Hair removal has been practiced by men and women for centuries in form of shaving, waxing, threading, plucking, chemical depilation, electrolysis etc. The most significant and sophisticated advance has been the introduction of Laser Hair Reduction.
Why do I have excessive hair?
For most people, this is due to genetic or familial factors.
Excessive hair may be due to underlying medical problems. These conditions are associated with hormonal disturbances (e.g polycystic ovarian syndrome, androgen excess, thyroid disorders, etc) resulting in extra hair growth. Besides excessive hair, these patients have other signs and symptoms of hormonal disturbance such as weight gain, deepening of the voice, pimples, and menstrual irregularities.
Occasionally excessive hair can be due to use of certain medications such as ciclosporin A, potent topical steroid, self or spousal use of minoxidil.
Temporary Hair Removal Methods
This involves removal of hair only to level of skin. The hair quickly grows back. This includes use of manual or electrical devices such as shavers, trimmers etc. as well as use of depilatory creams which chemically dissolve the hair.
This involves removal of hair including the root. The hair grows back within days or weeks .This includes use of waxing, threading, plucking, mechanical devices which grasps the hair and pull them out.
- Permanent Hair Reduction Method
Laser hair removal is considered the best method of permanent hair reduction currently available. The procedure makes use of intense light source of specific wavelength to heat up and destroy hair follicle selectively. The laser energy is absorbed by the pigment within follicle and the heat generated in the process is enough to burn the hair follicle without causing much injury to surrounding tissues. Hair removal lasers include long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser(1064nm), long-pulsed Alexandrite laser(755nm) and Diode laser(810nm).
Common reasons for opting permanent hair reduction
- Beauty enhancement
- Finding temporary methods like shaving, plucking, threading , waxing bothersome
- Hirsutism ( excessive hair in females), related to hormonal imbalance
- Ingrowing hairs, causing skin inflammation
What must I do before the Laser Hair Removal?
Before the laser treatment, you should:
- Avoid waxing and plucking of hair
- Avoid excessive sun exposure before treatment
- Shave the hair prior to laser
- Anti viral medication may be needed if you have a history of recurrent herpes infection
How it is done?
The hair is shaved and skin is properly cleansed and then a contact cool gel is applied to the treatment area. The contact gel allows the laser handpiece to glide smoothly over the skin and allow the effective precooling of skin before laser fires. The treatment area is treated segment by segment. You will feel a mild heat during the procedure. A cold compress may be applied after the whole area has been treated.
Is it safe?
It is a very safe procedure. It should be performed by an experienced and qualified dermatologist.
Are there any side effects?
Procedure does not have any side effects however mild redness may occur after the treatment which gradually fades after few hours.
What are precautions after the procedure?
The most important thing to do after the procedure is to avoid unnecessary irritation or friction to the treated area. Avoid sun exposure for few days. There is no need for any special care although use of a gentle moisturizer helps to soothe the skin.
How many treatment sessions are needed and at what interval?
You will need multiple sessions of treatment averagely 5-7 sessions to achieve significant hair reduction. The follow up treatment intervals are usually between 6-8 weeks . Treatment can be repeated when regrowth occurs and this is dependent on the hair cycle and it varies according to the site .Usually 6 weeks is more typical for facial sites and 8 weeks for trunk and limbs.