The growth of hair on the human body is not as simple as it may first seem.
So that you can fully understand the options available to you for hair removal, we have attempted here to explain all you need to know about hair growth.
Each hair grows from a structure in the skin called a pilosebaceous (pillow-seb-aye-shos) unit otherwise known as a hair follicle.
At the very bottom of the follicle is the dermal papilla containing a group of germination cells from which the growth of all hair begins. Each individual hair follicle has its own cycle of growing, falling out and resting. Humans are constantly shedding hair from all over the body. From 25 to 50 scalp hairs are shed every day. The lifetime of a hair varies a great deal among the various body areas and will differ from person to person. Lashes and
brows may last 4 to 5 months, a scalp hair may average 2 to 4 years, but on some people last up to 7 years.
That’s a lot of hair!
The worse scenario is there can be as many as 500 hair follicles or more per square centimetre of skin, but only 10% (or 50) may actually be growing at any one time. For this reason you may actually have more hair in the area you wish to be treated than you ever realised, particularly if you have been plucking on a regular basis. If you pluck you hair today it will take 6 to 12 weeks for it to appear on the surface again. It is physically impossible for it to appear sooner. So you will see, that hair that you might have thought was growing back two weeks after treatment with waxing or
other methods, was in fact a hair from another hair follicle.
The stages of the growth cycle are important when considering permanent hair removal, because many methods rely on the hair being in the anagen phase of hair growth to allow the most successful treatment. This is also true for treatment with the Coolglide process.
Permanent Hair Reduction
Lasers have of course also been used to destroy port wine stains, tattoos, thread veins and other pigmented lesions whilst inflicting limited damage on the surrounding skin. This is possible as the wavelength of light targets a single pigment in the skin such as melanin, haemoglobin or ink. The light is selectively absorbed by the target structure only, leaving the other skin components intact. Lasers used for hair removal target the dark pigment of the hair and cells around the hair follicle. The pigment is at it’s darkest whilst the hair it is in the anagen or growing phase. A beam of laser light of around 10 mm in diameter will destroy many hairs in that area in one flash. Many published research papers show excellent permanent reduction in hair growth following laser treatments. This method is now very popular and fast becoming the preferred way to treat unwanted facial and body hair.