The methods of removing unwanted hair have gradually evolved over the years. Men and women have been dealing with this issue since early history. If archaeologists’ findings are to be believed, cave drawings of people using seashells as tweezers, and sharpened rocks as razors, are further proof of the historicity of hair removal.
Since the beginning of time, the top reasons why people opt to remove hair on their face or body are founded on necessity and body image. More than anything, it is a personal choice that should be respected. Whether it’s a temporary fix or a more permanent treatment is entirely up to you.
Read more for FAQs on laser hair removal
Today, three of the most common ways to get rid of facial and body hair are: manual plucking or shaving, topical treatments (creams and gels), and laser hair removal. While the DIY way is almost everyone’s go-to hair removal practice, some do it with creams while others go for waxing.
There are always pros and cons for every method, and results may vary depending on skin type or the condition of the unwanted hair. For a more lasting and relatively easier-to-achieve outcome, however, the laser procedure is among the most vouched-for.
At The Aesthetics Centre Singapore, we understand that most decisions come with some hesitation. In this blog, we give you a feel of what the common hair removal methods entail, and how each can affect you.
The Quick Fix
People in the Ice Age shaved their hair so that their skin won’t absorb too much water, which could lead to frostbite. Early Egyptians, on the other hand, did it for hygiene purposes, and mostly because it was just too hot back then.
Moving on to the Renaissance Period, it’s clear from the nude paintings and sculptures of Greek goddesses that being hairless was the norm, at least for women. Shaving the underarms and legs became popular in the 1900s as shorter sleeves and higher hemlines became fashionable.
Tweezing and shaving are inexpensive, and can be done at home at your leisure, but they can lead to ingrown hairs and skin irritation. The constant friction and abrasion could also make the skin feel rough and look discolored.
As for the after-effect, anyone who has nicked themselves with a razor or endured the burning sensation of plucking can tell you that it’s not pleasant. Nearly the same experience can be expected when waxing (or at least a wince as you rip off the wax strip).
The Topical Solution
It was around the 1920s when the first razor for women was invented, and it didn’t take long for an alternative to come along. The first chemical depilatory creams, mousses, and gels were marketed as a “faster and easier way” to be rid of body hair.
The “fast” and “easy” parts are true enough—apply the cream, mousse, or gel; wait a few minutes; then wipe off the hair. Products such as these have ingredients that induce hair loss while reducing the tensile strength of the keratin.
How safe and effective they are, however, depends on the product and your skin’s reaction to it. For those with sensitive skin, especially, the use of chemical-based products is not always advisable. While it does remove hair, sometimes it takes more than one attempt to get all the hair off.
Granted, this approach to hair removal is less expensive than laser treatments, but do consider the money spent over time. First, the more efficacious products tend to be costlier. Second, you have to do it repeatedly to keep off the unwanted hair.
The Laser Option
The use of lasers for hair removal gained popularity in the late 1990s, when the US FDA signed it off as “good to go” for consumers. Let’s get this straight: laser hair removal doesn’t remove hair permanently; rather, it works by drastically decreasing hair volume and growth.
By this process, pinpoints of laser light are beamed at the targeted area, causing the weakening of the follicles, and inhibiting growth. Hair does tend to grow back but in shorter lengths and within a longer amount of time.
There are different kinds of laser hair removal devices each specifically designed for unwanted underarm or facial hair, and larger areas like the back, chest, and shoulders. But there are also laser devices that can be used on the whole body.
At The Aesthetics Centre, we offer hair removal services using the GentleMax Pro™ by Candela™, which has been used widely in the industry for 20 years now. It is a dual-platform laser that delivers a 755nm Alexandrite laser and a 1064nm Nd:YAG laser. It can be used for different treatment options, and for most types of skin colouring.
When you’re going in for a laser hair removal procedure, here’s what to expect, according to WebMD:
- Hair on the targeted area will be trimmed up to a few millimeters off the skin’s surface
- Medication will be applied to anaesthetise the area prior to the treatment
- It could take a few adjustments to tune the machine to your specific requirements
- The doctor will be observing the effect of the treatment to check how your skin reacts
- You may feel some discomfort and, in some cases, a little pain
- Anti-inflammatory creams or lotions could be prescribed as needed
- It generally takes more than one session to complete the entire procedure
- The area that’s been treated could look and feel like it’s slightly sunburned for a few days
- The treated area should be protected from sun exposure for a few days post-procedure
- You should consult a doctor for post-procedure care and possible side effects
But before you head out to the nearest spa or salon, note that the GentleMax Pro™ hair removal treatment is intended for use by a licensed doctor and the procedure is meant to be performed at a certified clinic. Aside from administering the treatment, our doctor at The Aesthetics Centre will give you the consultation and advise that only a trained and accredited professional can.