Greenspring Medspa Blog

Greenspring Rejuvenation Medical Spa Tucson articles regarding skin care, facial/body contouring, anti-aging skin treatments

First Get Educated, Then Get Hairless: Getting Clear On Your Hair Removal Options

February 16, 2012

feb12hairless[1]This month’s Rejuvenation Information is dedicated to Hair Removal. At Greenspring Rejuvenation Medical Spa, we are currently featuring both IPL and the Duet by LightSheer permanent hair removal lasers. These lasers achieve the newest cutting-edge technology in the hair removal industry and we have never been prouder of the results we’ve been getting in all of our 19 years of offering laser hair removal! With that said, we still think it is very important to understand there are many choices for hair removal and some might be better for your particular body and your body hair than others. We’d love for you to explore laser hair removal with us, but we want you to make an informed decision first!

There are many factors in choosing a hair removal method and getting educated might just help you decide what is best for you. Let’s review the major factors, then we will explore which methods are best suited for each factor:

1. Hair type – color and coarseness
2. Skin type – dark or light
3. Permanent/Semi-permanent/Temporary/Quick-fix
4. Pain level of removal
5. Time devoted to removal
6. Convenience
7. Cost

Let’s review a few methods:

Shaving is a very popular hair removal method used by many men and women for daily hair maintenance. Essentially, shaving is the process of using a sharp blade to cut the hair down to the base of the skin. The Pro’s: Shaving can be used for any hair type and any hair color. Fine or course, light or dark hair; the razor doesn’t care! It is usually relatively quick, painless, and can be done from home, so it is great for time, pain, and convenience factors.

The Con’s: Shaving is the quickest fix of all hair removal options, meaning the results are short-lived. Depending on the person and the body area, hair can begin to grow back anywhere from a few hours to a few days after shaving. So while each time spent shaving may be short, total time spent dedicated to hair removal can really add up! Unlike many other methods of hair removal, shaving does not at all affect the hair follicle, and hence has no long-term affects. The Bottom Line: Shaving is a valid method of hair removal for people of all skin and hair types, however, anyone desiring more long term affects should look elsewhere.

Chemical Depilatories
Chemical depilatories are creams, gels, or sprays, applied at home, which function to disintegrate the hair at the surface of the skin.

The Pro’s: Chemical depilatories are high up on the convenience, cost, and time effectiveness factors. You can buy a product at any common drug store for as little as $5 and apply at home in a matter of minutes. Application is easy and most only stay on the skin for 5-10 minutes before being wiped off.
The Con’s: While they are effective in removing hair, there is danger in applying chemicals directly to the skin. Chemical depilatory use can damage the skin, especially if the directions are not followed precisely. The FDA reports many complaints about burns, blisters, stinging, and itchy rashes as a result of chemical depilatory use. Hair growth can begin again in a matter of hours to days and, like shaving,  the hair is not removed from the root. It can also be smelly and messy.

The Bottom Line: Chemical depilatories are a good example of “you get what your pay for.”  They may be a viable alternative to shaving for people who want a quick-fix hair removal without the need for long lasting results, but be wary of the dangers to your skin!

Waxing is the process of applying a hot or cold adhesive (consisting of such ingredients as natural beeswax, resins, soy, paraffin, or honey) to the skin to attach to the hair so that it may be pulled out from the root. Unlike shaving, waxing actually pulls the hair out of the follicle.
The Pro’s: With the cold methods of waxing now available, larger areas of hair can be done at a time, making overall time and pain of the procedure much less than it once was. Waxing is also an affective technique for all hair colors, hair types, and skin types. If waxing is done regularly, it can cause damage overtime to the hair follicle and lead to more permanent results. Also, though not always recommended, there are home waxing kits, making it possible to do at home.

The Cons: Waxing is only a temporary fix. Hair growth may begin a few days to a few weeks after treatment. While long-term hair reduction can be possible, it is not guaranteed. Results will last longer than shaving, but not as long as electrolysis or lasers. Waxing can also sometimes lead to ingrown hairs, red bumps, and depending on the size of the area treated, it can be costly over time. Waxing a large area of the body, such as full legs can cost from $65-80 a treatment. If hairless skin is the goal, cost sure can add up!

