(d)epilating | shaving | bleaching | waxing | threading | sugaring | plucking | abrasives | laser | electrolysis | ingrown hairs |
Chemical depilatories remove part of the hair shaft and are easy and painless to use. The standard chemical depilatories are available in gels, creams, lotions, aerosols or roll-on forms. They are good for use on the legs, bikini line, face and underarms. They perform best when hair is at a reasonable length. Before using a depilatory you should carefully read the manufacturer's instructions. Test a small area before use to avoid irritation or allergic reactions.
Bleaching is not a method of hair removal, but many women use bleaching as an inexpensive method of disquising the presence of unwanted hair by removing the hair's natural pigment. Common sites for bleaching include the upper lip, beard area and arms. A variety of commercial bleaches are available and the manufacturer's instructions are easy to follow. As with chemical depilatories, perform a small patch test to assess for allergic reaction. The disadvantages of bleaching include skin irritation and temporary skin discoloration.
Temporary hair reduction
Laser-assisted hair removal
Intense pulsed light sources for hair removal
Intense pulsed light sources use the same principle of selective photothermolysis used with lasers to target melanin in hair follicles; however, a noncoherent filtered flashlamp that emits wavelengths ranging from 500-1200 nm is used in this process rather than a laser. Different cut off filters are used to select the appropriate wavelength for each patient.
Permanent hair removal
Electrolysis - electrology
Electrolysis involves the insertion of a small, fine needle into the hair follicle, followed by the firing of a pulse of electric current that damages and eventually destroys the hair follicle. Multiple treatment sessions are required to achieve a clinically significant result. The two types of electrolysis are galvanic electrolysis (direct current electrolysis) and thermolysis (alternating current electrolysis).
A direct electric current is passed down a needle inserted into the hair follicle, where it acts on tissue saline to produce sodium hydroxide (lye), a caustic agent that destroys the hair bulb and dermal papilla. During the procedure the patient holds a metal rod covered with conductive cream, gel or a metal plate attached to a moistened pad. The current (milliamperes) is set by the technician based on the patient's pain treshold and the duration of the pulse is controlled by how long the technician presses down on the hand or foot pedal. Galvanic electrolysis is slow and may require a minute or more for each hair, including repeated insertions into the follicle.
Thermolysis uses a high-frequency alternating current that is passed down the needle into the follicle. The high-frequency alternating current produces heat in the hair follicle via molecular vibration, resulting in destruction of the hair bulb by thermal, not chemical, means.
Most modern electrolysis machines use thermolysis or the blend methode: A combination of galvanic electrolysis and thermolysis. Unfortunately, no controlled clinical trials have compared the two methods and claims of superiority of one method over the other are based on anecdotal evidence.
Proper electrolysis requires accurate needle insertion technique and appropriate intensities and duration of current. In addition, only anagen-phase hairs should be treated because telogen-phase hairs are believed to be more resistant to damage. Anagen-phase hairs can be distinguished easily from telogen-phase hairs by shaving the area to be treated and, in a few days, treating only those hairs visible on the skin surface (anagen-phase hairs).
Important and potentially permanent adverse effects of electrolysis include scarring and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. Adverse effects that are dependent on technician experience and the duration and intensity of the current pain, a primary adverse effect of electrolysis, can be diminished with the use of new topical anesthetic creams one hour prior to the procedure. Maintaining some sensation is desirable because pain is related to the amount of damage to the hair follicle. Electrolysis is not safe for patients with pacemakers and should not be used on these patients.
Ingrown hairs - what to do?
Ingrown hairs are side effects of shaving. They occur when hairs are cut below skin level. When the hair begins to grow it will grow within the hair follicle rather than out of the hair follicle. You can get it out by removing the dead skin cells and try to pluck out the ingrown hair.
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