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When does laser hair removal start to work?

Laser hair removal is the go-to aesthetic treatment for patients looking for effective, long-term hair removal that’s gentle on the skin.

The excellent outcomes of this popular treatment are achieved over a course of treatments.

Understanding how the treatment works, how hair growth is affected, and how long the process takes will help manage your expectations of the time and results you can anticipate.

What is laser hair removal?

Unlike temporary hair removal techniques such as shaving, waxing, plucking or epilating, lasers offer the opportunity for permanent hair reduction.

Laser hair removal delivers a single, intense laser light directly into the root of the hair. 

This potent light targets the darker melanin pigment in the hair follicle, and the heat generated disrupts the cells to inhibit hair growth.

Over 6 to 8 treatments, hairs are reduced in quantity and thickness until they become virtually invisible.

When does laser hair removal start working?

A question we are regularly asked is ‘how long does laser hair removal take to work?’

Patients can expect to notice that hair in the treated area will start to fall out by day 7 and for up to 21 days following their treatment.

Individual patients, individual results

It is very true to say that results vary from patient to patient. This is because each of us has our own specific hair type, hair growth cycle and hormone fluctuations – factors that all play a part in hair growth. Therefore, timing of laser hair removal results can never be an exact science.

What is known is that lasers are most effective at treating hair follicles that are in the ‘anagen’ or active growing phase. This is the reason why laser hair removal takes place over a course of treatment – so that each hair can be treated at the optimum time.

Understanding hair growth

Hair growth takes place in cycles, therefore at any point in time, some hair follicles are actively growing and some are in their resting phase:

Diagram showing the four phases of hair growth cycle

During the resting phase, the hair follicle is at the point between the hair falling out and the new growth cycle starting.

Laser hair removal is most effective when the hair is actively growing because enough light can be absorbed by the melanin pigment in the hair follicle to disrupt regrowth.

Therefore, a course of 6 to 8 treatments ensures that as many hairs as possible are treated during the growing phase.

When does shedding start after laser hair removal?

Ater each treatment within your course, you can expect to see hair loss or ‘shedding’ within 7 and up to 21 days following treatment.

Hair regrowth 

Because the laser light is most effective on the hair follicles in the growing stage, any follicles that were in the resting phase during treatment will start to grow as their anagen phase of the growth cycle begins. 

This means that you will see some regrowth between appointments. This will decrease over your course of treatments.  

Stubble shedding

In the weeks following treatment, you may notice stubble-like hair or black specs on your skin. This is the shedding of hairs that were partially grown at the time of treatment. Gentle exfoliation will effectively remove these small hairs.  

How long does laser hair removal last?

Patients usually require 6 to 8 treatments, with a 6 to 10 week gap between each one.

Factors such as complexion, hair density and the area being treated all influence your individual needs. Your practitioner will be able to advise you about the likely treatment course, based on experience and thorough assessment of your skin at your initial consultation.

Following your course of treatments, you may need maintenance treatments once or twice a year to maintain the results. Again, this will depend on your hair and skin type.

More information about laser hair removal

For further information about laser hair removal, our ultimate guide to laser hair removal has full, detailed information about this effective treatment and what to expect.

Our blog article gives you the key differences between IPL (intense pulsed light) and laser treatments.

For general information, the NHS offers advice and guidance.

Laser hair removal at Melior Clinics

Our patient at the start of a course of treatment for his underarm hair.

We use Cynosure’s light-based laser aesthetic technology. This device brings a huge number of benefits for our patients, such as:   

  • Adjustable settings for specific skin tones and hair colour
  • Precise treatment – we can accurately target dark, coarse hairs or smaller areas whilst avoiding your surrounding skin.

90% of our patients report permanent hair loss after 3 to 6 sessions. Find out more about our range of cost-effective laser hair removal packages.

To book your laser hair removal appointment, you can book online, call us or email