Hair Removal Takes Time
Why a couple of sessions are needed to notice lasting results
Summary: Recognise that hair growth is an active process and that a percentage of the hair growth is occurring beneath the skin and will only manifest itself sometime later. This explains why it may take a couple of sessions to remove most of the active follicles and make a significant impact on hair regrowth.
Hair follicles are tube-like structures ending in a bulbous shape below the surface of the skin. Within these follicles hair shafts form and develop and then grow above the surface of the skin. The main component of hair is a protein called keratin.
Hair goes through a life cycle which includes growth, transition, and a resting phase. During the resting phase the mature hair shafts either fall out or are forced out by the new growth below them.
Each of the individual hair follicles has an independent life cycle. This is significant when it comes to an efficient hair removal method. Most hair removal methods (sugaring included) can only remove the hairs which are currently above the skin. Hair grows continuously as new hair cells are formed at the base of the hair follicle. Androgens, a male sex hormone present in both men and women, activates specific areas of the body to produce hair.
Hair follicles grow in repeated cycles. One cycle can be broken down into three phases:
Anagen – Growth Phase
Catagen – Transitional Phase
Telogen – Resting Phase
Anagen Phase – Growth Phase
- Approximately 85% of all hairs are in the growing phase at any one time.
- The Anagen or growth phase can vary from several weeks (mustache) to several years (scalp).
- The area of the body, gender and hormonal factors all have an effect on the length of the growth phase.
Catagen Phase – Transitional Phase
- At the end of the Anagen phase the hairs enters into a Catagen phase which lasts about one or two weeks.
- During the Catagen phase the hair follicle shrinks to about 1/6 of the normal length.
- The lower part of the follicle is destroyed and the dermal papilla breaks away to rest below.
- The dried up hair root is referred to as being “keratinized” or hardened and it acts as an anchor in the follicle for the shedding hair.
- Often the keratinized hair will remain in the follicle until new growth forces it out and the hair is shed.
Telogen Phase – Resting Phase
- At the end of the the Catagen phase hair enters the Telogen phase which normally lasts about five to six weeks.
- The hair does not grow but stays attached to the follicle while the dermal papilla stays in a resting phase below.
- Approximately 10-15% of all hairs are in this phase at any one time.
- At the end of the Telogen phase the hair follicle reenters the Anagen phase and new hair begins to form starting the growth cycle all over again.
Hair is continually shed and renewed by the operation of alternating cycles of growth, rest, fallout, and renewed growth. Each hair passes through the three phases independently so the total amount of hair normally remains constant.