Body hair is normal, but some people have more than others. Depending on your personal preferences or the time of year, consider hair removal for cosmetic reasons. Hair removal procedures can be an excellent investment, helping you avoid the ongoing need to shave or wax the affected area. Unwanted hair can require ongoing maintenance to keep it shaved or trimmed. But different hair procedures can be used to reduce or eliminate hair growth in the treatment area. These treatments can get rid of hair for weeks, months, or even years. If you are thinking about hair removal, it’s a great time to talk to a provider to learn more about treatment options.
What is Hair Removal?
Hair removal treatments effectively eliminate unwanted hair from target areas of the body. Many people choose hair removal for both practical and aesthetic reasons. Some hair removal methods, such as shaving, simply cut off the hair at the surface of the skin. Either a razor or electric shaver can be used to cut the hair. But the hair grows back within a few days. Waxing or tweezing removes hair at the root, but it still grows back in a few weeks. On the other hand, hair removal treatments target the root where the hair grows. When these hair follicles are treated, it can either temporarily or permanently stop or slow hair growth, giving a patient longer-term results.
Doctors have discovered that body hair usually takes about a month to grow to its full length. The rate of growth, location, and thickness of the body hair depends on individual factors. For example, genetics play a role in body hair growth. Also, men tend to grow more body hair than women, and male hair tends to grow faster. Other factors such as nutrition, age, and medication use can also influence hair growth. Depending on your personal preferences, as well as age, genetics, and more, will influence how often hair removal procedures are needed. Talk to a hair removal specialist to learn about the various procedures that match your unique needs and preferences.
Common Types of Hair Removal?
When choosing the type of hair removal you prefer, it’s important to consider the desired results, individual preferences, and skin sensitivity. Common types of hair removal include waxing, shaving, threading, electrolysis, and laser hair removal.
Laser Hair Removal
This treatment is a popular option for people who want hair removal that lasts for a long time. The laser targets the melanin pigment in the hair follicles, with the goal of damaging the follicles so they stop growing hair. Multiple treatments are required, spaced a few weeks apart, in order to treat the different layers of hair.
Laser hair removal is one of the best solutions for long-lasting results. Even though it requires multiple sessions, patients notice a difference in the early stages of treatment because the hair becomes thinner and thinner over time. Eventually, hair is eliminated, so you don’t need to worry about shaving or waxing.
This treatment targets individual hair follicles so unwanted hair can be removed permanently. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a fine needle into the hair follicle, then a small electric current is applied into the follicle. This treatment destroys the root of the hair to prevent regrowth.
The good news is that electrolysis can be used on all parts of the body, and it is an effective treatment for all skin and hair types. Electrolysis isn’t as common as laser hair removal, but it is a possible treatment option depending on your unique needs and longer-term goals. Your doctor can help you determine whether laser hair removal or electrolysis is the best treatment.
Shaving, Threading, and Waxing
Other surface-level hair removal treatments are available, including shaving, waxing, and threading. The drawback to these treatments is that they only provide temporary results. So, hair removal will need to be repeated over and over again.
Shaving only cuts the hair at the surface of the skin. But the hair follicle continues to grow, which means that the hair returns within a day or a few days (depending on the rate of hair growth).
Threading, tweezing, and waxing offer results that last a little longer, but these treatments are only effective for a few weeks. These hair removal procedures pull the hair from the root, but eventually, the root will start growing the hair once again.
What Causes Hair Removal?
Most people choose hair removal because of personal preferences for aesthetic reasons. Cultural norms can also play a role in why a person chooses hair removal procedures. Other motivating factors include practical reasons, such as sports performance, hygiene, or medical conditions.
The most common reason for people to choose hair removal treatments is because they don’t like the appearance of having body hair. Specific cultural beauty standards promote hair removal. Also, people often find that hair-free skin is more aesthetically pleasing. Hair removal is considered a cosmetic treatment because aesthetic improvements are the goal.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Another reason why people choose hair removal is because of a desire to maintain cleanliness. Hair located in the underarms or bikini area can contribute to smell because of sweat and body odor accumulation in the hair. Removing the hair makes it easier to keep these parts of the body clean and odor-free.
