Excessive hair growth is classified as either hypertrichosis or hirsuitism. 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 and waxing, but these methods are temporary and offer varying degrees of success.
Laser hair removal is a technique that uses beams of highly concentrated light to penetrate the hair follicles. The light is absorbed by pigment in the hair follicles and destroys the hair within the follicle. Next to Botox injections, laser hair removal is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the U.S. Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, arm, underarm, and bikini line as well as other areas where unsightly hair is a problem.
Benefits of laser hair removal include:
*It is precise. Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
*It has speed. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour.
*It is more permanent. Ninety percent of patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to five sessions and the hair that regrows following treatment tends to be lighter and finer in texture.
While there are other methods, likely less expensive, these are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering laser hair removal.
*Shaving removes hair immediately. But it grows back. Some people think shaving makes hair darker and coarser.
*Waxing or using hair remover formulas removes hair much like shaving. The result seems a little smoother, and regrowth may take a little longer. But hair will grow back because hair growth is influenced by hormones for both men and women, by age, and by your genes. Waxing and shaving can cause a condition called folliculitis, which is an infection that looks like a small pimple around your hair follicle. Ingrown hairs can also occur when the hair grows back down just under the skin and can cause irritation too.
*Electrolysis is sometimes used for this, but is very painful and not all that effective. A hair-thin metal probe is inserted into the hair follicle that delivers electricity to destroy the hair-producing cells. Scarring can oftentimes develop from this procedure.
*Plucking simply pulls the hairs out. They grow back. Your eyebrows are a good example of hair regrowth after plucking.
*Threading-which is an ancient art of hair removal originating in India is another method of plucking hair. Scarring, infections and reactions frequently develop from this treatment.
“Laser Hair Removal: Benefits, Side Effects, and Cost.” WebMD. WebMD, 03 Jan. 0000. Web. 14 May 2012.