Getting Rid of Your Unwanted Hair
- Posted on: Apr 15 2018
Shaving would not be on anyone’s list of favorite pastimes. Well, maybe your 15-year-old son doing it for the first time, but he’ll get over that soon enough! Regardless of sex or age, the prospect of taking a sharp piece of metal and dragging it across your face, legs, or armpits seems somewhat barbaric.
Of course, if you’re a woman, you resort to some even more painful alternatives to shaving: waxing, plucking and assaulting your skin with napalm-esque depilatory creams.
And after you submit to this torture, your hair returns in a couple of weeks regardless. Wouldn’t it be great to say goodbye hair for good?
You can start with laser hair removal at Musick Dermatology. Our patients enjoy up to 90 percent of the hair in the treated area going the way of the passenger pigeon, i.e., permanently gone! Here’s how it works.
How does the laser get rid of the hair?
Some people incorrectly assume that the laser energy somehow cuts the hair, kind of like a James Bond movie, but Goldfinger only tries to cut each of 007’s hairs! However, if the laser cut the hairs, it would be no different than shaving, and the hair would return. What’s key is to damage the body’s ability to grow the hair in the treatment area. This involves two keys — laser energy and the hair follicle. For permanent hair removal, the hair follicle’s bulb, bulge, and papilla must be destroyed.
The vehicle is laser energy. We calibrate the laser to the wavelength where the melanin in the hair will absorb the laser energy. When the laser energy is delivered to the target area, the melanin absorbs the energy. It converts to heat and travels down the hair shaft into the follicle. When it reaches the follicle the heat damages the follicle so that it cannot produce hair. Sometimes, if the follicle isn’t fully disabled, hair growth function can return in a few months.
Timing is important
As with most things in life, timing is everything for laser hair removal. People wonder why you can’t zap the hair once and have it gone forever, but the timing has to be right. Only actively growing hair responds well to laser treatments because the hair is still anchored into the follicle. But in addition to the anagen (active growth) phase, there is telogen (transitional), and cathagen (hair ejection/resting) phases. The human body has around five million hair follicles; men have a few hundred thousand more than women. All of those hairs are in different phases at different times. Plus, different areas of the body have more hairs in anagen phases than others, because hair growth is more important in those areas.
That’s why it takes multiple laser hair removal sessions to get the maximum hair reduction. Every person who comes in for laser hair removal at Musick is different, but in general, you can expect to need between four and eight treatments, spaced six to 12 weeks apart. These numbers vary by the body location of the unwanted hair. Also, some areas grow hair more densely. Compare, for instance, a man’s beard area with chest hair.
Posted in: Laser Hair Removal