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Hair removal treatments for men's body hair and facial hair
07-21-2015, 01:53 PM
Post: #1
Hair removal treatments for men's body hair and facial hair
I'd like to review in this post the different effective hair removal treatments for men. The good news is that these treatments can be used on body hair or facial hair. These hair removal treatments are based on the older electrolysis method and on the newer laser-based treatments.

For starters, epilation is the permanent removal of unwanted hair. Most of the methods for hair removal are not permanent, even when the advertisements suggest this (waxes, creams, Epilady, Silk-├ępil, etc). Unfortunately this is very similar to how many manufacturers in the hair loss industry suggest that their products can treat hair loss or even cure it, when there are only a few products that treat hair loss effectively and they don't even cure hair loss either.

So, at the moment, there are only two main hair removal methods for men's body hair and facial hair: electrolysis and laser.

Electrolysis for hair removal:

Electrolysis was until recently the only method for permanent hair removal. This method requires that an extremely small 'needle' be inserted into the hair follicle. The follicle is then subject to an electrical impulse, which destroys the hair follicle by burning it (thermolysis). Finally, the hair is removed using tweezers.

By epilation, every hair must be treated individually. This is very time consuming, and often painful. Many patients use a pain reducing cream such as an Emla cream, for just this reason.

This form of hair removal if done improperly can damage the skin, even done by a skilled operator it can take one or more years for the skin to fully regenerate.

The average time required for the removal of chest hair on the typical male is often between 500 to 800 hours. For this reason, it can take years of treatment to achieve a satisfactory result. The price for a session (normally one hour), can be anything between $20 to $80 (depending on the area), the price however, is not a guide to the quality of the treatment.

Basic facts:
Permanent hair removal for most clients can be achieved if performed correctly (which requires considerable training and skill). The vast majority of patients experience permanent removal of treated hair over the course of treatment, but published studies have observed that between 7% and 10% of consumers do not have satisfactory results.

"Easy to use" personal units:
Small battery-powered probe units like the One Touch may claim to be easy to use, but performing electrolysis on yourself is very difficult and not recommended. The electrologist skill is by far the most important factor in safe and effective treatment.

Despite improvements in equipment, electrolysis remains highly dependent on the skill of the practitioner. Electrolysis practitioners should have a professional qualification, but some do not have this, always ensure that the person who performs the electrolysis does. For this reason, it is recommended that you go to a practitioner recommended by someone who has been "done" and is happy with the results.

Be aware that electrolysis improperly performed or performed on non-normal skin can cause scarring, spread infection, and potentially cause isomorphic outbreaks or spread of lesions.

Laser Treatments for hair removal:

There are several types of hair removal laser treatments available for men to get rid of facial hair and of body hair. These are:
  • Rubin laser
  • PhotoDerm
  • EpiLight
  • Photogenica LPIR Laser
Rubin laser:
Originally used for the removal of unwanted skin pigmentation, tattoos, or for permanent make-up.

This type of laser is not recommended for "permanent" hair removal, as tests have shown that up to 80% of the treated hairs re-grow.

PhotoDerm:
This is not generally a laser but an intensive light pulse generated by a "flash-lamp" which produces a broad spectrum of "white" light. This device gives a strong light pulse, which harmlessly (mostly) penetrates the skin, the light is however absorbed by the hair follicle if the hair is dark. The absorption causes the localized area to heat up, and the blood flow that would normally feed the follicle to be destroyed at that point. This damages the follicle, and causes it to be unable to produce hair. The surrounding skin remains relatively undamaged.

This method works best with dark hair and light skin tones, permanent skin damage or irritation should not occur. Because only a small amount of the light produced is absorbed by the hair, it has proven to be a less efficient way to permanently remove the hairs, it is often cheaper than laser treatment but more expensive than electrolysis.

The treatment consists of a series of light impulses, which on the first treatments can be very painful. The majority of patients however tolerate the pain without any form of pain relief. At the end of each session, there can be a reddening of the treated area, which normally disappears after a few days.

The recommended number of sessions by manufacturers is between 10 and 15 sessions or more depending upon the patient's hair color and skin tone. To achieve permanent removal of hair cannot however be confirmed as of this time, as there is no known 100% successful hair removal treatment.

The cost of a one time complete chest hair removal treatment is approximately $1500, although this will vary depending on who you go to.

EpiLight:
The EpiLight is a further development of the PhotoDerm treatment, which was specially optimized for the removal of hair. The white light spectrum is more optimized for the removal of hair. In addition, the prism that is used for the actual treatment on the skin is larger and thus it provides for a faster hair removal treatment.

The cost of the EpiLight hair removal treatment is similar to that of the PhotoDerm treatment.

Photogenica LPIR Laser:
The Photogenica LPIR Laser (Long Pulse Infra Red Laser) or Alexandrite laser is one of the new generation lasers. It has been on the market since September 1997, but on trial in selected clinics before this. There are also Laser Diode systems by Lumenis (formerly Coherent), that work on the same principle.

The working principle is based upon the thermo-kinetic selectivity principle: the wavelength of the laser light is specially set to that of the melanin of the hair shaft, thereby enabling a dark hair to absorb the energy better than the surrounding skin. Ideally, this leads to the destruction of the hair shaft structure due to the conduction of the heat to the hair follicle, which progressively kills the follicle, thus preventing the growth of new hair.

The manufacturers of the laser recommend between 6 and 10 sessions for a permanent removal of hair, again this depends upon the hair strength, color and skin tone. The sessions are usually between 6 and 8 weeks apart to allow for the growth cycle of the hair strands and to obtain the best effect.

The cost per session can be anything from $100 to $300, depending on the clinic and area. This is probably the most expensive way to remove hair, but also the quickest, as some of the hair strands will not grow back after even the first treatment. You will notice some "patchiness" along the way, but this is normal and any "fair" or "gray" hairs are not affected at all.

It must be emphasized that whilst undergoing any light-based hair removal treatment, the patient must avoid being exposed to sunlight, and some clinics recommend the use of high factor sun creams at all times throughout the treatment. Changes or additions in medication should be notified immediately, as they can affect the absorption of the skin and the sensitivity of the skin, which could lead to additional unexpected pain or even scarring.

Conclusion:

Whether the laser treatments achieve, a permanent removal of unwanted hair has not yet been established by clinical studies. In theory, all treatments can destroy the hair follicles that are producing hair. However, a re-growth of the hair is still possible even after a number of years have gone by after the last hair removal session. It is also known that the color of hair and of the skin can have an effect on the success of the hair removal treatment. The best results are achieved with dark hair and light skin. For this reason, it is normally recommended that clients with blond hair or a dark skin tone use the needle epilation method, or a combination of both needle and laser treatment.

If done incorrectly the treatments can cause permanent scarring and/or skin damage. The laser operator should be qualified and have plenty experience with the chosen laser treatment to remove body hair or facial hair. The same recommendations apply as to that for needle epilation.

An important thing to note is that the only way to guarantee hair removal is still by electrolysis, and depending upon one's hair color and skin color, this might be the only option for some patients. Also some patients might have combinations of hair color, which would lead to using more than one method of hair removal. In this case, a laser or flash-lamp treatment would be used to remove the bulk of the darker hairs, followed by electrolysis to remove the hairs unaffected by the laser or flash-lamp light. All together, a good hair removal treatment can take as long as 2 to 3 years for complete removal.
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