The key to successful permanent hair reduction is the hair follicle where the hair is anchored. When we send pulses of laser energy onto your unwanted hair, melanin in the hair shaft absorbs the light energy and it converts to heat. This heat travels down the hair shaft into the hair follicle. When it reaches the follicle the heat damages or fully destroys the follicle, keeping it from growing hair in the future.
The Growth Phase Is Important
Dr. Smith’s laser hair removal patients often ask why it takes multiple sessions to achieve the amount of permanent hair reduction they seek. The reason is the hair growth cycle. The human body has around five million individual hairs on it, and each hair operates independently of the others. Each hair can be in a different phase of the growth cycle. This cycle includes active growth, called the anagen phase; a transitional period called the catagen phase, and a resting phase called the telogen phase.
Laser energy is only effective if the hair is still actively anchored in the hair follicle, and this only occurs in the anagen/growth phase. But hair can also be in the catagen or telogen phases. In these phases, the hair is already on the path to being shed. The hair is no longer receiving any nourishment from the follicle and it may have already separated from the follicle. This is why laser energy applied to hairs in these phases can’t get down into the follicle. When you’re considering five million hairs, catching each unwanted hair in the growth phase isn’t easy. That’s why multiple treatment sessions are necessary to catch more and more individual hairs in the growth phase.