Hair can grow in very many different parts of the body, some wanted and most unwanted. Hair can appear on the face, chin, back, chest, legs, armpits, feet, fingers, toes, feet and all else in between and the least that can be said about hair that grows in unwanted parts of the body such as the face or back is that it is very annoying.
What causes excessive growth of hair?
Excessive growth of hair is classified as hirsutism or hypertrichosis whereby the latter is the presence or too much hair growing in an abnormal or normal pattern. This condition could be inherited or as a result of the use of medications, as a result of malnutrition, hormonal imbalances in the body, metabolic reactions and presence of tumors. The former on the other hand is the availability of hair in ladies exhibited in a pattern that is mostly seen in men such as mustache, beard, or lower abdomen. The cause of hirsutism could be attributed to hormonal imbalances in the body, tumors, medications, or could also be inherited.
Ways of Hair Removal
There are several ways in which one can get unwanted hair removed such as plucking, shaving, radiofrequency tweezers, electronic tweezers, depilatories (creams), waxing, and electrolysis (the process of inserting a needle beneath a single hair follicle strand and passing an electric spark that burns each hair follicle). It is to be mentioned however that most of the abovementioned methods offer only temporary solutions. Another common way in which people use to remove unwanted hair is by using topical creams which equally offer temporary results and which must be used on a continuous basis. One method though that has proven effective in giving permanent relief from unwanted hair growth is through laser procedure.
How laser hair removal treatment works
Basically, a laser sends some low-voltage beam via the skin which is then absorbed by melanin available in the hair follicle shaft. Because hair tends to cycle as it continues to grow, you will find that continued laser treatment will be needed to get rid of around 80% of the hairs.
Laser Pretreatment Instructions
Before commencing any laser treatment procedure, you are advised to avoid any tanning and all sunless tanners. In place you are advised to use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen that has a SPF of 30 or high. Prior to laser treatment, you are advised to avoid any other technique of hair removal be it waxing, plucking, or electrolysis. However, you can use depilatory creams or shave the hair. The body part to be treated via laser should be saved at least two days before treatment and your doctor could recommend using a prophylactic oral antiviral medication a day before treatment. This medication is meant to stifle the odds of developing a herpes simplex infection on the body part area where treatment is done. If you are seeking o remove hair from the perianal or nasal areas, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic.
Actual Laser Treatment
On the material day, the body area should be thoroughly cleaned and shouldn’t contain any cosmetics; your dermatologist may apply a topical cream that acts as an anesthesia on the body area in question. You will however find that thanks to advancement in technology, most lasers today have this cooling device that comes as a refrigerant spray, a cooling gel, or a water-cooled contact piece that reduces your level of discomfort. This cooling device is basically meant to protect your skin from too much heating and reduce the chances of the skin lightening or darkening because of the procedure. All people in the room where the treatment is taking place are advised to put on protective eyewear.
Generally, you will need a minimum of 3 treatments for it to be effective in getting rid of hair growth permanently. As your doctor will advice you, dark hair tends to respond better than light colored hair but in an effort to enhance the receptiveness to treatment, dermatologists recommend the use of topical medications for people with light hair types.
Side Effects of laser treatment for hair removal
- Erythema (inflammation and redness on the area) that lasts for up to 3 days
- Perifollicular edema (unexplained swelling around the hair follicle because of excess fluid)
- An outbreak of the herpes simplex
- Occurrence of bacterial infections
- Temporary skin darkening or lightening particularly in people with dark skins or in people who have had a recent skin tan
- Lightening or darkening of tattoos
Laser Hair Efficacy
The number of hairs removed on each laser hair treatment session varies significantly from one person to another and from one body part to another. Areas where there is thin skin such as under the arms (armpits) and the bikini area tend to respond positively than in areas of thick skin such as on the chin and on the back. Circa 10-25% hair growth reduction should be expected of each laser hair treatment.