While the hair cycle is most commonly associated with the hair on our scalp, it is important to note that our body has hair all over, and this hair also goes through different cycles.
The hair on our body, known as vellus hair, is short, thin, and fine, and it serves mainly to protect our skin. However, in some areas of our body, such as the armpits, genital area, and face (in men), the vellus hair can transform into terminal hair, which is longer, coarser, and darker. The hair cycle for body hair is similar to that of scalp hair, but there are some differences.
- Anagen Phase
The anagen phase for body hair is much shorter than that of scalp hair, lasting only a few months. This is why body hair never grows as long as scalp hair. However, the length of the anagen phase can vary depending on genetics and hormones.
- Catagen Phase
The catagen phase for body hair is also shorter than that of scalp hair, lasting only a few weeks. During this phase, the hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the blood supply, causing the hair to stop growing. The hair bulb moves up towards the surface of the skin, and the hair becomes a club hair, which is a dead, white, and hard hair that is easily shed.
- Telogen Phase
The telogen phase for body hair is similar to that of scalp hair, lasting between three to four months. During this phase, the hair is not growing, but it remains attached to the skin. At the end of this phase, the hair follicle re-enters the anagen phase, and a new hair starts to grow, pushing the old hair out of the skin.
Laser hair removal targets hair in the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. This is because during the anagen phase, the hair follicle is actively producing hair and is connected to a blood supply. The laser energy is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair follicle, which then heats up and damages the follicle, inhibiting its ability to produce new hair.
The reason why laser hair removal targets hair in the anagen phase is that during this phase, the hair follicle has the most amount of melanin. Melanin is what gives hair its color and absorbs the laser energy. Therefore, hair in the anagen phase is the most responsive to laser hair removal.
However, not all hair follicles are in the anagen phase at the same time. In fact, only about 20-30% of hair follicles are in the anagen phase at any given time. This is why multiple laser hair removal sessions are needed to target all hair follicles during their anagen phase.
During the catagen and telogen phases of the hair growth cycle, the hair follicle is not actively producing hair, and it is not connected to a blood supply. Therefore, laser hair removal is not effective during these phases because there is no melanin in the hair follicle to absorb the laser energy and damage the follicle.
Our experienced technicians are able to make a recommendation on when to be back for your treatment to make the most out of your session and have hair follicles ready to be destroyed at the right point. This knowledge and applying in our client's favor is one of the reason for our success and customer satisfaction.