Understanding Hair Follicles and Hair Growth

Understanding Hair Follicles and Hair Growth

Humans have a love-hate relationship with their hair — we want our heads to have full, lush locks and our bodies to be smooth and stubble-free.

So, you shave, wax, and tweeze repeatedly to achieve that elusive hairless look. The routine is monotonous and expensive over time, but what choice do you have?

We’re glad you asked. At Laser Bar & Spa Koreatown, Midtown West, New York, New York, we specialize in laser hair removal using the most advanced technology by Cynosure®. Our experienced team focuses on one thing only — hair removal — which means you get the finest professional treatment available. 

Whether you’re a first-timer or a loyal laser hair removal enthusiast, it’s good to know what’s happening under your skin’s surface during your treatment. Here, we explain the biology behind hair growth and removal so you can understand how our laser treatments work and why you need more than one session.

Hair follicles: Where hair begins

If you look closely, you’ll see countless tiny holes in your skin called pores. These little openings are the gateways to hair follicles, tube-like structures just under the surface of your skin that serves as the birthplace of hair.

Each strand of hair on your body has its hair follicle. Protein cells accumulate and create a hair root, and nearby blood vessels supply the nutrients it needs to grow. Over time, the fledging hair strand matures and reaches the skin’s surface and beyond. 

The shape of your hair follicles determines the texture and appearance of your hair. For example, oblong follicles create curly hair, and round follicles make straight hair. Your follicles also contain two types of pigment that determine the color of your hair. 

As you age, your body slows down its melanin production. Without the pigment, your hair turns white or gray.

When your hair follicles become damaged, they may stop producing hair altogether. Baldness can stem from genetics, autoimmune disease (alopecia areata), hair follicle infections (folliculitis), or chronic stress. 

Laser hair removal takes a cue from these natural biological conditions — more on that below.

Hair growth cycles

Once its life begins as a root at the bottom of a follicle, your hair goes through three growth phases and then repeats the cycle throughout your life. 

Anagen: the growth phase

This is the active growth phase, where the cells in your follicles multiply and divide rapidly. Up to 90% of your hair is in the anagen phase at any given time, and it can last 2-6 years. The longer your hair stays in this growth phase, the longer your hair grows. 

Catagen: the transition phase

At the end of the anagen phase, the follicle shrinks, your hair detaches from its blood supply, and growth slows to a halt. The catagen stage typically lasts 2-4 months.

Telogen: the resting phase

During the telogen phase, your hair falls out of the follicle. Most people lose 50-100 strands of hair a day. Although this is often called the “resting” phase, studies show that your follicles are hard at work generating new cells to maintain the hair growth cycle. 

How follicles and growth cycles factor into laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is based on the premise that damaged follicles stop producing hair. The more we know about the biology behind the scenes, the more accurately we can target the source and render your skin smooth and hairless.

During your treatment session, we use state-of-the-art laser technology to zero in on your follicles. A quick zap of laser energy destroys the follicles so they can’t grow any more hair in the future, and you can toss your razors in the trash.

We can eliminate all the visible hair in the anagen phase but not those in the catagen and telogen phases. That’s why you need several sessions spaced out over a few months, so we can treat all the hairs as they cycle through the active phases. 

We treat hair wherever it grows: arms, legs, bikini area, face, armpits, and back and chest. Contact our friendly staff to schedule your laser hair removal appointment and go hair-free for good. 

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