How Long Does Hair Stay Removed After Laser Hair Removal?

On face laser hair removal isn't usually permanent but it can be long-lasting. Learn how many treatments are needed and what precautions should be taken.

How Long Does Hair Stay Removed After Laser Hair Removal?

On the face, laser hair removal isn't usually permanent, but it can be long-lasting. Some people report that hair does not come back after 10 years or more, while others experience faster growth and need to resort to annual touch-up treatments to keep unwanted hair at bay. To achieve the best results, treatments should be spaced several weeks apart. It may take up to 12 months to complete the treatment cycle, but with each session, results will improve.

After the first laser hair removal session, the treated area will be smooth for approximately four to six weeks. After this period of time, patients should notice that small fine hairs grow back. Waxing or tweezing these hairs should be avoided as they will be the target during the next treatment, which should take place around this time. Laser hair removal usually requires two to six treatments.

The interval between treatments will vary depending on the location; in areas where hair grows quickly, such as the upper lip, the treatment can be repeated after four to eight weeks, while in areas of slow hair growth, such as the back, treatment can be done every 12 to 16 weeks. In many patients, the skin is slightly pink for 1 or 2 days; in others (usually paler patients) there is no pink color after laser hair removal. Hair starts to fall out after 5 to 14 days and can continue to fall out for weeks. Hair can be removed more quickly by rubbing, scrubbing, or pulling it out (no discomfort after 5 days) if desired. Not all hair may fall out; only those in the anagen (growth) phases of the cycle will fall out (this is the part of the cycle that is susceptible to the laser).

If a home laser hair removal device is used, it is important to follow the instructions that come with it to help reduce the risk of injury, especially eye injury. Laser hair removal on the eyelids, eyebrows, or surrounding areas is not recommended due to the possibility of serious eye damage. After laser hair removal and between scheduled treatments, avoid sunlight and don't use a tanning bed for six weeks or as directed by your doctor. Approximately three to five days after the laser therapy session, you will notice that the hair on the treated area falls out. The Food and Drug Administration considers these laser hair removal devices for home use to be cosmetic, not medical, which means that they do not undergo the same level of scrutiny as other medical devices. There will be no pigments in the treatment area so that the laser can concentrate and burn them if there is no hair.

Skin tone, hair type, hair color, genetics, hormone levels, etc., will influence the results of a laser hair removal treatment. Laser hair removal is more effective for people with fair skin and dark hair but can be used successfully on all skin types; however, it is important that the hair shaft remains intact so that the laser light can capture large amounts of melanin. If someone were to undergo laser hair removal and didn't know they were pregnant, it wouldn't be a major cause for concern but it's not something we would knowingly do. Keep in mind that your laser therapy sessions won't last as long when you come for preventive maintenance, especially if you only have a couple of small areas with slight hair growth. Repeated treatments are often necessary because hair growth and loss occur naturally in one cycle and laser treatment works best on hair follicles in the regrowth phase.

How Many Treatments Are Needed?

Several laser hair removal treatments are needed for initial hair removal and maintenance treatments may also be needed.

Women can have bikini or Brazilian laser hair removal during their period as long as they use a tampon.