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Nicole Hayre, MD
Tired of Shaving?
Cosmetic Dermatology Center
. http://www.cosmetic-dermatology-center.com

Tired of Shaving?

It is interesting how important hair is in most societies worldwide. On some areas of the body the lack of hair can be devastating, while on other areas, the overabundance of hair can be equally bothersome. Somehow throughout the centuries, society has placed pressure on us to have the right amount of hair in the right places, even if it is “unnatural”, such as women having hairless underarms, legs, and/or bikini area. For men the desired amount of body hair can vary quite a bit.
What everyone does have in common, is that they must repeatedly shave, wax, or pluck undesired hair. Or does hair removal have to take up so much time? More and more people are discovering the benefits of having permanent hair reduction through laser hair removal.

What is laser hair removal?

There are many lasers and intense pulsed light devices on the market which may be used to permanently reduce the amount of hair growth. They are all designed to work using the scientific principle of “selective photothermolysis”. This principle basically states that certain wavelengths of light will be absorbed by certain targets. In the case of hair removal, the target is the pigment in the hair bulb below the surface of the skin. Once it is disrupted, the hair either grows back lighter and finer, making it less noticeable, or it does not recover, and a hair is no longer produced. The more treatments one has, the greater the amount of hairs that will not grow back.

Which laser or Intense Pulsed Light device will work for you?

Since these devices work by targeting pigment, in theory the ideal situation for these treatments would be to have heavily pigmented hair, and no pigment in any other structures of the skin. The closest situation to this is fair skin with dark hair. For those who fall into this category, almost any hair removal device in the hands of a competent technician will give you good results. For those who have both a brown skin tone and brown or black hair, not all hair removal devices are created equally. Since the goal is to target the pigment in the hair follicle without destroying the pigment in the surrounding skin (which would leave the skin with light patches), only certain devices using longer wavelengths of light may be used safely. Unfortunately for those who have blonde hair, there are still no good laser treatments since the hair lacks a good target for the light. The good news is that many companies are working on developing a solution to this problem.

What are treatments like? Do they hurt?

Any treatment plan should be developed by a board-certified physician, preferably one who is an expert in skin. Your treatment plan will include your pre-treatment instructions which usually consist of avoiding suntans, waxing and plucking, and the determination of which type of device is appropriate for you. When it comes time for your treatment, the area should be shaved, and is treated with some sort of cooling device in order to help protect the skin. When the device is fired, it feels like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. Afterward, the area may feel as though you have a slight sunburn. This feeling usually lasts for less than a day. Over the following three weeks the hairs will appear as though they are growing as they make their way out of the skin. No matter which treatment device is used, multiple treatments are required.

Which areas of the body can be treated?

Any area of the body, except for the eyebrows, may be treated to reduce the amount of hair growth. If you have been thinking about having hair removal treatments, see a board-certified physician for an evaluation. If you do have hair removal treatments, you will not miss shaving at all.

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