Excessive hair growth can be caused by the hormonal shifts of puberty, pregnancy or menopause. You may also have unwanted hair growth patterns caused by heredity, medication, hormone replacement therapy, diseases or other reasons.
In any case, hair growing where you don’t want it to is a problem, no matter what the cause! Fortunately, Rebecca Fitzgerald MD can help. Please call our office in Los Angeles to learn about our laser treatments: (323) 430-9800.
Older, More Traditional Methods of Removing Hair
- Depilatories – hair dissolvers
- Epilators – mechanical devices that pull the hair from the skin
- Shavers – tedious and makes the hair appear thicker because the cut ends are now “flat”
- Waxing – potentially can cause scars or pigmentation
- Electrolysis – extremely time-consuming and slow process
The new way to solve unwanted hair problems is with laser and light therapies. Beyond the undesirable cosmetic issues, excess hair, especially excess facial hair, creates profound psychological effects.
Dr. Fitzgerald says, “I know full well that women who suffer from abnormal hair growth patterns aren’t just 'bothered' by their problem – they really do suffer!”
Hirsutism is a medical condition that is defined as the excessive growth of thick dark hair in locations where hair growth in women usually is minimal or absent. Such male-pattern growth of terminal body hair usually occurs in androgen-stimulated locations, such as the face, chest, and areolae (nipple area). Laser and light therapies successfully manage most excess hair growth issues, but some hormonally driven problems are better managed with topical products like Vaniqa.
How Do Hair Lasers Work?
Lasers produce highly focused, intense beams of light that are absorbed by dark pigments in the hair follicles beneath the skin’s surface. This causes a purposeful build-up of heat, destroying most of the follicles and preventing hair growth.
Multiple treatments are required for effective hair reduction because the hair follicle must be “active” at the time of treatment and not all follicles are active at the same time. There are no needles and no need for anesthesia. Most patients feeling nothing more than a slight sting like the snap of a rubber band.
Who Is the Best Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair treatments work best in lighter skinned, darker haired patients. Because the primary target in hair follicles is melanin pigment (the “color” in skin and hair), less laser energy is absorbed by the skin and more by the hair follicle. Tanned skin “robs” laser energy as it passes through the skin to the hair follicle.
Dr. Fitzgerald recommends that you refrain from tanning prior to hair laser treatments. Also, don’t use “spray-on” stocking products for several days prior since those products contain metallics that attract heat and can cause burns. Because the pigment in the hair is the target for the laser energy, gray or white hair (which lacks pigment) cannot be effectively treated with any laser or light-based device.
Darker skins are now safely treated with the a laser designed for tanned and darker skin tones without the risk of creating hyperpigmentation. Dr. Fitzgerald will select the appropriate laser to use for your hair color and skin type and color.
How Many Treatments Are Required?
Multiple laser treatments are necessary for best results. Laser energy has its greatest effect on growing, or anagen hair follicles; as the dormant, or telogen hairs become active, usually within 3 weeks to 3 months, some new hair growth will be observed.
Usually at least 3 treatments over the course of a year will be necessary for satisfactory, long-lasting results. The female face, armpits, and bikini lines are areas which respond fastest to laser treatments – backs, arms and legs usually need more treatments over time.
What About Side Effects?
Sometimes you may experience slight regrowth of some hair, though it is usually finer and lighter than what was originally removed. Slight reddening and local swelling of the skin, similar to a sunburn, may occur in some clients. These effects typically last 24 hours or less. In some instances, blistering may occur.
Burns and scarring are seen mostly in medically un-supervised “spa” or “medspa” locations. For your protection and safety, it’s wise to always make sure your treatment is being performed by a physician or physician-supervised nurse.
Will My Skin Become Totally Hair-Free?
Satisfaction with laser treatment for hair is very high overall. Most patients are thrilled with their results, even though there are nearly always some very fine or small hairs that are not permanently removed. The fine blonde or light hairs on the face won’t absorb laser light and are not affected. So the honest answer is no. In fact, skin heals with the help of the hair follicle so some retention of this fine hair growth is a plus should your skin ever be injured. You actually don’t want 100% hair-free skin.
If you live in Beverly Hills, Larchmont, or another community in the Los Angeles area and you'd like to learn more about advanced hair removal options, please contact Rebecca Fitzgerald online or call (323) 430-9800 today.