The body is completely covered with hair, except for the lips, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The number of hair follicles is fixed before birth, and is dependent on genetic factors. These hairs are vellus hairs, fine and light, as opposed to the terminal hairs of the eyebrows and head hair.
Two out of three women will have problems with some form of excess hair, be it facial or body. It is also a problem for men but usually it is either excess body hair or ingrown hairs that cause the most concern.
Hirsutism can be defined as excess facial and body hair. To the women who have it, the hair may be a devastating problem. Today, women are increasingly self-conscious about unwanted hair, especially with hairless movie stars and models setting the standards.
Fine vellus hair is transformed into terminal hairs when subjected to androgens, a low level of androgen (male-type hormones) producing pubic and axillary hairs and the few strands around the nipple area. When there is a higher circulating level of androgen, terminal hair appears over the shoulders, over the sacral area, and the upper abdomen. Terminal hairs on the arms and legs vary in their response to androgens so are not a reliable indicator of hirsutism. The amount of terminal hair increases with age. In the normal women, androgen production does not increase as the years go by, so the increased hirsutism must be attributed to the length of time the hair has been exposed to the androgens.
Causes of Hirsutism
Hirsutism can occur for a number of reasons:
- Excess production of male-type hormones (androgen)
- Increased sensitivity of the hair follicles to androgen stimulation
- Taking certain drugs, steroids, and androgens (for body building)
- Contraceptive Pill
- Hereditary factors
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The various clinic treatments for dealing with unwanted hair are as follows: -
The Temporary methods
- Depilatory Creams
More Permanent Methods
This is most often used on small facial areas i.e. the Upper Lip to disguise dark facial hair. Although it does not remove the hair it makes the hair quite transparent and therefore not noticeable to others. It is quick, painless and inexpensive. It usually lasts up to six weeks but often longer during the summer months. Bleaching is often suggested for younger clients who can not afford the more expensive hair removal treatments or are too young to start more permanent methods. Bleaching is a good safe option as you are not promoting new hair growth or strengthening existing hair.
This is a quick temporary method of hair removal that is very popular but used mainly for removal of body hair. Contrary to popular belief, waxing does not reduce the amount of hair in an area. Due to this misconception, many people make the mistake of waxing small amounts of hair (often on the face) and actually create a hair problem in the area. In fact, waxing strengthens the hair over time and is therefore unsuitable for treating facial areas.
This is similar to waxing but obviously on a smaller scale, and with less harsh affects as you are only removing one or two hairs at a time.
There are various products on the markets and they work by chemically dissolving the root of the hair in the follicle. Because of its chemical action, many people suffer from skin irritation and cannot use depilatories. It is obviously quick and easy however, it strengthens the hair over a period of time and again is not suitable for facial areas. The main problem with these creams is skin reactions and a sensitivity test should be carried out before using them.
Long Term hair Removal
Hair grows in cycles - Anagin (growing phase), Catogen (Resting Phase), Telogen (Shedding Stage). These cycles must be explained before commencing any hair removal treatment in order to achieve maximum results in the quickest possible time. Only hair that is in its anagin phase will be effectively treated by electrolysis or laser, therefore a thorough consultation and understanding by the client is essential to the success of any of these treatments.
Has been around since the early part of the century in one form or another. Obviously the equipment is a lot safer and more sophisticated than the early days. There are various forms of electrolysis.
The more traditional form (Diathermy) uses an alternating current to create heat, which his introduced into the hair follicle via a needle. This is quick, relatively safe but requires multiple treatments on each hair to achieve good results.
Blend is a relatively new addition to the electrolysis range of treatments. It is a combination of the older Galvanic Current, which was very effective but not very safe, with the newer Diathermy method. The combination of the two makes for a more effective treatment whilst not compromising safety like the older Galvanic Treatments. It is an excellent form of electrolysis, which causes less discomfort than the Diathermy on its own. It is still a relatively slow system as you are just treating one hair at a time and therefore more suited to small problem areas.
The Tweezer method is a very comfortable treatment but not as effective as the blend. The theory behind the tweezer is that the current travels from the tweezers down the hair shaft itself to the root area where it causes some damage. The problem is that the dryer the skin, the less current will be conducted down to the root of the hair. Again it is very slow as you can only treat one or two hairs at a time. However, it is a very comfortable treatment.
