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#87190 - 05/10/11 11:20 AM Does laser really destroy the follicle?
jakecat Offline
Contributor

Registered: 04/22/11
Posts: 14
I've just been thinking, I understand that laser kills the hair. Hair that sheds after the first treatment, If treated effectively is gone forever. It's been explained hundreds of times i know. So then after numerous treatments hitting every hair cycle, you can theoretically destroy every hair that your body/area currently has.

But isnt this just the same as say waxing, waxing pulls the hair out at the root, does that mean that hair is gone forever. Technically yes, i think.
Even if i Pluck a hair out of my eyebrow, that hair is gone forever, because i pulled it out, this doesnt mean my body wont just grow a new one in the same spot.

It is always stated that any new hair that grows is NEW hair that your body has produced. But isnt this just an obvious statement. Of course its new hair, the old hair was burned to a crisp.

I'm just curious because i read different things on different sites. For example.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/70628-hair-grow-back-after-laser/

That site says

Laser hair removal isn't a permanent solution for unwanted hair, so you'll eventually experience hair growth after a procedure. This is largely due to the fact that this method of hair removal only forces the follicles into a prolonged dormancy. It doesn't remove the follicle from the skin.

I truly dont mean to start an argument or anything like that, I just spend a lot of time trying to get my head around the way laser hair removal works.

Maybe it all depends on the skin type and laser settings, i'm sure this is probably the answer i'll get.

Thanx
-Jake

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#87192 - 05/10/11 12:11 PM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: jakecat]
stoppit&tidyup Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 05/04/08
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, UK
Jake - I think you are a little confused. Laser and electrolysis both aim to destroy the hair producing capability of that particular follicle. Electrolysis can do this for any type of follicle. Laser can only do this for follicles that produce dark and coarse hairs because it is dependent on the hair itself absorbing the Laser energy for destruction. Either way, if the right cells are destroyed, that follicle is dead.

If left alone a follicle will produce a hair which will grow, then rest, then shed and be replaced with a new growing hair. You don't even notice this happening! If you wax or pluck, you are just ripping the hair out and forcing the follicle to start growing a new hair. If the Laser treatment doesn't destroy the hair producing capability of a follicle (not correct settings, hair is too fine to absorb enough energy), it will continue to produce hairs.
_________________________
31/F/UK
Laser for reduction on Underarms, Bikini, Full Legs & 3/4 Arms. Skin type IV
Electrolysis - Further details in: My sister's electrolysis diary
[27hrs of Blend, April 2008-Dec 2010 in UK, for coarse hair on lower sideburns, coarse chin hair, completed upper lip, shaped eyebrows]
[Sept 2011 to date, once yearly sessions with Josefa. Completed reduction of facial/neck fuzz in approx 27 hrs TTT]

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#87219 - 05/10/11 05:30 PM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: stoppit&tidyup]
JMISR Offline
Top 20 Contributor

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 254
Loc: Seattle, USA
Originally Posted By: jakecat
I've just been thinking, I understand that laser kills the hair. Hair that sheds after the first treatment, If treated effectively is gone forever. It's been explained hundreds of times i know. So then after numerous treatments hitting every hair cycle, you can theoretically destroy every hair that your body/area currently has.

But isnt this just the same as say waxing, waxing pulls the hair out at the root, does that mean that hair is gone forever. Technically yes, i think.
Even if i Pluck a hair out of my eyebrow, that hair is gone forever, because i pulled it out, this doesnt mean my body wont just grow a new one in the same spot.

It is always stated that any new hair that grows is NEW hair that your body has produced. But isnt this just an obvious statement. Of course its new hair, the old hair was burned to a crisp.

I'm just curious because i read different things on different
Laser hair removal isn't a permanent solution for unwanted hair, so you'll eventually experience hair growth after a procedure. This is largely due to the fact that this method of hair removal only forces the follicles into a prolonged dormancy. It doesn't remove the follicle from the skin.


Hair follicles are just cavities from which hair emerges. As such, you can't really "destroy" them. Instead, electrolysis and laser disable the specific stem cells inside of the follicles responsible for producing hair. With waxing and tweezing, you eject the hair from the follicle, but you don't destroy the follicle's ability to grow more hair.

In the context of LHR, "new" hair growth can mean 3 different things:

1) Follicular stem cells that were previously inadequately treated (low settings or poor absorption of laser energy due to fine/light hair). In this case, the cells may be miniaturized or partly destroyed, and the hair grows back finer and lighter in comparison to the original growth.
2) Hair that was previously dormant or not in the "anagen" growing phase. At any given time, not all follicles are in the anagen phase. That's why multiple treatments are needed to cover all the anagen cycles. However, if correctly treated, most of the hair will be gone after 6-8 treatments, give or take. That never happens with waxing/tweezing.
3) Vellus hairs or other dormant follicles that become hormonally activated or induced by improper laser treatment. Hormonally, this often can be normal (especially male back, post menopausal female face, etc.) or due to some condition such as PCOS.

The claim that laser only forces follicles into a prolonged "dormancy" and is thus a temporary form of hair removal is misleading. Any regrowth from laser stems from incomplete destruction of the follicular stem cells. Again, almost always, this happens when low settings are used, or when fine/light hairs are treated.

