Unwanted Facial Hair

Physical Treatments

Physical treatments hirsutism include electrolysis and laser therapy. While they are effective, they can be expensive, and the efficacy can vary according to the expertise of the person performing the treatment.

Electrolysis

This method uses a very fine needle inserted into the hair follicle. A pulse of electric current is then passed through the needle to the hair which destroys the root. Each hair is removed individually, so it is time consuming and painful and requires repeat treatments.

The results will depend on the expertise of the person performing the electrolysis.

There is a risk of scarring and sometimes infection. It is best used for small areas.

Laser - high intensity high energy single wave length of light

Laser hair removal uses a red light or any wavelength which is absorbed by black or brown pigments.

Lasers such as the long pulse Alexandrite laser (GentleLASE) or the long pulse YAG laser (LYRA) target the pigment in the base of the hair follicle. The absorption of the laser energy is confined to the pigment, self-damaging the hair root but not the surrounding skin. This process is called selective photo-thermolysis. The laser energy passes through the entire skin.

In order to protect the surface of the skin, cooling devices and cooling sprays are used. This protects against changes of pigment that may occur following treatment.

Intense pulsed light therapy can also be used. Instead of a single wavelength of light, a noncoherent band of high power light is used.

Laser therapy requires several treatments. Before each treatment the hair is trimmed or shaved. It will not be plucked or waxed as the melanin target which is the hair root has to be present or the laser light to be absorbed. A treatment for the upper lip will take about a minute whereas a leg may take 20 minutes.

Lasers work best for if you have fair skin and dark hair. Permanent hair reduction and in some cases permanent removal is possible. Be wary of centers that promise a guarantee of permanent removal, as it is not always possible.

Hair on the upper lip and particularly on the chin need many treatments as they are in very hormone sensitive parts of the skin. Some chin hair may not be fully removed. The fine vellus hair, which can be extensive on the cheeks of menopausal and older women, does not respond well to laser therapy.

While laser treatment can be expensive, it can be cost effective. One of the advantages of laser therapy over electrolysis is that much larger areas of unwanted hair can be treated.

Because treatments are painful, local anaesthetic creams can be very helpful.

Short-term side-effects can include scarring, blistering and pigmentation changes, however they occur less frequently if appropriate laser parameters are used. It is advisable to try the laser on a small test area, to find the most appropriate settings, before you begin the full treatment.

The most important factor is that the correct laser is used in the right situation and at the appropriate power setting.

NOT ALL LASER TREATMENTS NEED TO BE PERFORMED BY A DOCTOR BUT IT IS ADVISABLE THAT THE TREATMENT BE ADMINISTERED IN A FACILITY WHEN THERE IN A DOCTOR ACTUALLY PRESENT AT THE CLINIC

Treatment of Hirsutism:

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