Did you know that many Japanese women get their face shaved by barbers using straight razors? Historically, the practice of removing hair is rooted in aesthetics and, some daresay, merely for vanity. However, those who suffer from hirsutism would disagree.
“Most women can get away with shaving just their armpits or legs,” says Sanie, 32, a nurse in Singapore. “I have to get rid of excess hair or my upper lip and jawline regularly. Or else it’ll look like I have a moustache and a five o’clock shadow.”
Generally, hair serves a significant purpose and naturally grows as a protective function. But for Sanie and up to 10% of females with hirsutism, there’s just too much of it in the wrong places. Removing the barely noticeablepeach fuzz’ on the face is one thing but “being mistaken for a dude is a blow for (some) women,” she adds.
So why do some females have more facial and body hair than others? Is there a solution to what women like Sanie see as a problem? Read on to find out!
What is Hirsutism?
Human hair is made of keratin protein and is attached to the skin through follicles. At the base of each follicle are hair bulbs containing hair shafts. These develop when cells in the hair bulb divide and grow. In women with hirsutism, the follicles are overstimulated, causing more hair growth than typical of females.
Women going through hirsutism have visible coarse or dark hair on the face or body. The condition usually manifests on the upper lip, chin, sideburn area, and the chest and abdomen—where hair commonly grows on males. These are mature hair, like the ones on the scalp, according to Medical News Today.
Hirsutism is mostly genetic, caused by medication or due to an underlying condition. It’s most likely an inherited condition “if you have a normal cyclic pattern of menstrual periods,” as Harvard Medical School puts it.
Infographic: Common Causes of Hirsutism
Common Hair Removal Options
Like most women, Sanie and others with hirsutism usually turn to DIY hair-removal solutions that can be done in the privacy of the home—mostly shaving and plucking. They too put themselves through salon treatments like waxing and threading. Depilatory creams and various products to get rid of unwanted hair are also a go-to.
However, one can only go so far with shaving, plucking, or waxing. It’s easy to do these on your own for the underarms, legs, and torso. But it may prove tricky for hard-to-reach areas such as the back and buttocks. Regular shaving or plucking off hair from the face is not always a good idea since the skin there is more sensitive.
Likewise, there’s the risk of razor burns, cuts, or swelling with shaving, plucking, or waxing. And nearly all women can attest to the inconvenience, discomfort, and occasional pain of doing it frequently. Ingrown hair could also develop on oft-shaved, plucked, or waxed areas.
Another downside is keratosis pilaris, where keratin builds up and gets clogged in the pores and prevents the hair shaft from growing out of the follicles—creating patches of ‘chicken skin’. In rare cases, folliculitis or infection of the hair follicle might develop.
On the other hand, there are depilatory creams that contain alkaline chemicals that safely react with the hairs on your body by breaking down the keratin. However, some products may cause rashes, mild irritation, burning, and itching.
Treatments Delivered by Dermatologists
Aside from home remedies and DIY solutions, there are various hair-removal treatments that a dermatologist can offer. One such treatment is electrolysis, where shortwave radio frequencies delivering heat are applied to the skin to destroy the growth centre of the hair. The doctor may also prescribe medication or FDA-approved prescription creams to reduce hair growth.
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 various types of skin colouring, including most types of Asian hair.
With medical-grade laser hair removal, 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.
The equipment used at The Aesthetics Centre can be set to wavelengths required by specific skin and hair types. They have built-in cooling systems that can be configured to the patient’s level of comfort. If there’s anything at all you need, our staff are on hand to answer all your questions.
How you address unwanted hair is a matter of personal preference—for Sanie and others with hirsutism, or any woman for that matter. It’s your choice whether to stick with quick-fixes such as shaving or plucking, or a more permanent solution such as laser hair removal.
At The Aesthetics Centre, we believe that every woman has the right to feel beautiful in her way. How she chooses to look is her decision. We’re here to help everyone attain their self-development goals and put your ‘hair scare’ to rest.
The Aesthetics Centre in Singapore for Laser Hair Removal
Your choice of hair removal method should ultimately come down to what works for YOU. Some may be satisfied with just thinning out the hair while others would want to go for the maximum 95% hair reduction, albeit more sessions are required.
Dr Anita Soosay will help you get to the root of your hair problem during the one-on-one consultation and performs the procedure assisted by professional laser technicians to ensure your safety. Our friendly, professional, and honest team are equipped to provide top-quality treatment that is based on a good understanding of the medical-grade lasers we operate.
Let The Aesthetics Centre guide you on your first step to hair-free silky-smooth skin. Be beautiful the way you want, how you want, and just glow with it