Permanent body hair removal methods are usually more expensive and more complicated to perform. Usually they are not performed at home, but rather require a visit to a specialist in hair removal. This page provides information on the most common permanent hair removal methods.
Removal of hair with a laser is one of the newer methods. It is effective on all types of body hair, but in particular excellent results are achieved for the face, neck, and armpit areas. Unlike electrolysis, more than one follicle can be treated at a time.
There are a variety of different lasers that may be selected for the permanent body hair removal. Which type of laser is used depends on several factors: hair color, hair type, and skin color. If using a Nd:YAG laser, the process involves preparation such as pre-waxing the area to be treated and application of a carbon pigment. The pigment is absorbed by the hair follicle and the laser is able to target only the follicle area with laser radiation and not the surrounding skin. The follicle is heated and this leads to a disabling of the follicle, which retards new hair growth. For newer lasers, such as ruby or alexandrite, no lotion or pre-waxing is required. The lasers target the pigment already in the follicle with pulses of intense light to heat and disable it. Once again very little damage occurs to the surrounding skin areas.
Normally a series of treatments (up to six) are required to achieve the desired results. This hair removal treatment is basically permanent although hair can grow back. When it does, it is very light in color and fine in texture. On average, individuals may have to return for new treatments every six to twelve months.
Laser hair removal works best with individuals with thick body hair and individuals with dark hair on fair skin. It can be more problematic for darker skinned people and individuals with fair, red, or grey hair.
Laser permanent body hair removal should be performed by an experienced dermatologist or licensed professional. It is an expensive treatment that can cost up to several thousand dollars for larger areas such as the back. Minor discomfort is usually associated with this permanent body hair removal treatment, along with possible darkening or lightening of the skin, skin redness and possible scarring. Sunlight should be avoided until the healing is complete.
Electrolysis is the closest that one can get to permanent hair removal. It is a technique that is suitable for hair on all parts of the body.
This treatment for removing hair permanently can be performed in two ways. In the needle epilator method, a fine wire needle is inserted into the hair follicle. A low electric current is then sent into the hair follicle to destroy the root and disable any future hair growth. This permanent body hair removal method can be painful and can cause skin damage if not performed properly. Pain numbing gels can be used prior to treatment to ease the discomfort of the procedure.
The other electrolysis method is the tweezer epilator. In this case, tweezers clamp down onto the hair and an electric current is then applied. The current travel down the hair shaft to the root and once again the root is destroyed. This method is less painful because no needle is involved.
Electrolysis is considered a permanent body hair removal method unless the root is not completed destroyed. A series of treatments over several months is needed to eliminate hairs in different stages of development.
This permanent body hair removal technique is expensive and time consuming. Each hair follicle is treated individually and several minutes per hair may be required. It is recommended that an experienced professional performs this process.
Side effects for this method of permanent hair removal can include minor swelling, redness, or scarring that usually disappears within a few days. Infection is possible in the needle treatment and skin pigmentation problems can occur. If the process is not performed properly, skin damage and electric shock are possible.
For home use, low voltage machines are available. An example of a popular home electrolysis product can be found here.
There are various pharmaceuticals such as estrogens, Lupron/Leuprolide, Cyproterone (Androcur), Diane 35, Flutamide (Euflex, Eulexin), and Casodex that have shown the ability to reduce body hair.
One of the most common hair inhibitors is Vaniqa, which is an FDA approved prescription topical cream. Its main use is to slow down hair growth on the face. The cream is slow acting and requires application twice a day. Results become evident after four to eight weeks, but full results do not occur until about 16 weeks of continuous use. The cream must be used regularly to maintain the effects, although if the use of the cream is discontinued, hair growth will still be stalled for up to eight weeks.
In terms of side effects, allergic reactions are always a possibility and therefore spot testing is recommended. Other problems may include redness, stinging, rash, acne, and increased facial aging since Vaniqa inhibits the skin’s repair mechanism.
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