Can you remove hair permanently?
Removing unwanted hair from the body is taken very seriously by women and now, men too. This obsession is not new, the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar apparently had every hair on his face individually plucked out – imagine how much that must have hurt! Greek women singed their hair with a lamp to remove them. There is proof that even the Neanderthals did it. Archeological findings have shown that Neanderthals - especially the men (metrosexuality is evidently not a recent phenomenon) - began pulling their hair out with their fingers, eventually using two sea shells together as tweezers. Well they did not do this because they were conceited – no hair meant their enemies had nothing to grab on to and insects could not breed in it.
However, hair removal is generally temporary – no matter how much pain we women go through, it always comes back and we have to go through the monthly misery of threading and waxing. Laser removal of hair is now slowly gaining in popularity as more and more women are opting for it.
Why is hair removal temporary? Let’s understand the basics; the amount of hair on your body is pre-decided by your genes, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Indian women are obsessed with hair removal to such an extent that they don’t even leave alone newborn babies. Enthusiastic mums apply numerous “uptans” and scrub their little ones vigorously in the bath with the hope that the torture on the hair shafts will ensure minimum hair growth in adulthood. Other than a sparkling clean baby this does not have any effect, there is hardly any effect on the hair growth. The hair follicles, which are embedded deep within the skin surface remain intact and keep producing hair as is the case with all traditional methods of hair removal, be it waxing, shaving or threading.
Waxing pulls out the hair by the root while shaving and threading cuts the hair close to the surface of the skin. These methods don’t change the density of hair, it’s colour or texture. Hair usually grows at different rates and some hair might take more time to grow back. Repeated waxing or threading might damage the follicle to such an extent that it stops producing hair. Contrary to the popular belief that shaving will encourage thicker hair growth, it’s actually waxing that does so.
Waxing causes injury to the follicles and as a response the body increases blood supply to the follicle to repair it. This makes the hair grow thicker and better.
Removal of hair by laser is the only method which is more or less permanent and that too, you are not left with a completely smooth skin, and maintaining it is necessary. Without maintenance sessions, a little hair will grow back. Always go to a qualified dermatologist when you want to remove hair by laser therapy.
In laser hair removal, a fixed amount of energy is applied to the follicles depending on the thickness of hair and this amount requires strict regulation for efficacy. If lower energy were to be given to thicker hair, more hair would be produced because the follicles would be damaged and blood supply to them would be increased, promoting hair growth. Also, make sure your hair is not bleached, and avoid waxing or threading at least three weeks before the treatment.
This treatment is not pain-free as many may believe and some can sustain mild burns if the therapist is not properly trained. In some places, thick numbing gel is applied so that pain is minimal and people say that waxing hurts more!
Laser is not for those with a pacemaker and pregnant or breast feeding women should not undergo laser treatment. The cost of laser treatment is also on the high side, costing anywhere between Rs 1000- Rs 8000 per session, depending on the surface area to be lasered.
Make your choices carefully, waxing or threading using unsanitary materials or thread and incorrect laser removal methods can scar and discolour skin. Go for the method that suits you and remember that beauty is important but skin and health comes first!