Hair Removal

Here’s What Happens to Hair Follicles During Laser Hair Removal

Understanding laser hair removal and the growth cycle

Laser hair removal is a popular hair removal method — it uses laser light pulses to target and reduce unwanted hair on the body. Because each hair has a different hair growth cycle, it can be tricky for the laser to catch all the hair at the right time. That’s why multiple laser hair removal sessions are needed to achieve optimal hair reduction. Curious to know more about how laser hair removal works and the different cycles of hair growth? Read on to learn more. 

How laser hair removal works

Hair follicles are located within the dermis (or inner layer) of the skin, and hair growth begins at the bottom of the follicle. Here, blood from nearby blood vessels nourishes the root of the hair. As more cells are created, the hair grows up the tunnel and out of the skin — it’s normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day, and new hair grows because of the different growth cycles. 

How does laser hair removal permanently reduce hair growth? To simplify, it works by selectively targeting the melanin in body and face hairs and destroying the actively growing follicles where growth begins. The melanin in the hair follicle absorbs the laser’s light pulse, which travels down to destroy the root of the hair, as well as its surrounding structures. 

What are the different hair growth cycles?

Since different hair follicles go through different phases of the growth cycle at the same time, laser hair removal is a process that requires some planning to achieve up to 80% permanent hair reduction. While some follicles are in the growth phase, others might be in the resting phase. Some of your hairs might be growing, and others might be about to fall out. This is why multiple treatments are needed for maximum results

There are three main growth cycles for hair, and each follicle is in its own phase of the growth cycle:

The anagen phase

This is when hair is actively growing.

The catagen phase

This is when hair is in between growth and rest.

The telogen phase

This is when the follicle is dormant (up to four months).

Reduce hair growth for good

Once laser hair removal destroys hair follicles, they are unable to grow new hair. As more and more hair follicles are destroyed with each treatment, hair is substantially reduced, so much so that the need for shaving or waxing becomes minimal. Pretty cool, huh?

Want to learn more about laser hair removal? Reach out to one of our treatment specialists here. All of our treatments are performed by skilled and experienced registered nurses, nurse practitioners, or physician associates, so you know you’re in good hands!


  1. “Comparing Traditional and in Motion Nd:YAG Laser in Hair Removal: A Prospective Study,” Medicina, September 2, 2022.
  2. “Do You Have Hair Loss or Hair Shedding?,” American Academy of Dermatology Association, n.d.
  3. “Integrative and Mechanistic Approach to the Hair Growth Cycle and Hair Loss,” Journal of Clinical Medicine, February 2023.