Is permanent hair removal possible?
Sari, age 31 asks – What is the best hair removal product? I want to permanently get rid of hair.
Irene, age 24 asks – Someone told me you shouldn’t pluck a hair if it’s on a mole. Is that true?
These are important questions and since they are related, I like to answer them together:
For many men and women, unwanted hair can be a nightmare. Getting rid of it can be painful. Until recently the only options for removing unwanted hair were smelly hair removal creams, sharp razors, stinging wax or painful electrolysis needles. Fortunately, advances in IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) as well as laser technology allowed patients to obtain long lasting results making these devices the “best hair removal products” available today.
How do IPL and laser work?
IPL and laser work by emitting pulses of intense light into the hair follicles. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the follicles and converted to heat that loosens the hair and disables the cells responsible for growing new hair. Most hair removed will not grow back at all.
What are the benefits of IPL or laser hair removal?
Larger areas may be treated using IPL or laser than with electrolysis, waxing or tweezing. The technology combines the speed of shaving with the lasting results promised only by IPL and lasers.
What is expected after treatment?
Most people experience some mild redness and tenderness in the treated area shortly after treatment. This does not interfere with normal activities and usually subsides within a day. In some cases, the redness may last longer, but will still be mild and temporary.
What are the differences between laser and Intense Pulsed Light treatments?
IPL systems and lasers are very similar and remove hair in basically the same way. IPL systems emit multiple wavelengths of light whereas lasers only emit one.
What body areas can be treated?
Any area, except around the eyes. The underarms, legs, back, bikini line, face, neck, etc., can be treated fast. Even the hair that is growing from the mole can be treated. Irene asked about plucking hair from the mole. In most case there is no problem but we need to remember that plucking, being a traumatic mechanical way of removing hair, can cause some injury, inflammation, swelling and possibly infection. I would recommend cleaning the areas gently with soap before and after plucking and applying small amount of antibiotic ointment.
How many treatments are needed?
The number of treatments required for optimal benefits depends on the area the patient wishes to have treated, the hair density and hair's growth cycle. Age, ethnicity, weight, hormones, diet, medication and metabolism all play a part in hair's location, thickness and resilience. Generally, patients need 6 to 8 treatments to achieve their results.
Are there any possible side effects?
Side effects are rare but patients may experience some slight reddening or local swelling at the treatment site. This typically goes away within hours or a few days. On rare occasions, some blistering or bruising may occur, but typically resolves quickly. Also, the skin can become darker or lighter following treatment, but will generally return to normal within a few weeks to 6 months. Limiting sun exposure before and after each treatment will minimize the risk of complications. It is very important that the treatments be supervised by a medical doctor to minimize the chances of side effects.