There are many options available for women who want to get rid of unwanted hair. In this article, FBW’s expert team explain the “origin story” of excess facial and body hair, as well as the most effective professional solutions for this common problem.
Patients at our practice are eager to understand why their hair seems to be growing out of control. Our experts tell them to look no further than hormones called androgens.
Androgens, which include testosterone, are classified as “male” hormones, but both males and females produce them. When certain medical conditions cause a woman to over-produce androgens, she will experience male-pattern hair growth and unwanted hair on the face and body.
Women can experience problems with unwanted hair on many parts of their bodies, literally from head to toe. The most common treatment locations we address at FBW are:
- Upper lip
- Bikini line
There is no such thing as a normal amount of body hair, only what is typical or average. Most women develop what is known as peach fuzz, fine hair that develops above the lips and on the chin, as well as on the arms, abdomen, chest and back. The most common triggers for excess hair growth include:
Adrenal Gland Disorders – The adrenal glands are responsible for hormone production. Excess hair growth can occur when the glands are affected by disorders such as adrenal cancer, tumours, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and Cushing’s disease.
Excess Weight – There is a link between obesity and hormone dysfunction. For this reason, the experts at FBW recommend that patients lose weight as a way to correct androgen levels before resorting to medications.
Hirsutism – This condition is genetic and makes itself known through increased coarse hair growth on the upper lip and chin. It can also lead to the development of excess hair on a woman’s chest and pubic areas.
Hypertrichosis – A condition that can be either congenital or acquired later in life, hypertrichosis produces hair growth above and beyond what is normal for the age and race of an individual, regardless of gender. Symptoms can range from hairy tufted ears, a mono-brow, and heavy beard growth, to excessive hair all over the body.
Medications – Many prescription medications have been linked to unwanted hair on women. These include anabolic steroids, hair-growth medications, breast cancer drugs, and prescriptions for dry eye disease.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – PCOS is a hormonal condition that can trigger excess hair growth. If unwanted hair growth is experienced with sudden skin problems, menstrual cycle disorders, acne, or weight gain, the medical experts at FBW urge you to contact your physician immediately.
A sudden onset of symptoms may indicate that you have a tumour that is releasing male hormones.
A change in hair growth may be embarrassing, but, more seriously, the underlying hormonal imbalance can comprise a woman’s health. For this reason, we encourage women with excess hair growth to contact our offices for a consultation.
Women have many options when it comes to combatting excess hair. Our specialists recognise their value, but believe the risks and side effects they carry make many of them less than ideal.
- Bleaching – Bleaching makes excess hair less obvious but does not remove it. Furthermore, bleaching hair on a woman’s upper lip and chin can irritate delicate facial skin, particularly when performed by a non-professional.
- Depilatory creams – Depilatory creams use chemicals to destroy the hair shaft by breaking the di-sulphide bonds of hair proteins. Creams are preferable to shaving, another form of depilation, because the hair that grows back is soft, not stubbly. However patients at FBW have complained that hair removal creams irritate their skin and cause dermatitis.
- Electrolysis – In electrolysis, the operator threads a thin wire into a single hair follicle and uses an electric current to destroy that hair. Once considered the gold standard in permanent hair removal, FBW experts note that it can be quite painful, and multiple treatments on a single hair may be necessary to destroy it fully. This makes electrolysis both time-consuming and expensive.
- Plucking, Tweezing, and Twist-Threading – All these forms of hair removal can be effective in the short term. They are often performed as DIY treatments, but a professional achieves better results. If performed too frequently, these treatments can cause dark spots around the follicles and permanent hair loss in places such as the eyebrows.
- Shaving – Shaving removes hair above the level of the follicular opening in your skin. It is the most common method of removing unwanted hair, and certainly the cheapest. The problem is that it leaves unsightly stubble, and many women find that they need to shave up to twice daily.
- Waxing – A layer of gently warmed cosmetic wax is applied to large areas of skin affected by excess hair. When the wax cools and dries, it is pulled off, taking the excess hairs with it. This is a popular treatment frequently provided in nail salons. However, unlike the experts at FBW, nail experts do not have the training to identify sensitive skin that may experience an allergic reaction to chemicals in the wax. In addition, waxing carries a risk for ingrown hairs and post-waxing breakouts.
