Appeared in the High Point Enterprise Medical Monitor, Sunday, February 25, 2001
Summer is just around the corner, and it is almost time to get out the bathing suit and head off to the pool or beach.
Unfortunately, for many women and men, this could be a source of embarrassment because of that unsightly hair in the wrong places.
Now it is time again to decide what to do. Shaving is time consuming and some people have to do it twice a day. It can also create a skin irritation and ingrown hairs.
Let’s look at solutions.
The Buzz Word
Temporary methods have gone from hot wax to sugar wax, which is a popular method offered in beauty salons and day spas.
Pulling the hair out can stimulate the blood supply around the root of the hair. In some cases when the hair returns, it is coarser and darker.
Another temporary method has been added on the list of hair removal this year which was recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration.
The buzz word is “Vaniqa”. Vaniqa is a topical cream manufactured by Gillette and Bristol-Myers Squibb. It is a prescription cream which is applied to the area of skin twice a day when unwanted hair is visible. The cream disables the hair follicle for as long as the cream is used. When the cream is discontinued, the hair will return. Vaniqa interfers with an enzyme found in the hair follicle of the skin needed for hair growth. This results in slower hair growth, but it is not a cure and does not permanently remove hair.
You will need to continue your normal procedures for hair removal until desired results have been achieved. Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should discuss this option with their physician.
The term “then there was light” took on new meaning when light based and laser induced hair removal was introduced in 1994.
Unfortunately, as with any new technology, the first is not always the best. This held true with a number of the first-generation lasers and light based systems.
Since then, many new advancements have been made and the technology has continued to improve.
In 1988 the FDA created a new termm “Permanent Hair Reduction” when giving marketing clearance to the newer technology. According to the FDA, “Permanent Hair Reduction is defined to be a significant loss of hair, which is quantitatively stable for a period longer than the complete hair growth cycle at a given body site.”
The light emitted by the laser is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) located in hair follicles (melanin pigments give hair its color) and hair shaft. For this reason, laser is not effective on white, gray or colorless hair because it does not contain pigment. So the darker the hair, the more effective the results.
Large areas, such as men’s backs and shoulders and women’s legs and arms, can be treated in under two hours. An average of six to seven treatments may be required to obtain the desired results.
Smaller areas, such as a woman’s upper lip, chin and underarms can be treated in less than fifteen minutes. An average of four to five treatments may be needed.
Results will vary with each individual and treatments are repeated every eight weeks for the first few treatments to catch the hair in the active growth cycle. As less hair is available, the treatment time becomes further apart.
Electrolysis is a process in which a fine sterile probe is inserted alongside the hair into the hair follicle.
A slight electrical current is applied through the probe which destroys the hair root. The hair releases and is removed with a sterile pair of tweezers. This skin is not harmed or punctured in any way, and for most people the entire procedure is less painful than tweezing.
If you are a more sensitive person, a topical anesthetic can be used to provide a more comfortable treatment. All hair colors can be treated and all skin tones.
Electrolysis provides a permenent solutions, however it is not an overnight solution. A series of treatments is required to treat all the hair in an area according to the hair growth cycle. Treatment time will depend on the area and amount of hair in each area.
For example, an upper lip or eyebrow area may require an average of 15 to 30 minutes per week at first, to clear the area. After than, repeated treatments of every other week or once a month for a minimum of 12 months, depending on the person.
A clean up treatment may be necessarty as the body may produce new hair with hormonal changes and age.
Whatever method you decide on to eliminate your unwanted hair, be sure to ask questions, go for a consultation and check out the training and credintials of your technician. Start today so you can enjoy a hair-free summer.