Unwanted facial or body hair can be embarrassing and emotionally disturbing and is mostly unacceptable. Many home remedies, creams and methods have been tried or used down the ages but none have been useful in considerably reducing the density of hair. With the introduction of laser technology into modern medicine excess facial hair in women (hirsutism) and also men with excess undesirable body hair now have a lasting solution.Hirsutism is the excess growth of terminal hairs in a male distribution in women. While most women have fine, faintly visible hairs over the face which is normal some women have coarse thick black hair that grow on the face and body as in men. About 50% of hirsutism is due to high levels of male hormones (androgens). Women normally have low levels of androgens, though levels vary. Higher levels can over-stimulate the hair follicles and lead to excess hair growth.Hirsutism has many causes. Hormonal abnormalities are an important cause. This may be the result of polycystic ovarian syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome (increased cortisol from pituitary, adrenals or steroid intake), congenital adrenal hyperplasia and some tumours. Some medications can also produce excessive facial hair. In the familial type hormones are absolutely normal. In addition, obesity that is so common today can worsen hirsutism, as male hormones are higher in obese individuals.
Therefore your doctor will ask for certain blood tests that measure the amount of male hormones. In addition an ultrasound or CT scan may be done to check the ovaries and adrenal glands for cysts or tumors. Treatment of hirsutism will involve treating the underlying hormonal imbalance. Weight loss is an important step in reducing the male hormones. The commonly used medications are oral contraceptives which contain estrogen and progesterone and anti-androgens which block the male hormone receptors thereby preventing the actions of male hormones.
The simplest and the most effective method of treatment of excessive unwanted hair is laser hair reduction (LHR). The ‘R’ in LHR is used to denote reduction and that it is a is not laser hair ‘removal’ as with repeated sessions of laser we can reduce the hair growth to a large extent and few hairs may remain at the end of 6 sessions which may require further touch up sessions.
Few things that you need to know before you go for a LHR. What is the machine that is going to be used is it a diode? Long pulsed NdYag? Or is it only IPL? The efficacy will vary depending on the equipment. The diode being the most effective.
The company of the laser equipment should also be asked for as lower end machines do not give satisfactory results.
Who is going to perform the LHR? Is the person performing the procedure adequately trained?
Pre cooling and post cooing of skin is extremely important to reduce the pain and side effects.
What can you expect?
You will start seeing a visible decrease in the density of hairs after 2 sessions. After each session the hair that grows will be less thicker than before the start of LHR. You will achieve your maximum results at the end of 6-8 sessions.
Removal of unwanted excessive hair over the face can greatly improve appearance as well as self-confidence.
Dr M Shraddha MD, DNB, PhD.
Apollo Medical Centre