Laser hair removal is a great hair to remove unwanted body hair. Although it does not officially do so in a permanent way, it will reduce hair growth by up to 95%. The hair that may grow back after a treatment will be thinner and lighter. It may not need any attention at all. That is also why laser hair removal is great for patients with hirsutism.
Indeed, women with hirsutism experience excessive hair growth in areas where they would usually not grow hair. Such areas are the face, the chest and back. While waxing may look like an attractive solution, not only will the treatment always be painful but the hair will also always grow back. That is why laser hair removal is a great alternative solutionI.
What is hirsutism?
Hirsutism is a woman’s condition that results in excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern. Areas of the body affected by this condition usually are the face, the chest and the back. This extra hair growth often arises from excess male hormones such as testosterone.
Symptoms of hirsutism are particularly obvious. Indeed, dark hair starts to appear on body areas where women do not commonly have hair. Those usually are the face, chest, abdomen, inner thighs and back. High androgen levels cause hirsutism. However, other signs may develop over time including acne, increased muscle mass, deepening voice, etc.
The most common symptom remains however excess facial or body hair. Endocrinologists and dermatologists will be best able to help patients get a diagnosis. A few things may cause hirsutism in women. Those can include polycystic ovary syndrome, cushing syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, tumors and medications. However, hirsutism often occurs with no identifiable cause.
Excess facial or body hair is a subjective term. While some women are comfortable with body hair, others are not. Similarly, hirsutism can still be emotionally distressing. Some women feel self-conscious, others develop depression. Also, although hirsutism doesn’t cause physical complications, the underlying cause of a hormonal imbalance can.
For example, polycystic ovary syndrome can lead to irregular periods, hirsutism as well as lack of fertility. Hirsutism generally isn’t preventable. Decreasing androgen production, which happens when losing weight can help. Laser hair removal can help reduce hair growth as well.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. It can remove up to 95% of body hair. Although it is not yet considered a permanent hair removal method as per the FDA standards, a lot of patients experience permanent hair removal. Laser hair removal uses a concept called selective photothermolysis.
The laser gun will make a specific wavelength and pulse duration. This will allow the laser to target a specific object without damaging the surrounding skin tissues. Here, the target is the pigment or melanin in the hair. The end goal is to damage the hair follicle below the skin and prevent further growth. Then, you get why it can help with hirsutism.
During a laser hair removal session, light energy is emitted by the laser gun. It will target the pigment in the hair. Once the melanin absorbs the energy, the latter will travel all the way down to the follicle. There, it will turn into thermal energy and anchor itself to the hair follicle. The heat will damage the hair follicle, cauterizing the blood vessel that feeds it and preventing new hair production.
Laser hair removal only works when the hair is in the anagen phase of growth. Indeed, it is the only time the hair and follicle connect, allowing the energy to travel from the former to the latter. Unfortunately, only 20% of hair is in the right stage of growth at any point in time. A laser session can target up to 20% of all hair on the treat area. This explains why patients need multiple sessions as part of their treatment.
Can anyone do it?
Laser hair removal is a fairly new hair removal method. For comparison, waxing has been around since ancient Egypt while electrolysis has been used since the nineteenth century. Thus, laser hair removal is still going through improvements and new development. For a long time, it was believed that people of colour could not undergo laser hair removal.
Because the laser targets pigments, a sharp contrast between hair and skin would be essential for a successful treatment. People of color rarely offer that contrast. The same goes for people with fair hair and light skin. The absence of a sharp contrast between hair and skin made the procedure riskier or even ineffective for those patients.
However, technology development changed that. Indeed, ND: YAG lasers have a wavelength that bypasses the epidermis without damaging surrounding skin tissues. They do not rely on melanin to get to the follicle. Such lasers thus provide a safe and efficient way to treat people of color and people with fair hair. However, due to their complete absence of pigment, white and grey hair cannot be treated.
In conclusion, basically anyone can undergo laser hair removal. The treatment works regardless of hair color, skin tones and gender. The procedure does have contraindications. However, most of them are temporary. For example, pregnant women should not undergo laser hair removal. People who have taken antibiotics or Accutane need to wait a few weeks up to months before they do laser hair removal.
How can laser hair removal help with hirsutism?
Laser hair removal is ideal to treat hirsutism and treat small areas of coarse hair of any color. Not only is safe and works on all skin tones, but it is also very effective. It is hormones that trigger hair growth. Hormones are also the main cause of hirsutism. It is therefore possible that patients with hirsutism need a longer treatment and require additional sessions.
Laser hair removal is an affordable solution to hirsutism. In the long-term, the cost of laser hair removal is lower than the cost of waxing and shaving. The procedure will help patients with hirsutism reduce hair growth by at least 70%. Although it may not remove all hair, it will reduce hair density in the treated areas.
The hair that will grow back will be thinner in diameter and lighter, removing the impression of excess hair growth. Because hirsutism is caused by hormones, which can interfere with laser hair removal, patients may need a touch up session once or twice a year.
Different lasers for hair removal include 694-nm ruby laser, the 1064-nm Q-switched Nd: YAG laser, the 755 nm long-pulsed alexandrite, and the 800-nm diode laser. Laser hair removal is most suitable for idiopathic hirsutism with the normal androgen levels. Patients with hirsutism will most probably get back to a reduced hair growth after their initial treatment.
Before you book your first session
At Infinity Laser Spa, we offer a free consultation to patients before they start their treatment. During the consultation, you will communicate your medical history to the laser technician, who will answer all your questions. They will be able to give you an estimate of price and treatment duration.
A free consultation is also the opportunity to have a test patch done to make sure you react well to the treatment and experience no undesirable side effects. If you have been taking Accutane, you will need to wait three months up to six months after you stop your treatment, before you can start laser hair removal. Antibiotics also increase photosensitivity.
Patients need to shave all the areas they wish to treat during their laser hair removal session. It may seem counterintuitive but it will make the treatment safer and more efficient. Wash your skin of any cream or moisturizer. You should also avoid being in the sun during the ten days before your session. Do not artificially tan either. Tanning puts the skin into an excited state and interferes with the treatment.
Laser hair removal is a very hair removal treatment and can help patients with hirsutism. It will help reduce hair growth by up to 95%. However, some patients will need additional sessions due to their medical history, genetics, hair growth cycle, hormone levels, etc.