A recent patient encounter inspired this blog post about laser hair removal, specifically in the underarm area (i.e. the armpit). Obviously, this is an area about which most, if not all, males do not worry, but is usually the bane for many women.
The patient in question who presented for treatment in the underarm area vented her frustration about care of that region. She had very dark and coarse hair in general, which requires her to shave her underarms at least several times a week.
She had previously tried depilatories such as Nair, which got her skin very irritated and broke out in a rash. She also tried waxing, which yielded ineffective and, at best, short term results.
She knew that shaving was a long term solution, since the hair only grew back. Plus, ingrown hairs that occurred frequently in that area meant her skin was never really smooth even with shaving.
Finally, she decided to give laser hair removal a try. She was pleasantly surprised that we used a numbing cream over the area prior to the treatment.
Although she described herself as “spleeny” (as Mainers would say), she tolerated the procedure quite well with the expected rubber band snap feeling that occurred intermittently during the process. Redness in the area was completely resolved by a cold compress following the treatment, and she did not feel self-conscious about the appearance as she left the office.
As many of you know, hair and its appearance and distribution on the male and female body depends on a variety of factors, including age, skin color, hair color, hormonal changes, and genetics. Similarly, multiple factors can affect permanent reduction of hair growth. Generally, darker and thicker hair is removed faster and in fewer treatments, as the laser beam is more attracted to hair of a darker color and its concentration at the hair root.
In general, laser hair removal treatments are scheduled about 4 weeks apart, but can be further apart if needed. On average, 8-10 treatments can result in almost complete hair-free status in a particular area. Males whose hair growth is stimulated by testosterone, females who have hormonal changes naturally or due to medication, and those going through gender transition may take longer primarily due to the hormonal issues.
Getting back to the patient who inspired the article, she was also surprised with how quick the procedure was as the underarms can be treated in about 10 minutes after numbing. After 2 treatments, she is now down to shaving every 10 days as opposed to before the treatment, when she had to shave every 2 days.
She now notices that the hair is not coming in as fast, is softer and less coarse, AND the shaving bumps and ingrown hairs have not come back! She is determined to be shaving and hair free in the underarms soon. She is also looking to where to treat unwanted hair next, but is leaning to the bikini line as the area that bugs her most after the underarms.
While there is a short term cost obviously, she feels that constant shaving is clearly outweighed by the long term benefits. Not needing to buy Nair and razors or make endless waxing appointments into the future also helps.
If you also have pesky areas of hair that are driving you crazy, whether in the underarm area or anywhere else on your body, please feel free to call us for your next complementary and confidential appointment at (207) 873-2158. We will discuss how to address your needs.
I always tell people that I have performed laser hair removal on several areas of the body over the past 15 years (except the top of the head), so there is no need to be embarrassed. Whatever hair issue you have, you are not alone.