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Hair Shedding Laser Hair Removal
Hair shedding after laser hair removal is a perfectly normal part of the treatment process. Don’t let the connotation with animal hair put you off what is the best form of permanent hair removal!
While the process may have some cons for certain individuals, at the end of the day there is no better way to eradicate unwanted hair on your body. You can even have laser hair treatment for ingrown hairs if you keep getting painful and irritating ingrown hairs.
Read on for more information specifically on shedding during laser hair removal, or get in touch to book your first course of treatment.
What is shedding after laser hair removal?
Shedding is what happens after you treat the hair on your body with laser hair removal. It means that the treatment is working as the hair is dying and gradually falling out.
When you wax or shave, the hair follicle remains intact and therefore the hair can begin to grow back instantly. During laser hair removal, the light used damages the hair follicles more and more with every treatment until the follicles are destroyed and hair cannot grow back.
Because you are only damaging the hair follicle and not the actual hair strands themselves, the hair will remain until the follicle can no longer support the hair and it will fall out, known as shedding.
When does shedding start after laser hair removal?
Text Hair shedding after laser hair removal begins around 7-14 days after you have treatment and will reoccur with every treatment that you have until your hair is removed at a standard that you are happy with.
Because you will need many laser hair removal appointments before your treatment is finished, you will experience shedding quite a lot until you receive adequate hair loss.
The reason for this is that laser hair removal only targets hair follicles in the anagen (growth) stage. Only a certain number of hairs on your body will be in the anagen phase at a given time, so by attending regular treatments you can increase your chance of repeatedly damaging the most hair follicles and as a result decrease the growth of hair in the future.
How to speed up shedding after laser hair removal
You can speed up hair shedding after laser hair removal by gently exfoliating your skin a couple of times a week following treatment.
By doing this, what you will be doing is ridding your skin of any dead skin cells that may be clogging your pores and causing hair to remain stuck to the skin even though it is detached from the follicle.
The exfoliating action can also apply pressure to hairs that are only just hanging on to their follicle and provide some gentle convincing for it to let go.
Wait until you see the first signs of hair shedding after laser hair removal before beginning to exfoliate. We recommend that you try to do this when in the shower to ease the process and rid your body of unwanted hairs all in one easy, manageable go.
You should also only exfoliate this frequently if you know that you will not damage or irritate your skin. So, for example, if you have quite sensitive skin, then you should exfoliate less and with products suitable for use on sensitive skin.
How To Remove Dead Hair Follicles After Laser
Many patients expect to see their hair falling out almost immediately after a laser hair removal session. However, this is a misconception: unwanted hair doesn’t magically fall out by the next morning after your laser hair treatment.
So why doesn’t hair fall out after a laser removal procedure? In one session, a laser device might only be able to address around 15% of the hair which falls off on its own later on — around 5 days or more after the procedure. This mechanism varies on the person and their age, skin type, hormones, and natural hair growth processes.
Understanding The Hair Growth Cycle
Before figuring out why hair doesn’t fall out after laser hair removal, it’s important to take a look first at the three major hair growth cycles your follicles undergo:
|Anagen||Anagen is known as the growth cycle; it is the most ideal stage for laser treatments to work. The anagen phase is when hair is visible on the surface of the skin, which allows the laser to hold onto it and move heat down the strand and into the hair follicle.|
|Catagen||The catagen stage of the hair cycle is right before the hair falls out naturally and not because of the laser. During this time, laser hair removal will not be as successful because the hair itself is already dead and is being pushed out of the follicle.|
|Telogen||Telogen is the final stage where the hair is neither growing nor developing under the skin. Also known as the resting stage, telogen is the least ideal time to have laser hair removal done as no hair is showing above the surface of the skin.|
Why Your Hair Isn’t Falling Out After Laser Hair Treatments
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that allows patients to temporarily pause on the daily need to wax, shave, tweeze, or pluck their unwanted hairs. The process utilizes powerful light from a laser device to target the pigment in dark hair, which allows the heat to penetrate the skin and destroy the hair follicle. However, it is not permanent and a new follicle will grow back eventually.
After one session of laser, the hair bulb will come out over a 7 – 30 day period. During this time, redness and bumps may appear as your body is pushing dead hair out of the follicle, although ingrown hairs may get trapped under the skin as well. Patients may think it is hair growing but in reality, it’s the body pushing the hair up to the surface and working the hair out of your skin to get rid of it.
Some patients may worry because not all of the hairs in the treatment area were shed after the laser session. It is important to note that each hair follicle might not necessarily share the same growth cycle as the ones around it. The laser can only kill hair during the anagen phase but only around 15% of hair would be in this stage during one laser session. This means only 15% of the follicles will be destroyed and only these hairs will fall out 5 – 14 days after treatment.
The growth cycle is also the reason why it may take 6 – 8 sessions before all hair follicles are destroyed. Each treatment area also has its own growth cycles; hair growth in the upper lip may take a 4-week cycle while the growth cycle of the legs may take 8-10 weeks. Usually, a cosmetic surgeon will spread out the sessions in your treatment plan by six weeks to synchronize with hair growth.
Do’s and Don’ts of the Hair Removal Process
If you’re worried about the hair not falling out, don’t panic. The rate of hair fall and regrowth depends largely on the individual; skin types, hormones, hair and skin color, and treatment area are some of the different conditions that affect the process. In the meantime, here are some do’s and don’ts you should follow:
Do not remove hair after the laser session.
The most important rule to follow is to be patient. Don’t tweeze, wax, pick, pluck, thread, or squeeze the hair out of your skin as this will remove the hair follicles targeted by the laser and cause skin irritation. It’s best to leave them alone until they fall out; as you undergo laser hair removal procedure, the thick and dark hairs will grow finer and become easier to remove.
Do exfoliate frequently.
While you shouldn’t forcefully pluck hair away, you are free to scrub or shave the hair shorter to speed up the shedding process. Gently buff the treatment area in a circular motion using a loofah or a soft cotton washcloth to remove dead hair.
Do not miss your next session.
Although unwanted hair might seem to have disappeared, they could merely be in their telogen phase — hidden away under the skin. Follow your treatment plan and come back to the clinic on time. Waiting too long in between hair cycles may cause you to miss a period of hair growth.
Do moisturize your skin.
Keep your skin supple, healthy, and comfortable after a laser hair treatment. Expect that your skin will feel sensitive and sunburnt after so use a cooling aloe vera gel to prevent skin irritation. Having some ice or an ice pack handy can also help you manage redness, swelling, and other adverse side effects.