For many people excess hair is a reality that seems to be inescapable. Unwanted and excess hair can be removed in many ways but the most effective and permanent is via laser. Now anybody can experience the beauty of hair-free skin with laser treatments being offered by plastic surgeons. If unwanted or excess hair is a concern, you are probably a good candidate for laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal has been in use on an experimental basis for decades, finally becoming available for commercial use in the late 1990s. . It is now widely recognized as a functional technique for hair removal by and is practiced in clinics worldwide. It provides a quick, affordable solution to remove hair without any side effects or damage to the skin.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is the elimination of unwanted or excess hair by way of exposure to laser light. The laser sends the light beam through the skin and the heat generated by the beam destroys the hair follicle, slowing new hair growth.
There are multiple laser types that can be used in hair removal and other procedures. Dr. Hervé Gentile uses the Light Sheer Diode Laser, which is one of the most versatile lasers in treating unwanted or excess hair. Not only is it able to treat a broader range of skin types than most other hair removal lasers, it also allows large areas of skin to be treated quickly and painlessly. It is both sensitive, for areas like a woman’s face, and robust, for areas like a man’s back.
A study presented to the FDA showed a permanent hair reduction of 89% in the patients treated. After only two treatments, approximately half of the patients had a permanent hair reduction of 50%, with some experiencing permanent hair removal.
According to the FDA, ‘permanent hair reduction’ is the long-term, stable reduction in hair growth after a treatment regime. For this reason, we consider Laser Hair Removal as a semi-permanent solution to excess or unwanted hair.
Candidates for Laser Hair Removal
Candidates for Laser Hair Removal are both male and female and often have unsightly or excessive hair growth in unwanted places. Typical female patients have unwanted hair on their faces, necks, bikini lines, underarms, legs and arms. Male patients have unwanted hair in the ears, on their backs, posterior neck, hands, feet, fingers and toes. The most dramatic results occur for patients who have dark hair with a fair complexion. All patients will experience results, but for some, they will not be as dramatic. Dr. Gentile can determine whether an alternate technique will be more effective based on the area you’d like to have treated and the texture and color of your hair.
What to expect during the consultation
During your consultation, Dr. Hervé Gentile will examine the problem areas and decipher whether your skin tone and hair color will best respond to Laser Hair Removal or another technique. After your first treatment and recovery, the doctor can see how responsive your hair is to the laser treatments. This will determine how many additional treatments are required for your treatment area, skin, and hair type.
Procedure & Care
Because hair grows in phases, several laser sessions are required to fully treat an area. This is due to the fact that a laser can only affect hair that is growing actively, or in the growth phase. The hair’s three phases are growth, regression, and resting. At any given time the majority of our body hair is in the active growth phase. Repeated sessions will treat the other follicles when they re-enter the growth phase. Three or more sessions are usually needed, spaced weeks or months apart.
Several treatments have resulted in long term reduction of unwanted or excess hair. The number of treatments needed is determined by Dr. Gentile and will vary depending on the size of the area being treated. Other factors that effect results are skin color, coarseness of hair, and color of hair. Laser treatments are not as effective on patients with light-colored or fine hair. The treatments work the best for dark, coarse hair on lighter skin. This is due to the fact that the laser responds to melatonin, which is responsible for the coloring/pigmentation of skin and hair. Dr. Gentile’s laser also has an affinity for the small vessels around the hair bulb and therefore it destroys the bulb and the follicle with two different actions. Because of this laser is also used to treat spyder veins especially in the face.
Usually, the shedding of the treated hairs occurs about two weeks following treatment. Patients should allow for the hairs to fall out on their own, rather than manipulating or forcing them. This will help to avoid any infections and will also improve the results of the treatment.
To prepare your skin for Laser Hair Removal you must avoid sunbathing/tanning, waxing, hormone treatments, birth control pills, and any skin irritants for at least 6 weeks before treatment to avoid skin any discoloration. The procedure takes from a few minutes to one hour depending on how many sites need treatment. The area will turn pink or red within thirty minutes and remain so for a few hours. You can return to your regular activities immediately after the treatment.
IPL or Intense pulsed light, uses xenon flash lamps that emit broad-spectrum light. This light is applied to the surface of the skin and targets the hair shafts or bulbs of the hair. As the light is absorbed, the bulb and most of the hair shaft are heated, which destroys the follicle’s ability to produce hair. In addition to hair removal, IPL is used by practitioners to treat dermatologic diseases, and for photorejuvination. Unlike the laser, IPL generates wider pulses of light, covering a larger diameter, which is beneficial for big target areas. However, IPL systems have not proven as successful for removal of hair.
Electrolysis has been used for over 135 years and can be used to remove 100% of all hair from an area, regardless of its color or pigmentation. It involves the use of electrical current and, if used at an adequate power level, even fine blonde hairs can be eliminated. Hair re-growth may occur in areas that are prone to hormone induced hair growth such as a woman’s chin or neck. The electrolysis device destroys the hair with heat energy. The hair then has to be extracted with tweezers. Depending on the patient, several electrolysis treatments are needed. Unwanted hair is permanently gone after multiple treatments are applied. Each treatment generally lasts from 15 minutes up to one hour but it can be very painful.
There are two currents used in electrolysis. Galvanic current, which requires 30 seconds to one minute to release each hair, and thermolysis, or a blend of both currents, which takes far less time to release the hair. Because there are many electrolysis machines, it is helpful to inquire about the machine that your practitioner uses so that you can determine if the treatments will take longer.
Waxing is a semi-permanent solution to unwanted or excess hair. After a waxing procedure, patients will not see new hair growth for up to 4-6 weeks. There are two different approaches to waxing, which are listed below.
This wax is applied thinly to the skin and a piece of paper or cloth is smoothed over the wax. The paper or cloth is then quickly removed, which can be painful and can cause irritation.
This wax is applied directly to the skin in a thick layer, without a strip or cloth and dries as it cools. The wax is then pulled off and the hair is removed with it. This wax is said to be better for people with more sensitive skin, as it doesn’t adhere to the skin as much.
Laser hair removal costs vary depending on the size of the area to be treated and the number of treatments required for permanent hair reduction.. As explained above, this varies from patient to patient. Dr. Gentile will determine a price for your treatment after your consultation and after you post treatment results are evaluated.
About Dr. Herve Gentile
Dr. Gentile is a plastic surgeon based in Corpus Christi, Texas. His experience is extensive and his specialties include both surgical and non-surgical techniques. His knowledge of Laser Hair Removal allows him to determine the best ways to eliminate unwanted or excess hair for his patients. Dr. Gentile was one of the first and has been offering laser hair removal since the late 90s. Should you be suffering with unwanted or excess hair, please call (361) 881- 9999 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gentile.