updated 30 Mar 2014, 09:48
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Fri, Jan 17, 2014
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Women's hairy problem

Many women are plagued with excessive body hair or what is termed as hirsutism. Unfortunately it's a major issue with Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern women.

It's normal for women to have hair growing on their underarms, legs and forearms but the hair is fine. In hirsute women, hair growth is very thick, dense and longer. Some women even have thick hair growing in unusual areas such as the chin, nipples, chest and buttocks. There are also women who start growing hair on their chin when they approach menopause and it is due to testosterone exerting its effect with the decline of oestrogen.

Facial hair is difficult to conceal and can be most embarrassing. Those with hairy legs who shave or wax will find that the hair grows back within 48 hours while some develop multiple boils that leave unsightly marks on the legs. Unfortunately, the cause of hirsutism is genetics and/or hormones and not much can be done medically to stop the hair growth.

There are many hair removal methods such as shaving, waxing, threading, depilatory creams, IPL (intense pulsed light) and laser. However, for hirsute women, the best solution is to use laser. The light energy is specific and targets the root of the hair follicle. Reduction is noticed after five sessions and total clearance can be achieved subsequently. The effect is permanent but there can be regrowth if there is hormonal imbalance again.

The ND-Yag and Diode lasers are the most effective for hair removal. They are also safe on tanned skin. In Singapore, lasers can only be operated by a doctor and treatment has to be carried out in a medical clinic. Hirsute women are advised to seek treatment from doctors who are experts in laser hair removal.

It is imperative that hair removal be done before hair becomes grey as lasers work on a technology that requires pigmentation in the hair follicle. Thus you should treat all facial hair early as once grey, it is near impossible to clear the hair permanently.

Dr Komathy Rajaratnam is the founder of The Lifestyle Clinic at 16-03 Camden Medical Centre, Tel: 6733-0788. Her articles in upcoming issues will deal with beauty and aesthetic issues relevant to the Indian body type.

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