How Does Laser Hair Removal Permanently Stop Hair Growth?

Posted on: 26 May 2021

Laser hair removal is one of the most popular methods for permanently putting a stop to unwanted hair growth. However, many misconceptions about this procedure exist and can lead some people to worrying or avoiding it entirely. If you've wondered how laser hair removal does what it does and whether or not it's really safe, then here's what you should know.

What the Laser Does

Lasers are produced for all kinds of reasons, and as a result, there are wildly varying strengths of lasers. For example, the simple laser pointers you may have used in a presentation or to play with a cat are typically harmless unless pointed directly into the eyes.

In comparison, the laser you will find at a dermatologist's office is much stronger, but it's also more refined. The laser is designed to follow the root of the hair down straight into the hair follicle. Once the energy reaches this area, it causes damage to the follicle itself, preventing it from growing a new hair.

Why It Doesn't Harm Surrounding Skin

When you hear "damage," you might worry about the threat of damage to your skin or body. However, you don't need to worry about this.

Laser hair removal is so useful and carries pretty much no risk to your skin because of the way the laser is directed. It targets areas of the body that contain melanin, which includes hair, especially when it's a darker color, like brown or black. It has no impact on lighter parts of the body, so the laser won't burn your skin or cause any kind of damage. 

What to Expect

When you come in to get laser hair removal, you'll go through an initial consultation with your dermatologist or doctor. This is where they'll determine if you're a good candidate for this procedure, and they will go over what areas of your body you want to get hair removed from.

In some cases, you may need to wait a bit of time before having your hair removed. For example, if you've recently gotten a tan, your dermatologist may want to wait until it fades to ensure that the laser has no impact on your skin. Alternatively, you may need to wait for your hair to grow out slightly if you frequently wax or use other hair removal methods that completely get rid of the hair. Without the hair, the laser won't have a way of reaching the follicle, so this is a necessity.

From there, your doctor will perform the laser hair removal procedure. Multiple procedures may be necessary to get rid of everything, as hair grows in waves, so there likely isn't a hair currently reachable in every follicle.