You’ve probably seen laser hair removal referred to as “permanent hair reduction.” This choice of language comes from the FDA, and it has led to some confusion. Is laser hair removal permanent, truly? What kind of results can you expect in the long term? 

If you’re not familiar, laser hair removal is the most cost-effective treatment for eliminating hair in the long term. It works by zapping the root of the hair with a powerful light, which deactivates the follicle if the hair is in the right stage of growth, leading to lasting hair reduction. 

However, the word “permanent” doesn’t reflect the tenacity of the human body! In this post, we’ll dive deep into whether laser hair removal is permanent, give some tips for how you can ensure permanent hair removal results, and even discuss electrolysis, which is the other treatment often touted as having permanent effects.



Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Although it’s classified as a “permanent hair reduction” technology,  laser hair removal isn’t 100% permanent. The FDA defines permanent hair reduction as “the long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs regrowing when measured at 6, 9, and 12 months after the completion of a treatment regime.” 

In other words, getting laser hair removal can help you reduce hair for a very long time, but it can’t guarantee zero regrowth (Spoiler alert: neither can electrolysis or other treatments).

Most patients will need to undergo several treatments until reaching a point where the majority of unwanted hair is gone. Then, if they don’t come in for more treatments in the next few years, a small percentage of hair can grow back. 

Studies show that different laser technologies can lead to different outcomes, and factors like the body part treated and individual physiology also play a role. That said, we still have good news: Maintaining your smoothness isn’t too difficult or costly.


How to Ensure More Permanent Laser Hair Removal Results 

Laser hair removal, though not exactly permanent, is still the best hair removal method for ensuring a lifetime of smoothness. If you’d like to maintain permanent results, here’s what you’ll need to do: 

  • The right laser for you: Make sure your med spa has the right laser for your skin type. Studies show that Alexandrite lasers often achieve the highest level of hair clearance for patients with lighter skin tones, while Nd:YAG lasers achieve the best results for patients with dark skin. 
  • Choose the best salon: An experienced and specialized provider will be able to ensure better results by adjusting treatment settings for your skin’s needs. To ensure you choose the best provider, read reviews and consider the reputation of your med spa. 
  • Get enough sessions: The exact number of treatments you’ll need to achieve a high level of hair reduction depends on a lot of factors. Nevertheless, for lasting results, it’s important you complete enough treatments to achieve a considerable level of hair reduction.  
  • Consistency is key: It’s just as important that you attend your laser hair removal treatments consistently every four to six weeks until you achieve your desired level of smoothness.
  • Come for touch-ups: Finally, but most importantly, schedule touch-ups once you achieve your desired results. With touch-ups approximately every six months to a year, you can prevent any new hair growth from becoming noticeable.


Is Permanent Hair Removal Possible?

If the word “permanent” taken at face value, then it’s clear that permanent hair removal is not possible. There isn’t a single hair removal method that guarantees lifetime results without any risk of regrowth. That includes, laser, IPL, and electrolysis. However, with a couple of maintenance treatments a year, you can make sure that your results last!  

is laser hair removal permanent

Types of Permanent Hair Removal

In casual contexts, the main types of permanent hair removal technologies you’ll hear about are laser hair removal, electrolysis, and IPL. In professional contexts, electrolysis is the only treatment usually said to provide permanent hair removal, although the reality is more complicated. 

Many sources promise that, unlike laser, electrolysis can deliver real permanent results. Even we made this mistake the first time we talked about laser hair removal vs electrolysis. In the few head-to-head studies that exist, laser hair removal usually outperforms electrolysis, in one case by a margin of 39%

Additionally, electrolysis and laser have similar long-term efficacy, with some studies mentioning 20% regrowth in the months or years after electrolysis. In other words, much like laser, electrolysis also isn’t truly permanent. 


Other Factors That Impact Results

In addition to the technology and the skills of your provider, the following factors can also impact your long-term results. 

  • Hormonal fluctuations: Hormonal changes in the body may trigger new hair growth, even after “permanent” hair reduction. 
  • Hair color: Laser hair removal is only effective on dark hairs, and won’t impact blonde, white, or red hair. It’s common for light vellus hair that isn’t impacted by laser to turn darker as you age, which might seem like regrowth.
  • Treatment area: Some body parts, like the legs, can achieve and maintain a very high level of hair reduction, while areas like the face often require more treatments and have a higher risk of regrowth. 


Lasting Hair Reduction at SEV 

Your lifetime of smoothness is possible with the occasional visits to your friendly laser tech or nurse at SEV! 

The results from laser hair removal last for a very long time, but we can’t guarantee permanence. To prevent regrowth in the years and decades after you’ve been treated, we highly recommend coming in for maintenance sessions approximately once or twice a year. 

Because we know this will be a necessity for most of our clients, we’ve made it a point to offer our individual treatments at a reasonable price. You’ll save on hair removal packages at the outset, but getting your future touch-ups will still be easy and accessible. Book now to start your journey for hair free skin!