Are you considering laser hair removal treatment? It’s slowly becoming one of the most popular hair removal methods in the industry — and for good reason. Laser is fast, effective, and has some of the longest-lasting effects of all the hair removal treatments available in the market. 

One thing you need to know to properly understand how laser hair removal works is how your hair grows over time. Hair growth influences how and when you should have your hair lasered, and how effective the treatment will be.

Hair Growth Cycles

The hair growth cycle has three stages; anagen, catagen, and telogen. These phases occur simultaneously, meaning that different hairs will be in varying stages of growth at the same time. While one strand of hair in your head can be in the anagen, the one beside it might already be in telogen.

Each hair revolves through these three phases of growth. Once the cycle is complete, and the hair has fallen out of the follicle, it begins again. 

Phase 1: Anagen

The first step in the cycle is called anagen, also known as the active growth phase. It consists of two processes. The first part occurs when hair begins to form at the root of the hair follicle. This is also where melanin is created in the follicle for those who have darker hair tones. 

The main event of the anagen phase is the active growth period. This is where the hair grows fastest. Each hair lengthens at a rate of around half an inch per month, around six inches a year. This phase can last for around 3-5 years, though this often depends on genetics. Some people can go through anagen phases that last as long as seven years!

Anagen is the only phase where laser hair removal can target hair effectively. This is why hair needs to be grown out after waxing or shaving before hair removal treatments can begin. 

Phase 2: Catagen

Catagen is the intermediate stage between active hair growth and hair shedding. It’s a transitional phase where the structure of the hair that grew during the anagen phase begins to morph. These changes can manifest in the following ways:

  • All growth in the hair follicle ends
  • The hair bulb detaches from the blood supply and begins to move toward the surface of the skin
  • The follicle shrinks to help force the hair upward
  • The hair starts to sit loosely in the follicle, allowing it to fall out during everyday activities 

This leads to the final stage of the hair growth cycle

Phase 3: Telogen

The telogen phase is the last stage in the process before regrowth. During this period, the remaining strand of hair is pushed out of the follicle by the new anagen hair growing beneath it. 

During this phase, laser hair removal no longer affects hair growth because the hair in question isn’t attached to the root of the follicle. Hair removal through laser can only be effective during the anagen phase when hair is growing and fully attached to the hair follicle. It takes 4-8 sessions of laser removal before the best results can be seen because hairs move through the anagen phase at different times.

For more information on what you can expect from laser hair removal before and after treatment, get in touch with our cosmetics specialists at Bare Tattoo & Hair Removal. If you’re interested in any of our treatments, you can book a free consultation or call us at +(219) 237-0044.