We ladies love long luxurious hair on our heads however we are not so much of a fan of having it on the rest of our bodies, right? Anyone remember bleaching the hair on the upper lip? Or the chemical wonder in a tube that sent hair, and several layers of skin, swirling down the drain and not to mention the smell of it was enough for you to pass out in the bathroom? If not, look it up or ask your mum about it. She’ll tell you she doesn’t wear short shorts anymore for a reason having nothing to do with age. Since the desire for hairlessness on certain body parts has stood the test of time, many have turned to laser hair removal.
Dr Glenn Murray from Absolute Cosmetic Medicine was sceptical over 20 years ago when he tried this procedure on his wife: “We tried it on her bikini line only to find that it didn’t come back and that we may have taken off more than we should have.” So let’s go deeper into the world of laser and you can decide whether this treatment is for you.
What is it exactly? Laser hair removal is done with a machine emitting an intense pulse light or IPL. It’s a fairly pure light used to heat up the pigment and follicle of hair which kills the follicle. New hair cannot grow from a damaged or dead follicle. Here’s where it gets tricky sometimes other factors such as fluctuating hormone levels in the future may trigger off dormant hair follicles that had not grown previously. It’s not the old hair coming back but new hair that has grown from follicles, which have not been previously damaged. This is why sometimes laser is often though not to be permanent. With another trip to your local IPL specialist and BAM hairless again.
Who can use IPL machines? In some areas, only licensed physicians can use IPL machines but other places allow the use in a clinical setting where there may not be a licensed physician on site. To further confuse matters, hair removal machines are sold on TV and in drug stores as “medical grade” giving credence to the idea that they are actual medical devices. In fact, many are extremely weak and unlikely to work well at all. Others are stronger and may work to a degree but could cause permanent skin damage if used incorrectly.
Clinic, doctor or DIY?
The answer here is clinic or doctor. You don’t cut your own hair and rarely paint your own nails! DO NOT do your own laser hair removal. First, you may get carried away and take off too much or do serious damage to your skin. Secondly, removing unwanted hair requires more than picking up a device at the discount store and aiming it your face or bikini line. The ads on TV make it look as simple as waving a wand-like object over unwanted hair and magically, hair is gone.
Proper laser hair removal is a process. The process works but takes time and more than one treatment. Cost per treatment at a clinic is usually less expensive than a doctor’s office. However, clinic treatments are usually higher in number to achieve the same results as a doctor’s office so the cost can add up to about the same or higher. With saying all of this the questions still remains, does it really work
Before your treatment
Avoid the sun before your treatment. The treatment works better when there is a difference in tone between skin and hair. Tonal difference is why grey hairs, with less pigment, are more difficult but not impossible, to remove.
Plan timing around your period. Due to hormonal fluctuations and extra sensitivity in skin, avoid coming in 1-2 days prior to your period starting.
Don’t wax prior to treatment. Obviously, to remove hairs by damaging pigment and follicle, the laser needs to lock on to hair. Shaving is OK, and even recommended, as long as it isn’t a super close shave. Treatment works best when hair is about 1 mm in length, which is slight stubble.
Be prepared to pamper yourself. Bring an ice pack for sensitive or hot areas after treatment and use a bland (no dyes or perfumes) moisturiser and follow instructions carefully.
The permanence of laser hair removal is appealing. Constant waxing and shaving is tiresome and time consuming. Honestly, we have much better things to do than to be constantly defuzzing ourselves. Our mothers always told us to wear nice clean underwear in case we were in an accident. Well, wouldn’t it be great to also have smooth hairless skin all the time too?
Acne, large pores, blackheads and oily skin are some of the most common skin conditions that many of us deal with, even into adulthood. Keeping these skin issues under control can be quite the challenge, so we’ve put together 7 skin care tips to help you get healthy skin.
1. Use the right products
You may be using the wrong skin care products for your skin type. Wash your face twice a day with a basic cleanser to keep your skin bacteria-free, and make sure you use an oil-free moisturiser. It’s also a good idea to try natural and organic skin care which has gentler ingredients as well as no preservatives and parabens (these can cause skin problems).
2. Reduce stress
Like hormonal imbalances, stress can cause the skin to flare up. Thankfully though, this is preventable. Try reducing your work load and activities in the day, spend some time meditating, doing yoga or just relaxing and doing what you enjoy, and you’ll find that your acne gradually improves.
3. Get sufficient sleep
Maintaining a healthy sleeping routine is very important to not just your skin, but your physical and mental wellbeing, so make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, cutting out caffeine intake in the late afternoon, drinking chamomile tea, taking a soak in the bath, and switching off the TV 30 minutes before bed can help to reduce stress, helping you sleep.
4. Drink plenty of water. Hydration is key to healthy skin and your general health, so try to get into a routine of consuming at least 2 litres of water a day. Drinking plenty of water flushes out toxins, keeps you hydrated from within and regulates your digestion, all key factors for healthy skin.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Why is it we’re mad for the latest antioxidant-rich, vitamin-laden skin care, when we can get this naturally from within by eating more fruits and vegetables? Some fresh produce are specifically amazing for keeping your skin healthy and glowing. These include strawberries, plums, orange, red grapes, kiwi, pink grapefruit, artichoke, beetroot, cabbage, broccoli, red chicory, red chilis, dark and leafy greens, sweet potato and carrot, among many others.
6. Check with your doctor whether you might have a hormone imbalance
An imbalance in hormone levels can cause a host embarrassing skin conditions. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects an estimated 7 percent of all women, with symptoms including excessive hair growth, oily skin, blackheads and acne. Although there is no cure, your doctor might prescribe the contraceptive pill or progesterone to help balance your hormones and control the problem. If you do have PCOS, this will likely help with other symptoms of the condition too. Remember that treatments such as laser hair removal may not work in the long-term reduction of hair caused by a hormonal imbalance.
7. See a dermatologist
If you can’t find the cause for your skin troubles, a visit to a specialist can be very revealing. A dermatologist might be able to help determine whether an allergy is the cause of your problem, or may subscribe some effective products to help control, the condition.