Hair Removal Goes High Tech
A cascade of luscious locks is a woman’s crowning glory, but hair anywhere south of the top of your head has certainly gotten a bum wrap. Leg hair, back hair, chin hair, hair down there — it doesn’t matter how many perfectly rational and functional reasons the science-set serves up in defense of body hair, the modern species simply does not care. We want our skin silky, smooth and bare, and by golly, we’ll go to high-tech lengths to get it.
As our taste in body hair has evolved (or devolved), so have our methods of getting rid of it. Tweezing, shaving and plucking are considered virtually archaic. In fact, the 2014 annual statistics released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery state that laser hair removal ranks as the third most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure in the country. Where there’s a demand, you can be sure a supply will follow, and it’ll likely come with perks/promises like “less painful,” “more effective” and “permanent.” So let’s look at some of the high-tech hair removal options available today, and see what might be ideal for you.
So wildly popular that it’s spawned an industry that specializes solely in smooth hairless skin, laser hair removal uses lasers to point highly concentrated, pulsating beams of light into hair follicles to destroy hair at the root. Think the destruction of Darth Vader’s Death Star and you’ll get the idea — but like every good movie sequel, it does come back. Sort of. Laser hair removal does not guarantee permanent hair removal, and requires multiple treatments (typically six to eight), but what it does do is hinder future hair from growing, if and when it does grow back, the hair is remarkably finer, lighter and more sparse. This treatment can cause redness and swelling and works best on people with pale to light skin and dark hair, but there are also longer wavelength lasers that can treat darker skin without causing hyper-pigmentation (yes, that can happen.) A chat with a board-certified plastic surgeon can help you decide if laser hair removal is right for you.
If you’re looking for permanent with a capital “P” hair removal, then electrolysis — another popular hair removal method might do the trick. Electrolysis treatments insert a thin probe into individual hair follicles, destroying the hair at the root with short-wave radio frequency and then removing it with forceps. This is a great way to get rid of unwanted hair on the face and any other area you might want hair free. This is by no means a quick fix, the number of sessions necessary to eradicate unwanted hair vary from person to person and can range from 10 to 25, but there’s very little pain involved, so that’s a plus. Each treatment lasts between 15 minutes to an hour.(Avoid a jillion sessions, and side effects like discomfort and even scarring by choosing a licensed practitioner.)
Sci-fi lasers and probes are trés Geek-chic, but if that’s not your thing, there’s also a hair removal cream called Vaniqa that is approved by the FDA to inhibit the growth of facial hair in the fairer sex (aka the ladies.) This prescription only potion contains eflornithine hydrochloride, which is a chemical used to treat certain illnesses and even some cancers. You slap it on twice a day and then watch as, in four to six weeks, Vaniqa magically vanquishes the unwanted hair. It’s not permanent, nor is it without possible side effects (acne, redness, rashes and tingling,) but it is effective in reducing the growth of pesky hairs.
So with the annual shearing of all that body hair that kept you warm through winter upon us, aren’t you glad there are a few options to get you smooth, silky and hair free just in time for summer? Of course you are — and you’re welcome.