Catching the Hair at the Right Time

Barrera, Alfonso MD FACSAs you’ve seen in prior blogs, Dr. Barrera is a big proponent of helping his patients get their hair back with FUE hair transplants. But he’s not above getting rid of hair, as well, at least not the unwanted variety. Laser hair removal is one of our most popular non-surgical procedures. And winter in Houston is a great time to do so.

Three cycles

Our hairs operate like independent contractors, five million of them. Each hair is doing its own thing. Each hair is moving through the grow cycle on its own.

That cycle includes the anagen (growth) cycle, the catagen (transitional phase between growth and rest), and the telogen phase (rest). The catagen and telogen phases involve stopping nourishment to the hair, shedding it, and restarting a new hair shaft. When the hair is in either of these phases of the growth cycle laser energy has no effect on it; the hairs are already on their way out. And the laser energy can’t get into the follicle to damage it.

For our lasers to be most effective on an individual hair, it needs to be actively anchored in the hair follicle. This happens only in the anagen phase. The hair is receiving nourishment through the hair follicle and it is still growing. The body isn’t ready to shed this hair yet. When we apply pulses of laser energy to this hair, the melanin in the hair shaft absorbs the light and it converts to heat. The heat travels down the hair shaft into the follicle. The heat damages or destroys the hair follicle, and this precludes it from growing hair in the future.

You can see the challenge. Five million hairs, only some of them in the anagen phase at any one time. That’s why it takes multiple laser hair removal sessions to build the level of permanent hair reduction. The goal is to catch more and more hair in the growth phase.

This is why the FDA approval for lasers and hair removal is for what it deems “permanent hair reduction.” You notice that doesn’t say complete removal. Most patients can achieve up to about a 90 percent reduction in their treatment areas.

Where can I have laser hair removal?

The best question would be “Where can I NOT have laser hair removal?” At Dr. Barrera’s we remove unwanted hair all over our patients. The most popular spots for women are the underarms, bikini area, sideburns, upper lip, and legs. For men, the most popular spots are the back and shoulders. Some men also opt for full chest hair removal.

The only place you cannot have laser hair removal is inside the ears, inside the nostrils, and on the male genitalia.

Interested in saying a final goodbye to unwanted hair? Call Dr. Barrera’s at (713) 468-5200 to schedule a consultation. Once we know where you want to remove the hair we can give you a good idea of how many treatment sessions will be required. That’s why December is a good time to start, as by the spring your unwanted hair will be mostly gone.

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