How do I get rid of unwanted hair permanently from my body?

Hair may be removed permanently from the body by treatment with IPL or Laser.

How do IPL and Laser remove hair permanently?

Hair contains the pigment melanin which absorbs the energy given out by the laser. This energy is converted to heat energy which will destroy or damage the hair follicle. If the hair follicle is destroyed, the hair will never ever grow again. If the hair follicle is damaged, the hair will grow slower and the resulting hair will also be thinner, resulting in skin that has sparse, fine hair. IPL also works on the same principle, but is only recommended for light skinned people. The hair removal laser on the other hand, may be used on all skin tones.

Is treatment painful?

The Chelsea Clinic uses the Mydon long pulse Nd-YAG which has a built in cooling system. Treatments are comfortable and need not require any numbing cream except for the bikini line or if a “Brazilian” is done. The IPL used also has a built in cooling system which also makes treatment very comfortable.

How many treatments will I require?

As hair grows in cycles, a few treatments are needed for 80% of the hair follicles to be destroyed. The number of treatments also depends on a few factors: the area treated, the texture of the hair and the colour of the hair and skin.

How often do I have to come for treatment?

Treatments are spaced a month apart.

What are the areas that can be treated?

Virtually any part of the body can be treated. The common requests that we get are underarm, upper lip, legs, bikini line and “Brazilian”.

Are treatments costly?

Treatments work out to be cost effective in the long run as the hair is gone permanently. Once you are satisfied with the result, treatment is stopped and the hair will not regrow. On the other hand, waxing has to be repeated regularly. Although repeated treatments make the hair seem finer, all the hair follicles are still intact which means all the hair will regrow once treatment is stopped. In other words you have to wax (or thread your face or shave or use depilatory creams) for life as these are only temporary methods.

Are there any precautions to take during hair removal treatment?

There are none except not to wax the area treated as all the hair follicles will be removed and the laser or IPL will not have any hair pigment to work on. During the course of treatment, shave if you wish to keep the area hair free, and shave the day before coming for treatment.

What results can I expect to see from Laser or IPL hair removal?

For a start, you will notice that you do not have to shave as often as the hair growth is slowed down. You will also notice that the hair that grows out is finer and the hair becomes sparser.

I have heard that new hairs may grow after laser/IPL treatment has stopped. Why is this so if treatment is permanent?

The reason that new hairs appear is because hair grows in 3 stages. The hairs that grow out later may have been in the “sleeping” stage during the laser/IPL treatment. During that stage, there is no hair and no pigment so the laser is unable to affect the hair follicle. We recommend that once good clearance of hair has been obtained, to stop treatment and return in the future for another treatment when new hairs grow.

Are there any medical indications for laser/IPL hair removal?

One indication is ingrown hairs which can become infected. The laser is able to penetrate the skin and destroy the ingrown hair.

Hair Loss

The commonly-known causes of hair loss and its corresponding treatments are listed below:

1. Androgenic alopecia for male pattern baldness. Also occurs in women. Topical Minoxidil 5% and oral Propecia (only for men) are effective in arresting hair loss and encouraging new hair growth. Biostimulation lasers have also been found to be useful.

2. Alopecia Areata. Localised, circumscribed hair loss. Thought to be caused by local immune defects in the scalp. Occasionally, eyebrows may also be affected. Responds well to intralesional steroid injections.

3. Telogium effluvium. In this condition, there is a generalised increase in hair shedding. The underlying trigger is a stressful event that caused a shock to the hair follicles, causing an increased proportion of hair follicles to jump from growth stage to resting stage which is the stage before physiological shedding. Some common triggers include a systemic illness, psychological stress, a drug reaction, major surgery, crash diets, hormonal upheavals. Normal regrowth of hair can be expected in 6-12 months. Topical Minoxidil 5% may be helpful.