Hair in all the wrong places
Unwanted hair is a huge problem for many people. In women, excessive facial hair is called hirsutism. Besides causing embarrassment, excess facial hair may go along with other medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian disease. Other symptoms may include irregular menses, weight gain and acne, especially on the chin and lower cheeks.
Fortunately, there are many treatments available for women with hirsutism. Medication called spironolactone can be taken with or without birth control pills to reduce the levels of male hormone in the facial skin. There is a prescription topical cream called Vaniqa which can help with fine hairs. Best of all, there’s laser hair removal.
Technology has advanced to the point where laser hair removal is practically painless, fast (less than 10 minutes) and extremely effective. With each session, thousands of invisible hair follicles are destroyed, leaving the skin hairless and smooth for many weeks. Because hair grows in cycles, like crops, several sessions are required. However, most women are able to become hair-free over the course of about 10 months or approximately six to eight sessions.
These days most skin types can be treated, ranging from very fair people to those with dark skin tones. Since the laser distinguishes contrasting colors, it is most effective in those with hair that does not blend in with their skin tone. Red, white, and blond hair does not respond to laser treatment.
Laser hair removal is also useful for those who suffer from ingrown hairs. This tends to happen in men and women with very coarse or curly hair. Shaving, plucking or waxing tends to aggravate the bumps and creates unsightly pigmentation. Since laser treatment destroys the hair follicle under the surface of the skin, the “bumps” are eliminated.
Preparation for laser hair removal is easy. Patients simply shave the affected area and ice is applied to cool the skin. The technician applies the laser which feels warm and sometimes has a suction feeling. After the tteaemt the skin is slightly red for up to an hour. For best results, avoid sun exposure for at least a week before the session. All areas of the body can be successfully treated.
Dr. Lom works at ExpressCare Health and Skin Center. She can be reached at 477-2873.