The Transdermal treatment is a great breakthrough in electrolysis. This method uses the old Galvanic Current very safely, and with no discomfort whatsoever. The current is transmitted from the machine via a pen like probe. The probe is placed into a pea size blob of conductive gel, which is first placed onto the skin, and the current is released. Instead of using a needle to bring the current into the hair follicle the highly conductive gel does the same thing, but with no discomfort. It is faster than the traditional electrolysis as you can treat many hairs at a time and therefore you can treat larger areas in a shorter period of time. You can also treat hairs underneath the skin, which is not possible with the needle method of electrolysis, as with the needle system, you need to see the hair before you can insert the needle into the hair follicle.
Although Laser is not new, it has been around for over 30 years, it is only in the last number of years that is has been widely used for hair removal. The Laser used in the Softlight Hair Removal
Treatment is a ND-YAG Q-Switch. It is a Low Energy Laser that operates at 2.5 joules. The Laser creates thermal damage to the dermal papilla inhibiting its ability to produce a strong hair. The Softlight Laser was cleared by the FDA in 1995 for safety and effectiveness. It is estimated that more than 500,000
Treatments have been carried out worldwide since then. Laser is quick, safe and effective in the treatment of unwanted hair and as a result, is hugely popular. Laser is a continuous beam of concentrated light travelling on the one direction. When the laser is passed over the skin it is attracted to the melanin in the hair and so targets the hair and releases its energy, disabling the hair follicles. In the past Lasers could only be used on very light skin which had very dark hair. This was because the laser could not differentiate between the skin and the hair and so would just as easily target and damage the skin as well as the hair follicle. However with Softlight, the Company has patented a black carbon solution, which is applied to the skin, and then the excess is removed. What is left is a series of black dots where the carbon has seeped into the hair follicle and as a result when the Laser Beam is passed over, it targets the blackened hair follicles. As a result of this procedure, the Softlight Laser is safe and effective on all skin and hair types.
Age, ethnic origin, metabolism, medication, and hormones all play a part in where and when hair grows. Thus it is difficult to predict how many treatments each individual will require to achieve the best long-term results. The Softlight Laser works with the individual hair growth cycles to deliver long-lasting results regardless of hair or skin colour and type. Softlight actually slows the growing capacity of hair by disabling follicles that are growing hair at the time of treatment. Since other follicles may enter a growth cycle after treatment, multiple treatments deliver the best results.
Commonly asked Questions?
- Is Softlight Painful? The Softlight process is gentle, non-invasive and requires no anaesthetic. If you are like most individuals, you will feel nothing more than slight warmth or a tingling sensation.
- Is it permanent? Hair is natural to your body and our goal is not to kill the follicle, but to disable it. Softlight Laser Hair Removal impairs the growth of your hair over time, so that it grows slower and finer. With the current Softlight technology, it is necessary to have a course of treatment to achieve the best results.
- Is It Safe? Yes. The Softlight Hair Removal Procedure has already been performed on thousands of people with positive results. The same YAG Laser has been used by Practitioners for over 10 years without any adverse long-term results.
- Is it expensive? The cost is comparable to electrolysis, which is used by thousands of women each year. But the cost while higher than waxing, is considered reasonable by many based on the convenience and the time and energy saved.
- How long does it take? The Softlight Laser treatment is so quick, that even large areas like the legs can be carried out in a single treatment. The smaller areas like the face, can be carried out in under an hour.
- Can any area of the body be treated? Yes Softlight can be used all over and it is terrific on areas like the bikini line where many people suffer from ingrown hairs when previously using other methods of hair removal.
- Do Men as well as Women use the Softlight Laser Treatment? Yes, a large proportion of clients are men, with many suffering from ingrown hair problems. The more popular areas for male treatments are the back, hands, fingers, nose and ears, but again all areas are treated.
- Is a consultation necessary before commencing the treatment? Yes, a treatment will not be carried out without a thorough consultation with a Laser Technician. It is necessary to fully explain the procedure and to obtain each client's medical history in order to ensure that they are suitable candidates for the Softlight Laser Treatment.