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#87236 - 05/10/11 11:33 PM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: JMISR]
jakecat Offline
Contributor

Registered: 04/22/11
Posts: 14
Oh ok cool, so once the stem cells in the follicle are disabled, it is impossible for them to recover. That does make more sense, I was trying to imagine the follicle just simply disappearing into nothingness, almost like ripping a plant out of the ground and then filling in the hole with cement so it doesn't exist anymore.

I guess the hole is still there, its just tiny, and doesn't have a seed or a plant in it.

Another thing i'm still not entirely sure about is the cycles... I understand, that a successful first treatment will remove everything that is currently in the anagen stage. Hair in other stages will still be removed but the follicle wont be disabled. In around a month or so, hair which was previously dormant or resting will come through. Is ALL of this hair in anagen?

I've heard people on this forum say that some of the hair that returns is anagen and some is not. I don't really understand how that could happen. Doesn't all the hair have to go through it entire anagen phase before going into the next phase?

If so then the new hair that is coming through after a succesfull first treatment must all be in it's early anagen stage, i would think.

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#87249 - 05/11/11 11:27 AM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: jakecat]
stoppit&tidyup Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 05/04/08
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, UK
Hi Jake,

Probably best to wait for JMISR's reply. But my understanding of it is that all the hair that is emerging in the weeks after a successful first treatment is anagen.

I have never read differently on here. Except maybe if some of the hair doesn't shed and continues to grow as normal.
_________________________
31/F/UK
Laser for reduction on Underarms, Bikini, Full Legs & 3/4 Arms. Skin type IV
Electrolysis - Further details in: My sister's electrolysis diary
[27hrs of Blend, April 2008-Dec 2010 in UK, for coarse hair on lower sideburns, coarse chin hair, completed upper lip, shaped eyebrows]
[Sept 2011 to date, once yearly sessions with Josefa. Completed reduction of facial/neck fuzz in approx 27 hrs TTT]

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#87253 - 05/11/11 12:12 PM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: jakecat]
jakecat Offline
Contributor

Registered: 04/22/11
Posts: 14


At any point, on any area, you have hair in different cycles of growth. One treatment makes all the hair shed, but only the hair in anagen phase of growth is disabled. After shedding, you have a hairfree period and then see new hair grow in. Some of that hair is once again in anagen and some isn't
.


That was posted by LAgirl in a topic earlier this year.

I was also thinking/wondering. Say you're having treatments at 3 month intervals. The hair that you see return after the SECOND treatment, would that hair have still have showed up, if you DIDN'T have the 2nd treatment?
So at 6 months, you would have twice as much?
This would mean it has been sitting dormant for 6 months, before even the first treatment, and then shows up at 6 months.

That gets me wondering about cycles even more... and how long hairs can rest for.
Maybe i'm just asking too many questions haha.

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#87254 - 05/11/11 12:53 PM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: jakecat]
stoppit&tidyup Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 05/04/08
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, UK
Hmm interesting. I don't want to comment on what I think that might mean because it's just guesswork!
_________________________
31/F/UK
Laser for reduction on Underarms, Bikini, Full Legs & 3/4 Arms. Skin type IV
Electrolysis - Further details in: My sister's electrolysis diary
[27hrs of Blend, April 2008-Dec 2010 in UK, for coarse hair on lower sideburns, coarse chin hair, completed upper lip, shaped eyebrows]
[Sept 2011 to date, once yearly sessions with Josefa. Completed reduction of facial/neck fuzz in approx 27 hrs TTT]

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#87264 - 05/11/11 06:28 PM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: stoppit&tidyup]
JMISR Offline
Top 20 Contributor

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 254
Loc: Seattle, USA
Hair that is actively growing is in the anagen phase.

Generally, 8-12 weeks after the first treatment any hair you see growing in is in the anagen phase. However, that assumes that sufficient energy was delivered to each follicle to ensure a 100% kill rate. Is this always the case? No. Also, keep in mind that different areas have different cycle timeframes, etc.

In sum, because there are many other factors to take into account, you canít say X hairs are or will be in anagen. Itís speculative.

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#87266 - 05/11/11 06:35 PM Re: Does laser really destroy the follicle? [Re: JMISR]
LAgirl Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 9994
Loc: New York, NY
Sounds like you guys don't need me anymore smile

But I'll try to answer your questions:

- Hair is disabled with heat. Laser and electrolysis both deliver heat to the follicle. Settings need to be high enough to heat up the follicle enough to disable it. For laser, the more coarse the hair, the more heat it absorbs. That's why it only works on coarse hair. Hair can shed, but not be disabled permanently, which is why high settings are important.

- Hair grows in cycles on all body areas. Hair cycles on various areas last for different lengths of time. Here's a good explanation and chart for different body areas: http://hairlesssolutions.com/growthfacts.htm

- If all hair sheds after the treatment, all the hair you see grow in afterwards is in anagen. Most people see 5-10% of hair missed each time, which is why I said that above.

- You can actually speed up the process by waxing 8-10 weeks prior to yoru very first laser treatment. If you do that, all hair is in anagen before you start.

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