Our experts recommend highly focused, intense pulsed light energy as the best solution for removing unappealing excess hair. It is a highly effective treatment and one that causes only minimal discomfort to patients.
At FBW, we treat patients with Ultra VPL, an exciting new breakthrough in effective hair removal. It wins our top choice as a professional hair removal treatment because it
- Emits light across a range of wavelengths
- Allows for a more gentle treatment and pleasant patient experience
- May be used on virtually all skin types
This powerful aesthetic beauty tool generates light that is absorbed by the melanin (dark pigment) in hair follicles beneath the skin’s surface. The melanin absorbs the light and converts it to heat. The heat damages stem cells in the bulb of the hair follicle.
This ultimately destroys the hairs and prevents re-growth for up to two years.
Any hair that does regrow will be finer and lighter than it was before, and can be re-treated if necessary. Reduction is considered permanent when a significant amount of hair does not return for a period of time longer than a complete hair growth cycle. You can trust the trained experts at FBW to let you know when your intense pulsed light hair removal treatment is complete and you have achieved optimal results.
With so many options for hair removal, you may wonder why FBW’s experts are so enthusiastic about Ultra VPL treatments. We like it for the same reasons our patients do:
- Precision – Ultra VPL hair removal destroys dark, coarse, unwanted hair, but leaves surrounding skin unharmed.
- Speed – Ultra VPL takes about a second for a laser to remove excess hair in an area the size of a dollar coin because the light can destroy unwanted hairs in groups, not just one at a time. This means that small areas such as the upper lip can be treated effectively in less than a minute.
- Predictable, Permanent, and Pleasing – 90% of patients who undergo an intense pulse light treatment for unwanted hair enjoy permanent hair loss after three to five sessions.
There is no average number of sessions to achieve permanent hair removal with Ultra VPL. Each patient at FBW is unique, and we treat them that way.
Factors that impact the process include:
- The amount of hair you want to remove
- Your age
- Your skin type
- Your hormonal balance
- Your hair colour
- Your hair texture
If you’re troubled by thick, dark hair, you’re actually in luck when it comes to intense pulsed light hair removal treatments. People with darker hair traditionally achieve the best response with the VPL treatment protocol. Additionally, the thicker your hair, the quicker the results will be.
Although thick dark hair is the best target for Ultra VPL treatments at FBW, light hair can also be reduced and removed. The only hair that is not responsive to this treatment is white hair, as there is no melanin in the shaft to absorb the light.
The larger the contrast between hair and skin, the better the results will be. People with light skin and dark hair will generally need fewer treatments. They will find that the process goes more quickly, and they enjoy the best possible results. Ultra VPL hair removal is also performed on people with darker skin, but the results are slower to achieve and more sessions are required.
During your preliminary consultation, you will be given instructions that will help ensure an excellent VPL hair removal experience at FBW. Some of those guidelines include:
- Stop Waxing and Tweezing – Avoid waxing for six weeks prior to treatment. The laser needs to be able to identify the hair follicle. Shaving is acceptable.
- Say No to Sunning – Tanning of the skin can result in pigmentation changes in the areas you treat.
- Cut Out the Caffeine – Avoid caffeine for 24 hours before your session, especially if you are prone to anxiety.
On the day before your treatment, shave with a clean new razor. This will help the light locate the follicles. It’s important that the razor is clean to ensure that there are no lingering bacteria to cause contact dermatitis after your treatment.
What should you expect during your Ultra VPL-assisted hair removal treatment? At FBW, you can expect to be pampered and treated like a V.I.P. Our specialists are also experts in patient care and comfort.
Skilled professionals perform all excess hair removal treatments at FBW. Each practitioner is extensively trained before performing any treatments on our patients, so you can relax, knowing that you’re in capable, compassionate hands.
A pre-treatment consultation is necessary so that our professionals can offer you the safest and most effective treatment plan possible. During your consultation, you will be asked questions about your health status and lifestyle. We will also determine your Fitzpatrick Skin Type to guarantee that your treatment is safe and comfortable.
