Most of us simply think of our hair for its behavior — well mannered, unruly, outright anarchist. Or we think of it when we don’t have enough, or when it’s thinning. Or when we’re looking to give it a new color, or maybe mask some of the grays that’s somehow wormed its way in.
No one in his or her right mind thinks of the growth cycles of hair.
But at Romeo & Juliette, we do. That’s because hair growth cycles are very important to the successful removal of hair with our army of lasers. Here are the growth cycles of human hair and what they mean for hair removal.
The hair on your head grows about one-half inch per month, faster in the summer than in the winter. Your body hair doesn’t grow as fast, but it has the same hair cycles. The anagen phase is a growing phase. In this phase, the hair is growing and healthy. This phase is when laser hair removal is the most effective. Unfortunately, only around 20 percent of our hair is in anagen phase at any time, and every hair on the human body operates on its own, meaning there is no rhyme nor reason to which hairs are in which part of the growth cycle. The anagen phase can last for three to four months on body hair and five to seven years on your head hair (this is why we don’t grow long, nasty body hair).
When the anagen phase ends, the catagen phase takes over. This is a transitional phase from growth to rest. This phase lasts around three weeks for body hair. Lasers are not effective during this phase, as the hair base down in the follicle is shrinking and dying.
Next, the hair enters the telogen, or dormant, phase. Up to 80 percent of our hair can be in the telogen phase at any time. This phase lasts from five to six weeks for body hair. In this phase, the follicle has shortened by about one-half its length from the anagen phase. This makes the entire hair shaft move upwards. At some point, the hair will fall out. This will then begin the move back into the anagen phase, like new hair forms in the bottom of the follicle. Hair hit with laser energy in this phase has no effect, as the hair root has shrunken to a very small mass. The hair is already basically dead, and so it is no longer a part of the follicle. And damaging the follicle is key.
Why you need multiple laser hair removal appointments
To be effective, the laser energy must hit a growing, active hair. Then, the energy is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, traveling down into the follicle and damaging it. This damage precludes the hair from growing for months to years, depending on the person. Because only 20 percent of our hair is in the anagen cycle at any time, and because we have no idea which hairs are in which cycles, there’s no way to tell how effective an individual session with the laser will be. By using multiple sessions, we can hit more and more hair when it is in the anagen cycle.
Tired of shaving and plucking? Just say no with laser hair removal from the laser experts at Romeo & Juliette. Call us at 212-750-2000 for an appointment.