begin. If you have questions about what to expect regarding laser hair removal, we recommend scheduling a consultation. 

Image of nurse using a laser to remove a white woman’s leg hair. Woman is seated in a treatment chair while the nurse administers treatment.

Should You Continue Your Usual Hair Removal Routine?

Now that the laser hair removal stages of hair growth are clear, you might be wondering, do you need to continue with your usual hair removal routine? It depends. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • You should try to shave the area you are targeting with laser hair removal at least 24 hours before the laser treatment begins. This is important because it will give the laser optimal access to the hair follicle. If you have excess hair growth, it can interfere with the treatment process.
  • You should try to avoid plucking or waxing your hair before the laser hair removal session. This is because both of these hair removal methods completely remove the hair follicle. If the follicle isn’t there, the laser has nothing to target, rendering the treatment ineffective.
  • You should also try to avoid bleaching or using depilatory creams for the same reason. Similar to waxing and plucking, these creams can remove the entire follicle so the laser treatment wouldn’t be effective.

Additionally, it’s important to wear sunscreen to protect your skin. We can’t perform laser hair removal on sunburned skin as it may blister. If you have a sunburn prior to your scheduled treatment, you should let your practitioner know.

Plan Your Laser Hair Removal Treatment

There are different options available if you’re looking for a way to remove unwanted hair, but laser hair removal could be the most efficient. Laser hair removal is considered permanent and safe, making it an easy choice for those who are tired of the constant upkeep required for other removal methods. And, at LivSmooth, you can enjoy pain-free treatment administered by licensed nurse practitioners.

We are dedicated to providing our patients with the highest level of care. We’ve invested in the latest laser technology, provide extensive training, and adhere to strict safety measures. When it comes to planning your laser hair removal, we’ll customize your treatment to achieve the results you desire.

If you would like to learn more about laser hair removal and our processes, give us a call today to schedule an appointment!

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