Your tired of shaving or waxing all the time to keep the hair at bay, so you have considered laser hair removal. As you research, you keep coming across the term “shedding.” Will laser removal really turn you into a shedding dog? Will you have to worry about leaving a trail of hair behind wherever you go?
The answer is no! While shedding does occur, it isn’t the same as a dog losing her winter coat. To better understand this process, it is good to get a complete understanding of how your hair grows and what laser hair removal really does.
How Your Hair Grows and How Laser Removal Works
Your hair grows in different stages, or cycles. There are three main stages: Anagen, Catagen and Telogen.
The Anagen stage is your growing stage. This is when hair is visible on the surface of the skin. The Catagen stage occurs right before your hair falls out naturally. This is a natural stage before your hair falls out.
The third stage is the Telogen stage and considered the resting stage. During this time, hair is not growing or developing underneath the skin. These cycles vary from person to person and depend on a variety of different factors, including age and hormones.
Laser hair removal targets hair in the Anagen stage. This is why laser hair removal requires multiple treatments in order to completely stop hair growth. Each individual hair on your body can be in a different cycle at different times, meaning that the laser will only work on actively growing areas.
What is Shedding?
Shedding is your body’s process of removing the hair and hair bulb that was treated by the laser. This process typically begins within 1 to 3 weeks after your laser removal treatment. As the body pushes the bulb to the surface, you may experience redness and bumps on your skin, similar to ingrown hairs. This is completely normal and actually a good sign. This process means that the laser treatment was effective in removing your hair.
Can I Speed the Shedding Process Up?
While the shedding process is a good sign and shows that your laser treatments are effectively removing your hair, you may want to help speed up the shedding process. You can do this by gently exfoliating your skin with a body loofah or body scrub. Doing this a couple times a week can help promote the loss of this hair quicker.
What About New Hair Growth?
During this time, you may notice new hair growth. This is because other hair follicles have become active and entered the Anagen cycle. It is important that you resist any urge to wax or pluck this hair. Because this hair is now active, it will be the target of your next laser removal treatment.
Plucking or waxing will take it out of that cycle and prolong the results you hope to achieve through laser removal. As new hair grows, you can continue to shave until your next laser removal treatment. Typically, full hair removal requires six to 10 treatments, with at least four to six weeks in between each session.