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Hair Removal for Men & Women

August 11, 2014 0 Comments Hair
I‘ve actually gone to the zoo and had monkeys shout to me from their cages; ‘I’m in here when you’re walking around like that” Robin Williams

It does have the function of helping to keep our bodies warm but body hair is here whether we like it or not. Where we run into problems is when there is an excess of hair follicles on a particular part of the body, which can cause distress for some individuals.

The ideal candidates for hair removal are people with pale skin and dark hair. These people get the best results no matter what type of technology you use. After that, results do vary with certain skin colours and types of hair, so you need to be aware that results can vary from person to person prior to commencing treatment.

Reassessment of results at each visit to the clinic is necessary, and this is where the larger clinics can be a disadvantage in your journey to becoming hair free. A different therapist for each visit, no single person observing you for results, continuing to treat you with the same level of energy as the previous treatments and before you know it, your 6 sessions are up and your results are poor.

Here comes the science bit.


Scientific studies in the early 1990’s proved that lasers were an effective method of removing unwanted hair and the first machine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for laser hair removal in America was in 1997 for ‘permanent’ hair reduction.

There are many devices out there for hair removal with the newer IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) systems providing excellent results. Sometimes it’s not the calibre of the machine but the calibre of the person that is handling it i.e. an experienced Laser Nurse.

IPL systems are different from lasers in that they can deliver hundreds of wavelengths or colours in each burst of light. Certain filters are used that target these flashes of light so that they can work in as precise way as lasers. Hair must have colour as it does not work on white, red or grey hairs as well as fine vellus hair of any colour, vellus hair has no colour.

Simply, the burst of light to the hair which is absorbed by the melanin or colour of the hair causes damage to the follicle in the same way as a laser. If the surrounding skin is light in colour then the entire energy of light will be concentrated in the hair shaft, effectively destroying it, without affecting the skin or follicle. Hair growth originates in the hair follicle; the destruction of the follicle will lead to reduced or even no new hair growth.

However, light treatments only target the hair during the anagen phase which is the phase of active growth. Depending on the area to be treated 25-80% of the body’s hair can be in this stage of growth at any given time, so this is why multiple laser  Hair treatments are necessary to achieve the best results.

Why do women develop hair on the face?

Everyone has a very small amount of hair on their face. When it becomes very noticeable though, then it becomes a problem. Plenty of reasons cause this to become noticeable on women:

  • Mechanical stimulation by plucking, waxing or threading.
  • Normal systemic changes such as: puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
  • Abnormal systemic changes triggered by medication such as steroids, fertility drugs, endocrine disorders, thyroid disorders, Cushing’s Syndrome, stress, starvation and obesity.
  • Heredity, darker hair colour, ethnicity, are all alternative reasons.
  • Oestrogen levels drop as women age, so the testosterone that’s naturally in our bodies affects facial hair causing it to become thicker and more plentiful.

So as you see there are plenty of reasons why this happens! Facial hair is often an embarrassing problem for many women but it doesn’t have to be.

How many treatments are needed?


The number of sessions needed depends on many factors, the amount and type of hair being removed, skin colour, area of the body, coarseness of hair, reason for hirsutism, regrowth and gender.

Facial hair grows faster than the rest of the body hair, so treatments need to be done more often. It is important to follow the instructions regarding length of time in between treatments to achieve the optimum results. Some of the worst results I have seen are from people who spread out treatments for months at a time, missing that crucial growth phase which catches the hair at the best stage for destruction, therefore never achieving the optimum results possible for them. Multiple treatments depending on the type of hair and skin colour have been shown to provide long term reduction of hair.

Most people need a minimum of at least 6 treatments on body hair and at least 10 on facial hair. Men, with ingrown hairs/shaving bumps, require more treatments, as they have more hair follicles. Coarse dark hairs on light skin are the easiest to treat. Multiple treatments depend on all these factors to provide long term reduction of hair growth. Hairs shed from 2-3 weeks after a treatment. It’s a great moment when you tug a hair and it falls away.

The list of do nots

  • Don’t pluck, wax or thread in between treatments as we need to keep the hair in the follicle. Shave, trim with scissors, or use a depletory cream.
  • Don’t apply fake suntan cream, or lie in the sun or do a sun bed. Remember the paler you are the more energy we can apply to destroy those pesky hairs!

Side effects

Normal side effects can occur following treatment, these include, redness, frazzling of hair, smell of burning hair and swelling around the hair follicle called folliculitis which can last for 2-3 days post treatment and can be quite itchy and spotty looking. Pain can be expected, in particular the upper lip, it is best described as short snappy sensation.

Wear a sun block no less than 30-50 if sun exposure is anticipated during treatment this will help you avoid potential side effects such as hyper-pigmentation/yellow shadow on the upper lip. Rare side effects include blistering, scarring and skin texture changes. Problems that can arise in articular is resistance, some studies quote 5-10% of the population show resistance to treatment.


This treatment works and it is money well spent. If you have spent years waxing, chances are you have already spent a small fortune. I have had my legs treated with IPL 6 years ago and the hairs have not grown back, so truthfully it works! So if you’re feeling like a hairy monkey, what are you waiting for?

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