Permanent hair removal questions

What is meant by permanent hair removal?

Permanent hair removal means that the hair including the hair follicle will be destroyed. These hairs don’t grow back. However, this does not mean that there will never be hair growth again on the treated area! The skin contains “sleeping” hairs that can one day become active due to hormonal changes, for example. These “sleeping” hairs cannot be destroyed with the current techniques and can therefore cause new hair growth later. Because of this you have to take into account that yearly repeat treatments may be necessary.

What is the principle of permanent hair removal?

To permanently get rid of hair, the hair follicle needs to be destroyed. With laser, the hair root is heated by a powerful light source that penetrates through the skin into the hair roots. A type of light is used that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. The hair absorbs this light and therefore becomes warm. This destroys the hair follicle under the skin so that no new hair can grow. Depilation is most active on the hairs that are in the growth phase because only those hairs are still attached to the nutrient bulb. Since not all hairs are in the same growth cycle at the same time, a number of treatments is required to achieve an optimal result. The hair grow cycle consists of 3 different phases: growth phase, transition phase (hair falls out) and resting phase. The duration of the different phases of the hair cycle depends on the body area.

What are the different methods of permanent hair removal?

Hair removal by Electric epilation
By electric epilation the hair follicle is heated with a very thin needle that is inserted along the hair into the hair follicle. Then an electric current is applied in which the heat released is absorbed by the hair. This destroys the hair root. Every hair is treated in this way.

Advantages of electric epilation
• Suitable for all hair colours, including red, grey and light blonde
(this in contrast to laser / flash lamp treatment)

Disadvantages of electric epilation
• Lengthy process (hair by hair)
• Sensitive
• Expensive (due to large number of treatments)
• Very dependent on the expertise of the practitioner

Hair removal with light

Hair removal with light is the most modern and elegant way of hair removal. With laser, the hair root is heated by a powerful light source that penetrates through the skin into the hair roots. A type of light is used that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. The hair absorbs this light and therefore becomes warm. This destroys the hair follicle under the skin so that no new hair can grow. Hair removal with light is not possible for red, light blonde and grey hair. These hair colours contain almost no pigment, which is necessary to heat the hair follicle with light. The only way to permanently remove these hairs is by means of electric epilation. There are two different hair removal systems: LASER and flash lamp such as (IPL, VPL, LHE).

What is the difference between LASER and flash lamps (IPL, VPL, LHE)?

LASERS provide a special form of light that, in addition to a powerful parallel beam, consists of only one wavelength (one colour). This makes them ideally suitable for a specific skin treatment, such as hair removal or rosacea. Hair removal lasers use a specific wavelength that is only absorbed by pigment (in the hair), without heating the surrounding tissue. These laser systems have been specially developed for hair removal. Flash lamps (IPL, VPL, LHE) emit a wide range of wavelengths, just like a regular lamp. As a result, they do not only work on the pigment, but also on the moisture in the skin and the red blood cells in the blood vessels. The VPL and LHE systems are variations on IPL and are therefore not LASER. Flash lamps can damage all tissue components in and directly under the skin. But by using a filter for the lamp, certain wavelengths are removed and rendered harmless. The bundle of light now released can be used for hair removal without damaging other tissue. However, a large part of the light is lost as a result. So less heat is released to the hair. The flash lamps also work with large heads. As a result, the energy power decreases even more and therefore the destruction of the hair follicle is less effective. This is one of the reasons why more treatments are needed with flash lamps than with LASER.

Does laser hair removal work for everyone?

Unfortunately not. Successful hair removal with light simply requires pigment. So hairs that do not contain pigment can still not be removed with this method. While some providers may want to make you believe otherwise, there is currently no working method for grey, light blonde and reddish hair. For people with dark skin, the colour of the hair must be darker than the colour of the skin.

Is laser hair removal dangerous?

No absolutely not. The modern professional hair removal lasers have been specially developed for permanent hair removal and do not cause any side effects. You should be aware that heat can temporarily lead to small pigment shifts. This only happens when the skin is coloured by the sun or tanning bed.Do not get laser treatment when you have been extensively exposed to the sun or tanning bed. In that case wait 5 to 6 weeks before starting your treatment.Pigment shifts are uncommon and will generally recover. A positive side effect of laser hair removal is improvement of the skin structure.During treatment, the eyes are well protected by special glasses. The laser light is completely neutralised in this way and cannot cause damage to the eyes.

Are laser hair removal treatments painful?

The light energy is converted to heat, which destroys the hair follicle. As a result, you may experience a brief, slightly painful feeling. At the same time, the skin is cooled by the head of the laser, so that the surrounding tissue is not damaged. After the treatment, the skin may show some redness and feel slightly burnt. Coolpads and Aloe Vera gel provide relief. Over the weeks the destroyed hair follicle is filled with collagen. This is natural skin tissue. Where electric hair removal fills the space with scar tissue, laser hair removal fills the space with normal skin tissue. This is one of the reasons why the skin texture improves.

Which body parts can be treated?

All body parts are suitable for laser hair removal with the exception of the eyebrows. However, the part between the eyebrows can be treated. Laser and flash lamps are not suitable for shaping eyebrows. In addition, the intense light must not enter the eye socket.

How many treatments do I need?

Hair grows in three phases: growth phase, transition phase and rest phase. Only hairs that are firmly attached to the hair follicle (growth phase) will absorb the heat well, so that the hair papilla in the follicle is destroyed. The hair, which is loose and about to fall out (transition phase), will not get destroyed. Also the “sleeping hairs” (resting phase) cannot be destroyed. Therefore, for a permanent result, the area must be treated several times. As a rule, a minimum of 4 treatments is required and an average of 6 to 8. This applies to hair removal with powerful, high-quality lasers (not for IPL flash lamp equipment).

What I can and can’t do during the period of treatment

First of all, you are no longer allowed to pluck, wax or epilate. The hair end must be in the hair follicle for successful treatment. You may, however, shave or use a depilatory cream. In addition, you should not expose the skin to excessive sunlight. This means that from 6 weeks before the first treatment up to and including 6 weeks after the last treatment, excessive sunlight must be avoided in the area. Of course you can go outside, but in the summer you must use a sunblock (SPF 50), so that the skin is well protected. This precaution is necessary to avoid the risk of temporary pigment shifts.

Am I now for always hair-free?

When the hair is firmly attached to the hair follicle and is therefore fully heated during the treatment, no new hair can grow from it. Does that mean that you are hair-free for the rest of your life? Probably not 100%. After 4 to 5 treatments, the treated area will look almost hair-free. However, downy hairs remain and can develop into new adult hairs over the years under the influence of hormones, medication or excessive irritation. These hairs can then be removed permanently. There is one consolation, the total number of hair follicles has already been determined before birth.  You no longer develop new hair follicles during your life.

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