Removing and damaging hair follicles are two different procedures. Hair removal professionals do not technically “remove” hair follicles to prevent hair growth; rather, they “damage” hair follicle root so the hair cannot grow back. Hair follicles are only removed by surgeons when they house a recurrent infection. The surgeon cuts out infected follicles and the skin above, and then stitches the wound shut. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to such extreme lengths to stop unwanted hair from growing back. Damaging the follicle through noninvasive methods will thwart growth as well.
Invest in laser hair removal for long-term hair reduction. A laser shoots energy down the hair shaft that kills the hair follicle. Up to six sessions will be required to disable hair shafts, and this method works best on dark hair. The procedure effectively stops hair growth above the lip, under the chin, on the neck and back, under the armpits, in the bikini zone or in any other area of unwanted growth. Expect little discomfort and only minor redness. Each session lasts a few minutes for small areas, and 30 minutes to 60 minutes for larger areas, such as arms. Some professionals will not shape the eyebrows with lasers because of the potential for eye damage.
Another hair removal technique is electrolysis. In this method, a needle slides into the skin next to the hair follicle and shoots an electric pulse at the root, killing the follicle. However, if the needle damages the skin, scarring may result. Professionals do not recommend this procedure for black skin because of the possibility of serious scarring. Electrolysis requires 10 sessions to 25 sessions for results, and patients experience moderate discomfort.
A third hair removal method to try is prescription creams and hormones. Topical prescriptions containing eflornithine 13.9% inhibit the enzyme that causes hair growth. Patients do not see results for several months. Also, for women with excessive hair growth caused by hormonal imbalances, oral contraceptives can help. By blocking the male hormones that are associated with excess facial hair, birth control pills and other medications can significantly reduce unwanted hair growth.
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