Many people suffer from undesirable hair on certain parts of their bodies, whether due to excessive amounts or grooming issues. The amount of body hair you have is due to your genetics, but some body hair problems can also be related to body changes as you mature such as hormones, or to shifting styles of clothing. In any case…you don’t want the hair where it is.
Hair grows in several stages- anagen, telogen, and catagen stages. For hair to be successfully stymied in its growth, it must be stopped in the anagen or natural growth stage. Approximately 20% of your hair follicles are in the active growth phase at any one time. Excessive hair in certain areas can also cause ingrown hairs or “shaving bumps”, as well as pilonidal cysts.
Lasers remove hair by matching a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to the hair target. Since darker colors absorb more light, the laser is attracted to the darker parts of the target area, much in the same way wearing black clothing on a sunny day makes you hotter. The laser heats up darker thicker hairs and their follicles more easily, so it works best on people with coarse dark black or brown hair with lighter skin coloring. It is more difficult to treat red hair or dark fine hair. People with blonde, gray, or white hair will see no result, since the surrounding skin is darker than the targeted hair. It is important for the doctor to match the proper laser wavelength with the patient’s skin type since some lasers can actually burn darker skin types. (At the New You Center, we use a laser wavelength that is “color-blind” so it can be used on all skin types including very dark skin.)
Because hair grows in stages, appointments need to be spaced so that the inactive hair follicles can get a chance to restart growth, since the hair follicles can be destroyed only during the active growth phase. Treatments are spaced depending upon the body area and the hair growth pattern. For example, facial hair grows more quickly and usually requires more frequent treatments and closer appointments than leg hair. Each session affects only the actively growing hairs, so approximately 20% of the hair follicles can be effectively treated during each session.
Although it takes some time, the advantages are a permanent reduction in the total number of hairs. However, no amount of laser treatments will permanently remove all hair in an area. BBL (broad band light) is not a laser, but rather a light therapy that can also heat the hair follicles to reduce hair growth, especially for people with lighter colored hair.
If you are suffering from unwanted hair or ingrown hairs, you will want to schedule a consult to discuss your options with Dr. Mudd.
Click here to learn more about Laser Hair Reduction.