Professional athletes need every edge to improve their performance, and hair removal is one thing that helps to reduce drag and enhance performance. Also, some athletes find using sports-related equipment without body hair easier, especially in sports such as cycling or swimming.
In rare cases, hair removal is a medical necessity. Certain medical conditions cause excessive hair growth, such as hirsutism. So, patients need hair removal treatments to reduce emotional distress from the condition and also manage symptoms. Another medical reason for hair removal is as part of pre-surgical preparation to provide better access for the surgeon.
Procedures That Remedy Hair Removal
When choosing hair removal treatment, you must consider the overall results you desire and the type of treatment that matches your individual preferences. Remember that some treatments, such as shaving and waxing, only offer temporary results. But longer-term results can be achieved with in-office procedures.
Laser Hair RemovalFind doctors who offer Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is an effective solution for results that last for years. This non-invasive procedure targets intense light on the hair follicles, causing the follicles to stop growing hair due to damage to the follicles. The energy from the laser is absorbed into the hair pigment, which causes damage to inhibit future hair growth. Multiple treatments are necessary, spaced a few weeks apart.
IPL TreatmentFind doctors who offer IPL Treatment
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a technology that uses broad-spectrum light for targeting and damaging hair follicles. The light energy is aimed at the treatment area, and the light is absorbed into the pigment of the hair and follicle. As a result, it damages the follicles to prevent hair growth in the future. Multiple sessions are required to achieve the desired results.
This hair removal procedure uses a fine needle placed into each hair follicle, then an electric current is applied to damage the follicle and prevent hair production. Electrolysis is a little more intensive since it requires treating each follicle individually. So, some providers recommend laser hair removal over electrolysis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are hair removal procedures safe?
Yes, many hair removal procedures are considered generally safe. In order to ensure safety, make sure you are receiving these treatments from trained professionals following the recommended usage and guidelines. The experience and qualifications of the doctor or provider are the most important factors when choosing hair removal services. As with any treatment, there are potential side effects or risks. Laser hair removal and electrolysis are low-risk but could potentially cause skin burns, discoloration, or pain. Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking or medical conditions that might increase your risk of side effects from the treatment.
How long do the results from hair removal treatments last?
The duration of your results depends on the type of hair removal that you choose. Only temporary results are available from treatments like shaving because the hair grows back in just a few days. Waxing and threading last a little longer – usually a few weeks before hair regrowth occurs. The longest-lasting results come from more intensive hair removal treatments that target the follicle of the hairs. Examples include laser hair removal and electrolysis. Keep in mind that these treatments don’t deliver immediate results. Instead, you need to stay consistent with multiple sessions to treat the hair as it grows in various stages. Over time, the hair becomes sparser and finer.
How should I prepare for a hair removal treatment?
Preparation depends on the type of hair removal procedure. General guidelines include avoiding sun exposure before the appointment in order to reduce the risk of complications. In most cases, avoiding bleaching, plucking, or waxing the hair for six weeks before the treatment is necessary. You need to preserve the pigment and root of the hair to be targeted using the IPL or laser hair removal technology. You might be instructed to shave the treatment area the night before your appointment. Talk to your provider about the type of treatment you are planning and the specific steps you should follow before the treatment.
What are the most common side effects from hair removal procedures?
Side effects vary depending on the type of hair removal treatment you choose. Most of the time, side effects are mild but might include temporary skin irritation, redness, or increased sensitivity. Specific hair removal methods, such as shaving or waxing, can increase the likelihood of ingrown hairs in the treatment area. More intensive hair removal treatments, such as laser hair removal or electrolysis, might cause skin discoloration, mild discomfort, and even a little bit of swelling. The side effects are typically temporary and will go away within a few days. The best way to avoid these side effects is by choosing an experienced professional who will perform the services for you.