Laser Hair Removal: How Long Until You See Results?

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By Tia B. Garcia

Removing unwanted hair with a laser is an effective alternative treatment to shaving, waxing, or depilatory creams. Unlike other hair removal methods, laser hair removal can produce long-lasting results. This type of treatment is perfect for people more likely to develop hair bumps, rashes, and other forms of skin or follicle irritation. 

With each session, noticeable lessening of hair density will be noticed across the treatment area. Moreover, new growth will become markedly lighter and more delicate. With an adequate number of treatments, unwanted hair never returns at all. 

If you plan on using laser hair removal to get rid of unwanted facial or body hair, you may be wondering how long it takes for results to manifest. 

What to Expect Immediately After a Procedure 

During a laser hair removal procedure, laser light pulses will be applied to the skin wherever hair is no longer wanted. These treatments can be used to target unwanted hairs on the:

  • Upper lip
  • Under-chin area
  • Cheeks
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Abdomen
  • Legs
  • Bikini zone. 

Although you might be hoping for smooth, hair-free skin right away, it will likely take at least five days for the targeted hairs to fall out. In some instances, full treatment results might not manifest until two full weeks have passed. 

However, it is possible to speed up the removal of treated hairs by gently scrubbing and exfoliating the treatment area. You can do it with a body pouf while in the shower, a loofah, or any other moderate exfoliating tool.  

Some Hairs May Fall Out Right Away 

Laser hair treatments work best on hairs that are currently in their anagen or “growth” phase. During this procedure, laser light pulses are used to disable multiple hair follicles at once or put them in an extended state of rest. The follicles that are most susceptible to being disabled are those that are currently producing new hair growth. 

Natural hair growth cycles is the chief reason most people require three to six sessions before reaching their cosmetic goals. More sessions ensure that all the targeted hair follicles are in the anagen phase at some point throughout the treatment plan. 

How Long Will the Results Last? 

Regardless of how successful your first procedure is, you’ll need to return for follow-up treatments once every six to eight weeks. While one to two treatments will put unwanted hair follicles into a sleeping state, additional procedures will actually terminate these follicles altogether. 

In-between touch-ups, you may notice less hair growth and new hairs that are significantly finer. By the time that your recommended number of sessions is finished, many treated follicles will have been permanently destroyed. 

However, laser hair treatments are not guaranteed to provide permanent hair removal. Instead, these procedures are meant to produce a semi-permanent reduction in new hair growth. Given that the laser technology used in these procedures targets the dark pigment within hair follicles, also known as melanin, patients with lighter skin and darker hair tend to get the best results. 

In fact, many people no longer need to use hair removal methods of any kind after their initial three to six sessions. 

What Are the Benefits of Laser Hair Treatments? 

Many patients report that laser hair treatments both eliminate unwanted hairs and leave their treated skin feeling softer and looking more refined. Although some unwanted hairs might grow back over time, their thinner, finer texture will prevent the skin from feeling prickly. 

In addition to avoiding stubble, you can save money on costly waxing services and avoid the pain of having hairs ripped out by their roots. However, among the best reasons for using a laser to get rid of unwanted hairs is the ability to avoid ingrown hairs, follicle infections like folliculitis, dark spots, hair bumps, and shaving-related skin irritation.  

How Long Until I See Results? 

If you want consistently smooth and hairless skin on your face or specific body areas, hair removal treatments based on advanced laser technology can help. But expect to wait five to 14 days before seeing a noticeable loss of unwanted hair following these methods. 

Moreover, depending on your hair and skin type, you might need between three and eight procedures to get the lasting improvements you are seeking. Technology advances now ensure faster outcomes for darker skin types. For instance, Nd:YAG laser is the best option for patients with darker skin due to its higher wavelength. 

But regardless of skin and hair type, patients need to understand that results take time. With a standard procedure, the unwanted hairs should fall out about one to two weeks from treatment, but you will need at least three sessions for results to be visible. Semi-permanent results should be visible between four and six weeks. 

The laser needs time to inflict enough damage to prevent the hairs from ever making a comeback. How long until you see permanent results also depends on natural hair growth cycles, which are influenced by your genes. 

That is why some individuals need just a few sessions to achieve permanent hair removal, while others may not achieve any results at all. For the latter category, it is best to try alternatives to laser treatment, such as electrolysis. If you have fair hair or gray hair, electrolysis might also be the best option in the long run. 

To Wrap It Up

Traditional removal of unwanted hair through waxing, shaving, and depilatory creams can be an uphill battle that can last a lifetime. However, recent advances in laser hair removal can lead to permanent hair reduction in as little as six weeks, depending on your hair type and skin type.

Because lasers target the dark pigment in your skin, known as melanin, tanned and dark skin types need lasers with higher wavelengths for faster laser hair removal, such as the revolutionary Nd:YAG laser technology. The innovative Nd:YAG has been around for more than a decade but has reached its full potential in recent years (more details in the link).

After graduating from a skincare course, Tia B. Garcia decided to become a beautician and start her own clinic. Once she achieved her goal, Tia was surprised by not feeling fulfilled. So, she began focusing on sharing her knowledge and expertise with others. Tia collaborates with various blogs and writes about cosmetic procedures, skincare tips, and shares secrets of the beauty industry.