It is important to note that all women have fine brown hairs called vellus hairs. These do not cause any cosmetic disability. When these vellus hairs get converted in to black, thick, terminal hairs it cause much embarrassment to a woman.
- For most people, this is due to genetic or familial factors. Hormone levels are normal in these women.
- At menopausal age,
- Certain drugs such as steroids, some hormonal preparations
- Underlying internal/hormonal disease.
- Hence it is important to investigate and rule out such underlying disease by Gynaecologist’s advice, blood hormone levels, ultrasound etc
PCOD Polycystic Ovarian Disease
PCOD or PCOS is a common hormonal disease in women which can cause hair growth. It also causes:
- Hair loss
- Menstrual problems
Methods of hair removal
- The temporary methods remove the hair shafts but leave the hair follicles and hair roots intact: shaving, waxing, application of depilatory creams and even plucking. Though cheap, these methods are time-consuming, repetitive and often lead to pigmentation and thickening of skin.
- The permanent methods remove the hair shafts and also result in destruction of the follicles and hair roots.
The hair consists of 2 major parts:
- Hair shaft – the visible part of our hair, which has no influence on the hair growth.
- Hair bulb – the part which is under the skin and influences the hair growth
There is no “communication” between the hair bulb and the hair shaft, hence shaving the hair has no impact on its growth
- Hair grows in a cycle of three phases: a pigment called melanin is present only in the growing stage
Melanin and Light Absorption
- When laser falls on hair, Melanin absorbs the laser light and heat is generated which destroys the hair. Heat is absorbed at different levels resulting in hair destruction.
- Because melanin is present only in the growing stage, only growing hairs (about 40%) are affected and are destroyed.
- Resting hairs are not destroyed and hence the procedure needs to be repeated after a month for the next generation of growing hair.
- Hence laser hair removal needs multiple sessions.
Do lasers cause permanent hair removal?
- Lasers DO cause selective destruction of hair follicles and achieve long-term hair reduction after multiple sessions of treatment.
- Side effects are rare and minor-such as redness and brown pigmentation of skin in a minority of patients.
- These are temporary and can be easily prevented by using appropriate precautions such as using sun blocks and depigmenting creams.
- Remember: Lasers DO NOT achieve hair destruction after one single treatment. Several sessions (between 4-8) are needed for significant hair reduction.
Are all lasers same?
- No, different laser systems may work differently for patients with different skin types and hence proper machine has to be chosen.
- Earlier lasers often caused pigmentation and redness-however, these side effects have been largely overcome in the newer machines.
- For Indian skins, Nd Yag laser, Intense pulse light and diode laser are suitable, safe and effective.
Are there any side effects?
- Mild redness of skin can occur-this can be prevented by using steroid creams. There are no long term sideffects. There is no scientific basis to the press reports that hair removal laser can cause cancer.
Will the hair grow again in future?
- This is the most common question asked by patients, perhaps because of the claims by advertisements about “permanent hair removal”.
- It is important to understand that laser is a cosmetic treatment to destroy the existing hair. It is not a treatment for prevention of future hair. If there is any underlying cause which converts vellus hair to terminal hair, future hair growth is possible. Hence it is important to rule out underlying cause in all cases.
- However, hair growth after laser , even if it occurs is slow, the hairs are finer and thinner and cosmetically less significant
- For this reason, proper scientific term for hair removal by laser used among dermatologists is “long term hair reduction” and not “permanent hair removal”.
How many sessions are needed?
- This varies from patient to patient, from area to area and is very variable.
- On an average 5-8 sessions are needed for mustache, cheek areas.
- 8-12 sessions are needed for chin and beard areas.
- Women with PCOS may need many more sessions and can not be predicted.
How to evaluate response?
- Response occurs in three ways:
- Some hairs disappear completely
- Some hairs grow back , but are slower
- Some hairs come back, but are thinner.
- So it is not a uniform improvement- but gradual and varied.
How frequently do you have to come?
- It depends on growth, area.
- Usually on face, the sessions are performed once in 4-5 weeks. However, as you take multiple sessions, hair growth slows down and sessions may then be done once in 6-8 weeks.
What are the post procedure instructions?
- Use sunscreens
- Avoid bleaching,
- Avoid any cosmetics for two days after laser.
Can laser hair removal be performed by technicians?
- In many clinics, beauticians are performing the procedure.
- However, in our clinic, only dermatologists perform the procedure. Dermatologists have the necessary training and scientific background to perform the procedure and also to manage the after effects if any and to study the underlying cause for excessive hairs .
LHE Hair Removal
Soon After laser-note blanched hairs
After one session
After Four Sessions