Ur Daily Dose of Entertainment

Search My Blog

Laser Hair Removal : 21st Century Grooming

Spoiler Alert: Cavemen weren’t as hairy as the Captain Cavemen creators, Hanna and Barbera, would like you to think. In fact, shaving hair from the face and head of men was a way of survival. It offered enemies in hand combat less to grasp onto and less territory for mites to inhabit.

For women during the Roman Empire, hair removal was often seen as an identifier of class, with wealthy, upper class women having the privilege to purchase pumice stones, razors, tweezers and depilatory creams to remove unwanted hair. The ancient Egyptians popularized another method, still often found at beauty salons in the Middle East today, called sugaring.

There is no doubt that hair removal has been around for centuries. The methods may have improved overtime, but the desired end result has always been the same. From threading and waxing to shaving and tweezing, the Middle East is home to a thriving industry of cosmetic hair removal.

In Islamic countries, hair removal possesses a hygienic component that is part of sunan al-fitra (lit. “customs of nature”) — a collection of hygienic or cosmetic practices enjoined by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Both men and women possess a yearning to be hair-free, and today, that superficial need is both easier and less painful to achieve — thanks to laser hair removal devices, or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) epilators.

Introduced in the mid-1970s, laser hair removal is accepted in the dermatology community and has become a widely practiced method of choice for many people. “We have both men and women that come in for laser sessions,” revealed Lillian Khan, one of the dermatologists and MDs of cosmetic medicine at Silky Image Clinic, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “The most popular areas for women are the underarms, bikini and face, while men often come to outline their beards.”

Khan warns that not everyone may be 100 percent responsive to the laser therapy. “Some people, usually those with hormonal imbalances, are resistant to the treatment, and therefore, use it more as grooming maintenance, rather than a permanent solution to unwanted hair,” she said.

Versions with the same horrific outcome from people, who have done laser therapy, provide testimony that the adverse effect is quite possible. These patients often attempted to laser areas of fine hair, which turned course and thick after the sessions. This convinced me that if I were to do the procedure, I’d leave all fine hair untouched.

“The hair on my thighs grew back darker and thicker,” revealed Sultana who wanted to be hair-free for her wedding later that year. “I did several sessions and it neither lessened nor thinned the hair.”

According to Khan, just because hair initially grows thick doesn’t mean the therapy isn’t working, but rather the laser activates hair follicles in order to singe the roots dead. She highly recommends continuing the treatments because sometimes it just has to get thicker before it gets better.

“The average patient needs 5 to 6 sessions for the produce to be effective, but it all depends on the patient and their hair follicles,” advised Khan.

The Alexandrite laser device is what most centers in the region possess, which is actually “not friendly to darker skin tones,” but rather more appropriate for lighter and finer hair. People with darker skin tones and thick hair should use the Nd:YAG laser. While both are effective regardless the length of the hair (it’s not about hair length, but rather the root — you should only shave before and between sessions), neither are responsive to blonde or white hair. Khan’s clinic boasts the Gentle Max, which combines the two devices in one.

“It’s really important to consult with your doctor,” instructed Khan. “Make sure they explain all the possible side effects and check out for indicators that you may be sensitive and scar from the laser.”

When I got home, my leg — from ankle to upper thigh — had red spots where the laser had burned me,” explained 26-year-old Dalia. “I had five rows of burned spots all the way down my whole leg, and it hurt so bad!” Two years later, she still has marks on her legs.

Although you may often hear such stories, these cases are the rare exception. Most patients do not experience any side effects and rave about their hair-free limbs. As long as you follow the proper prepping and post-treatment procedures — such as no tanning (as it makes skin more prone to side effects, including scarring and discoloration of pigmentation), waxing, threading or tweezing (basically, you’re only allowed to shave), then chances are that you too will be praising the advent of the laser into the world of cosmetic beautification.

The procedure is rather painless. “Doctors often describe the pain as equivalent to a ‘sting from the snapping of an elastic rubber band on the skin,’” explained Khan. However, she suggests patients with a low threshold of pain to take two Solpadeines prior to the procedure. Websites also suggest shaving the day before, so skin has time to heal, reducing your chances of skin irritation.

Post-treatment involves a topical anti-inflammatory cream to help reduce the temporary skin reaction of redness and bumps, which usually subsides within 24 hours anyway.

The benefits of laser hair removal are clear and substantial. Unlike conventional ways, hair removal doesn’t cause inflammation of the hair follicles, known as folliculitis, which is usually caused by ingrown hairs that occur after shaving or waxing. For men, hair follicles often get infected, known as psuedofolliculitis barbae, a common side effect of shaving. Thus, laser provides a great relief from future infections.

Darkening of skin pigmentation, which Saudi skin tones are more prone too, is another common effect of other hair removal methods, warned Khan. “The increase of thicker, coarser hair may also result from shaving and waxing,” she added.

Laser hair therapy is also more economical in the long run. Although each session is rather pricey, clinics often offer discounted packages, especially during their peak season of winter — before bikini weather calls for women to revaluate their neglected grooming rituals. Woman and men using non-laser depilatory methods are subjected to the continual costs to maintain their desired aesthetic, versus a laser patient who will remain hair free after successful and proper completion of a few sessions.

“Nowadays, it seems more and more people are doing laser,” said Khan. Women sign up as soon as they’re engaged in order to be smooth and hairless come their wedding day. Men find it a convenient way to stay looking fresh and groomed without the hassle of shaving and the risk of ingrown hairs. The laser has ushered in the new dawn of cosmetic upkeep. Now, if only they could invent a laser to remove these extra kilograms of fat off my thighs…


No comments: