Laser Hair Removal – Is it really permanent?

“In order to understand how laser hair removal works and if it is permanent we need to look at a few facts and how our hair stages work.”

Phases of hair growth:

Hair follicles have a long period of growing and a much shorter period where they rest. Even though it is still attached to the hair follicle during its resting phase it will not be growing. Then it sheds after this resting period and a new cycle begins where the hair grows again.

The 4 cycles of hair growth are:

  • Anagen stage – where the hair grows.
  • Catagen stage – this is a short transitional phase before the hair follicles go into their resting phase (regression phase). The hair follicle shrinks.
  • Telogen stage – this is the resting phase where the hair sheds and falls out of the follicle
  • Exogen stage – here there is a period when a resting hair reaches its terminal position in the hair follicle and it detaches. Hairs in this phase gradually loosen and are shed.

What is laser hair removal?

It is a treatment procedure where unwanted hair is removed by a light device. The highly concentrated light targets the hair follicle. Within the hair follicle the pigment melanin from the hair absorbs the light and by this way destroys the follicle.

What areas are popular for hair removal?

Laser hair removal is very popular on the underarms, face, legs, arms and legs. However other areas are treated as well – anywhere that unwanted hair needs to be moved we can assist for example the ears, head, eyebrows etc.

How many sessions are needed?

Generally 6 – 8 sessions are required. The reason for this is due to our different hair phases. When hair is in the active phase, the hair follicle is destroyed, however only a maximum of 15% are in that phase. That is why sessions are required every 4-6 weeks. Once someone has finished their treatments they will be completely satisfied with the outcome and have no visible hair growth at that time. Once you complete your sessions, maintenance is required. This is due to the fact that all individuals have hormones that want to stimulate or influence hair growth again and some medical conditions can aggravate it even more.

What are triggers for more hair growth?

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Insulin resistance
  • Pregnancy
  • Any form of contraceptive that may influence hormone levels
  • Any condition that can cause hormone fluctuations

We all have dormant follicles that are not active but can be stimulated at any given time. When you have done your initial treatment sessions you may have to come now and then to do a full session to destroy new hairs that were stimulated. 20% hair growth may always show up now and again and the rest will stay reduced. This is the reason why laser hair removal is known for permanent hair reduction and maintenance is key for best results.

The overall opinion is that laser hair removal is FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved to be permanent hair reduction and not permanent hair removal. This means that after sessions the area treated can be hair free but new hairs may appear from time to time. Most people need maintenance 1-2 times annually after their first course of treatment to target new growth.

It is also known that there is a very small percentage of individuals who do not see a difference at all when doing laser hair removal. The actual cause is unknown but it may be due to underlying medical concerns.

Important rules to adhere to before deciding to come for laser hair removal treatments in order to have effective results:

  • Stop waxing, tweezing and threading the areas 5-6 weeks prior to your treatment.
  • Discontinue the use of self tan creams and tanning 6 weeks prior to laser treatments.
  • If you think you have a hormonal imbalance do have these checked with your doctor before coming for treatments for most effective results.

What questions I need to ask in order to ensure laser hair removal is effective on me after a few sessions?

  1. Is my hair growth slower?
  2. Am I shaving less frequently between my sessions than usual?
  3. Where there is growth, is it in patches?

What to remember during your treatment course:

  1. No waxing/plucking
  2. No bleaching
  3. Always give honest feedback to your therapist in regards to skin changes, hair growth, tanning etc.

3 Different lasers we offer for hair removal at Dermology:

The Dermology skincare clinic specialises in safe, affordable, effective treatment options for both the face and body.

Our highly trained team of professionals make it their goal to ensure every patient receives the results and care that they deserve.

This attention to detail and individual patient care is what sets Dermology apart from any other clinic.


+27 76 424-8809
Building 3
Rivonia Office Park
150 Rivonia Road


+27 72 817-8160
3 New Eskdale Street
Western Cape


+27 72 094-1673
107 George Storrar Drive
Whitelies Aesthetics


+27 64 803-2300
Izulu Office Park
Rey's Place
Block A 102


Dermology’s goal is to produce the best results possible for all our patients, however, everyone is different. Responsiveness to procedures, protocols or ingredients may vary from person to person. Consultation are compulsory.