Laser Hair Removal: Understanding the Shredding Phase

doctor doing laser procedure

In the realm of cosmetics, laser hair removal has become increasingly popular as it provides a lasting remedy for undesirable hair growth. However, many are surprised that a shedding phase occurs after each treatment. This article will discuss the shedding phase, why it occurs, and how to manage it.

What is the Shredding Phase? 

The shedding or exfoliation phase is a natural part of laser hair removal. It occurs several days after each treatment and involves shedding dead hair follicles from the skin’s surface.

In laser hair removal treatment, the laser focuses on the pigment in the hair follicles, absorbing the energy and eliminating the hair follicle. Over time, the treated hair falls out, and new hair growth is inhibited.

The shedding phase typically occurs about a week after each treatment and lasts several days. You can see that the treated region looks to have more hair than before the treatment during this period. These hairs, however, will just fall out on their own since it is considered dead. 

Why Does the Shredding Phase Occur?

The shedding phase happens because the laser focuses on the hair follicles during their active growth phase, commonly called the anagen phase. At any given moment, a fraction of your hair follicles is in the anagen phase, while the remaining ones are in the catagen (dormant) or telogen (shedding) phases.

Because not all hair follicles are in the anagen phase simultaneously, multiple treatments are necessary to achieve long-term hair reduction. Each treatment targets a different set of hair follicles in the anagen phase.

As the treated hair follicles enter the telogen phase, they will naturally shed from the skin’s surface, resulting in the shedding stage. 

How to Manage the Shredding Phase

The shedding phase can be unsightly, but it’s a natural part of laser hair removal. There are a few things you can do to manage the shedding phase and minimize its impact:

  • Exfoliate gently: Gently exfoliating the treated area can help remove dead hair follicles and promote skin cell turnover. Nevertheless, it is crucial to avoid using harsh scrubs or exfoliants that could lead to skin irritation.
  • Moisturize: To alleviate any discomfort or dryness caused by the shedding phase, it is advisable to keep the treated area moisturized. To prevent pore blockage, select a non-comedogenic moisturizer that is mild and devoid of fragrance.
  • Avoid shaving or waxing: While it may be tempting to shave or wax the treated area during the shedding phase, it’s best to let the dead hair follicles fall out independently. The process of shaving or waxing may cause skin irritation and hinder the shedding process.

Be patient: The shedding phase is a temporary inconvenience that typically lasts only a few days. Remember that each treatment brings you closer to your desired results; the shedding stage is a sign that the treatment works. 


In conclusion, the shedding phase is normal during laser hair removal, and worrying about it is unnecessary. By comprehending the reasons behind its occurrence and implementing appropriate measures, you can reduce its effects and experience the enduring benefits of laser hair removal. With each treatment, you’ll observe a decline in hair growth, and as time passes, the shedding phase will become less prominent.

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