History And Causes
For centuries and millennia people have sought to get rid of unwanted hair. This can be due to a desire for smoothness in areas that typically grow hair as in men shaving their face, to clearing hair from areas that are extended beyond the areas that people consider the norm.
Therefore the problem with excess or unwanted hair can extend from the purely aesthetic and cultural expectations to prominent hair growing in or beyond usual sites.
Hair that grows outside commonly accepted boundaries arises for a number of reasons. There are genetic differences. Certain ethnic groups do have more problems with excess hair than others. They may also have coarser and darker hair.
Certain families will have patterns of excess hair. Hormonal factors determine hair growth too. There is the obvious male/female variation in hair distribution and degree.
But people with hormonal imbalances will notice increased hair growth too.
As women pass through menopause, hair growth will occur in areas that were not a problem before.
Shaving has been the mainstay over the centuries. It has the benefit of being relatively simple and painless. However it has to be undertaken repeatedly to maintain a smooth appearance.
The hairs themselves, due to the cutting action of the razor, tend to feel rough due to the cut ends as they grow out. This tendency has made people feel that shaving produces coarser hair.
It cannot do so. Hair is dead as it grows out of the follicle. Shaving it is akin to cutting fingernails. But the cleanly cut end, giving it a hard edge, and more hair follicles gradually activating over time can give the appearance of shaving having made excess hair worse.
Some people can have problems with various types of shaving rash reaction.
Waxing And Threading
Waxing and avulsion of hairs by mechanical means, either singly or in patches, has likewise been used for a long time. Again, the effect is temporary. But because the growing hair is removed by the root, new hair will take longer to show itself.
As only hair that is above the surface can be waxed or plucked, there is usually only a short while before new hairs are visible. And avulsing hair does act as a stimulus for the next cycle and in a number of areas of the body can lead to coarser and darker hair development.
It can be painful. And some people develop problems with in-growing hairs and reactions about the hair follicles.
Creams of various types can aid in removing unwanted hair. Again the effect is temporary and needs to be repeated to continue to achieve clearance. There are people who react to the chemicals in these creams.
For many years electrolysis has been the standard way to achieve control of unwanted hair. By passing an electric current through a metal wire placed at the hair base, the aim is for the follicle to be destroyed by the heat generated.
It has to be done one hair follicle at a time. It is quite painful for most people. Some people can get reactions in the hair follicles following the treatment. This can last from a few hours, to longer problems that persist near permanently.
It takes a large number of sessions. And it does not always succeed in controlling the hair for any significant length of time. Operator skill does affect outcome.
Laser Hair Removal
With the earliest medically used lasers, a side effect of some treatments was noted to be loss of hair. From 1995 lasers have been used regularly for this purpose specifically. More can be read in our treatments section.
But briefly, a number of sessions, aimed at the peak time of hair growth, are used to treat the follicles of the actively growing hairs. If managed correctly, some long-term control of hair growth can be achieved.
The advantage is that whole areas, rather then individual hairs can be treated at one time, resulting in a faster treatment than by something like electrolysis.
The new Cool Glide laser used at Springdale is one of the most effective and comfortable lasers now available for this job.