Unwanted facial and body hair is a common problem that can be a source of distress for both men and women.
Excessive hair growth is classified as either hypertrichosis or hirsutism.
- Hypertrichosis is the excessive growth of body hair in a normal or abnormal pattern. It may be genetic or due to medications, hormones, malnutrition, tumors or metabolic problems.
- Hirsuitism is excessive growth of hair in women, but in a male pattern — such as the beard, mustache or lower abdomen and may be due to hormonal problems, medications, tumors or heredity.
Many treatment options for managing unwanted hair have been available over the years, such as shaving, waxing, bleaching, epilation, epilatory creams, electrolysis etc. but these methods are associated with adverse effects and have either temporary or offer varying degrees of success.
Other uses – Hair removal lasers are also proven and effective treatment for:
- Pseudofolliculitis barbae, commonly called “ingrown hairs” or “shaving bumps”.
- Pilonidal cysts which occur as painful swellings at the top of cleft between buttocks because of the ingrown hairs that produce troublesome foreign body reactions.
We use lasers and light sources to safely and effectively treat larger areas of unwanted hair with minimal patient discomfort and fewer complications than other hair-reduction methods.
The primary principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis (SPTL), the matching of a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to obtain optimal effect on a targeted tissue with minimal effect on surrounding tissue. Lasers can cause localized damage by selectively heating dark target matter, melanin, in the area that causes hair growth, the follicle, while not heating the rest of the skin. Light is absorbed by dark objects, so laser energy can be absorbed by dark material in the skin, but with much more speed and intensity. This dark target matter, or chromophore, can be naturally-occurring or artificially introduced.
Several wavelengths of laser energy have been used for hair removal, from visible light to near-infrared radiation. These lasers are characterized by their wavelength, measured in nanometers (nm):
- Argon: 488 nm (Turquoise/Cyan) or 514.5 nm (Green) – no longer used for hair removal
- Ruby laser: 694.3 nm (Deep Red) – only safe for patients with very pale or fair skin types.
- Alexandrite: 755 nm (Near-Infrared) – most effective for fair skin types and not safe on darker skin at effective settings.
- Pulsed diode array: 810 nm (Near-Infrared) – Effective for fair to medium skin types.
- Nd: YAG laser: 1064 nm (Near-Infrared) – Effective on all skin types. It is the laser of choice for treating dark skin types (Indian Skin).
Cooling of skin is done to allow higher fluences (energy parameters) and to reduce pain and side effects, especially in darker skin. Three types of cooling systems have been developed:
Contact cooling: through a window cooled by circulating water or other internal coolants – An inbuilt cooling system in the laser device
Cryogen spray: sprayed directly onto the skin immediately before and/or after the laser pulse
Air cooling: forced cold air at -34 degrees C through a separate cooling device
We are equipped with a number of laser technologies as well as cooling systems and can offer comprehensive treatment plan for all skin types and sites.
NUMBER OF SESSIONS
Hair grows in several phases (anagen, telogen, catagen) and a laser can only affect the currently active growing hair follicles (early anagen). Hence, several sessions are needed to kill hair in all phases of growth.
Multiple treatments depending on the type of hair and skin color have been shown to provide long-term reduction of hair. Most patients need a minimum of seven treatments. Current parameters differ from device to device but manufacturers and clinicians generally recommend waiting from three to eight weeks between sessions, depending on the area being treated. The number of sessions depends on various parameters, including the area of the body being treated, skin color, coarseness of hair, reason for hirsutism, and sex. Coarse dark hair on light skin is easiest to treat. Certain areas (notably men’s faces) may require considerably more treatments to achieve desired results.
Lasers, in general, do not work well on the light-colored hair, red hair, grey hair, white hair, as well as the fine hair of any color, called vellus hair. For darker skin patients with black hair, the long-pulsed Nd: YAG laser with a cooling tip can be safe and effective when used by an experienced practitioner.
Typically the shedding of the treated hairs takes about two to three weeks. These hairs should be allowed to fall out on their own and should not be manipulated by the patient.
WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW?
These procedures may be offered in informal settings such as shopping malls, spas, and walk-in clinics, but it’s important for patients to choose an experienced health care provider. Treatments should be performed by or under the direct supervision of a dermatologist or other physician who has appropriate training and expertise.
We have experience of different technologies in laser hair removal of more than one and a half decades, successfully treating wide variety of patients.
Some normal side effects may occur after laser hair removal treatments, including itching, pink skin, redness, and swelling around the treatment area or swelling of the follicles (follicular edema). These side effects rarely last more than two or three days. Other side effects are acne and skin discoloration which are mostly treatable by standard therapy and are never long-lasting.