The Bottom Line: Waxing has longer lasting results than shaving, can possibly lead to a permanent reduction in hair and hair coarseness, but can be more costly overall than other hair removal methods, with potential for skin irritations.

Electrolysis is the process of delivering electricity through a small metal probe to individual hair follicles. The electricity that comes through the probe creates localized damage to the hair follicle. The hair is then removed with tweezers.

The Pros: Electrolysis is the only hair removal method that is recognized as permanent by the FDA. The hair follicles that are destroyed will never grow back again. Additionally, it is effective for all skin types and hair types. Of note is that it works on white hairs which lasers can have a tough time removing.

The Cons: Electrolysis is the most time consuming process to remove hair of any of the prominent hair removal methods as the process includes working on each hair individually instead of larger areas all at once. Additionally, electrolysis can be a bit more painful than other methods, sometimes requiring a topical anesthetic cream. It can also require up to 15 or 20 sessions, making it potentially a less affordable option overall.

The Bottom Line: Electrolysis is a very affective hair removal method that is well known for its results. It might be the best long term option for white hairs. It can, however, be time-consuming, painful, and costly.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy
IPL therapies are FDA approved to permanently reduce hair. Technically, IPL is not a laser, though it functions similarly. True lasers emit a single wavelength of light, whereas IPL machines emit multiple wavelengths of light which can be selected for desired targets. For permanent hair removal, wavelengths of IPL are selected that specifically target the melanin (or pigment) in the hair follicle. The melanin absorbs the light, damaging the hair follicle and putting an end to hair growth. Because the light is selectively absorbed by melanin, the hair follicle is damaged while the skin is not.

Permanent Laser Hair Removal with Duet by LightSheer
The LightSheer Duet is a diode laser which emits optimal wavelengths of light to target and destroy the hair follicle. However, the Duet laser stands apart from other permanent hair removal lasers in that the new Duet hand piece utilizes vacuum-assisted technology to suction the skin slightly into the hand piece. The stretched skin allows the light wave a more precise interaction with the melanin in the hair follicle while reducing interference with other pigments in the skin. Additionally, the Duet has an increased spot size, allowing greater depth of penetration into the hair follicle. The result is a laser that works in a fraction of the time without minimal or no discomfort.

The Pro’s of IPL and Duet Lasers: The improvement of laser technologies in the last 20 years have been vast, fast-paced, and remarkable. We won’t pretend we aren’t at least a little bit biased – we think that IPL and Duet laser hair removal technologies are the best long-term permanent hair reduction options out there. Diode laser and IPL technologies will permanently reduce body hair on all body areas, though it may not eliminate 100% of regrowth. Occasional touch-ups may be necessary. Most areas will take between 5 to 7 treatment sessions.  Though it may be inconvenient to fit these appointments into your busy schedule, it may dramatically reduce or eliminate the need for a lifetime of daily shaving. These technologies work best on people with light skin and dark hair. These technologies work on darker-skinned individuals, though more sessions may be required. Duet laser hair removal, unlike earlier versions of laser hair removal, is very low on the pain scale, does not require anesthetic creams and is much quicker. With the new Duet hand piece by Lumenis, larger areas can be done in a fraction of the time. Facial areas can be done in a matter of minutes, and a full leg went from taking close to an hour each time to only around 20 minutes.

The Cons of IPL and Duet Lasers: Unfortunately, IPL and Duet Laser Hair Reduction is not as effective on white or very light hair. It is also slightly less effective on dark skin. In both of these circumstances, permanent hair reduction can be obtained, but more sessions can be required. The cost up front is more than buying a $10 razor short-term. With long term results, however, it’s effectiveness makes it very cost-efficient!

The Bottom Line: The IPL and Duet Permanent Laser Hair Reduction methods can provide a fast, well tolerated, cost-effective, permanent reduction in unwanted hair.  Unfortunately, it is less effective for white hairs. For those more visually oriented and wanting more information on how the LightSheer Duet laser works, check out this 3 minute video.

Please feel free to contact the friendly staff at Greenspring. We are happy to answer any questions you have, provide a free consultation, or schedule your next appointment. Also, check our website and Facebook pages for online Laser Hair Removal specials. Tis’ the Getting- Ready-For-Summer Season!

In closing, whatever hair removal method you pursue, remember that the most important part of any beauty regime is to bring your natural beauty out from within.