During this consultation you will be patch-tested for Ultra VPL treatment to ensure the settings most suitable for your skin.
Prior to each treatment, we make sure that all hairs requiring removal have been shaved. A gel that enhances the effect of the treatment is applied, and then the treatment begins.
Your FBW expert will meticulously adjust the settings on our Ultra VPL according to the location of the unwanted hair, its colour and thickness, and your skin tone. A series of test pulses are performed to ensure that the best settings have been achieved. When that is verified, the pulses continue until the treatment area has been fully addressed and excess hair removed.
Excess hair removal works over time, but you will see results right after your first session with our Ultra VPL. Before you leave the FBW practice, you will have an opportunity to schedule a subsequent treatment in four to six weeks.
Maintenance hair removal treatments with Ultra VPL may then be required every 6-18 weeks to treat any fine regrowth, especially if the excess hair is due to a health or hormonal issue that produces hair on testosterone-dominated body areas such as the lip, chin, and nipples.
To make patients comfortable after an Ultra VPL treatment, FBW provides ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, and cold water to ease any discomfort. Your skin will be sensitive for the first 24 hours following a treatment and should be treated gently and with care.
The experts at FBW will provide post-treatment care instructions to ensure optimal comfort, wellbeing, and results. These instructions include the following:
- Do Not Exfoliate – If you normally use rough exfoliating products or tools on your skin, you should eliminate them during this period.
- Stay out of Hot Water – Take warm, not hot showers to avoid irritating your skin.
After 24 hours you should be able to return to all your normal activities. However, for two weeks after your hair removal treatment at FBW, you should
- Protect Your Skin Against the Sun – Avoid the sun during its most punishing hours whenever possible. Always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with zinc to provide maximum protection against skin damage from UVA and UVB rays.
- Stick to Shaving – Refrain from waxing and tweezing any excess hair you find in and around the treatment area as you continue your laser treatments. Shaving does not affect the process.
Professional, pulsed light hair removal is an effective way to get rid of excess hair on the face and body. The two most common side effects of this treatment are:
- Changes in skin pigment – Skin that is mistreated may turn lighter or darker after the treatment. This can be a temporary problem or one that persists. The hair removal experts at FBW know the correct setting to minimise this risk.
- Irritation to the skin – Minor redness, swelling, and discomfort may be experienced immediately after a treatment. Most hair removal patients at FBW report that these symptoms fade in a matter of hours.
Excess hair removal with Ultra VPL at FBW is not painless. Patients feel both the heat and energy generated by intense pulsed light hair treatments. Most of our clients say it feels as though someone is flicking a small rubber band on their skin. Ouch, but not OUCH!
Sensations will differ between clients and body areas.
During a consultation at FBW, our experts talk at length to women who visit us with an interest in professional hair removal. They assess each individual’s
- General health
- Understanding of what is involved in a hair removal treatment with Ultra VPL
- Expectations about what the results of the treatment will be
Beyond these criteria, the two most important factors that influence whether or not we recommend that a patient undergo hair removal using light therapy are
- Skin tone
- Hair texture
Additionally, while professional laser-assisted hair removal is appropriate and useful for women with blonde or red hair, it will not be as effective as it is for women with darker hair tones. This is because the laser picks up the contrast between the hair follicle and the skin pigment, and that difference is less pronounced in women with blonde and red hair. As a result, additional treatments may be required.
The experts at FBW recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing wait to undergo this type of hair removal.
It is currently illegal to use the wording “Permanent Hair Removal” in Australia. This is because hairs in the catagen and telogen hair growth cycles will not be successfully treated.
Furthermore, no two patients are alike in their desire to be hair-free, so there is no “average” price for successful excess hair removal with Ultra VPL treatments. The four most common variables that impact the final cost are
- The skill and experience of the provider
- The size of the area being treated
- The number of treatments required
- The part of the country where your treatment is taking place
If you’re unhappy with excess hair on your face or body, FBW wants to change that. You can reach us by phone during business hours or use the booking feature of this website to contact us and let us explain how effective and affordable professional hair removal treatment can be