In what seems like an ironic twist, the doctor who introduced Minoxidil almost 30 years ago to balding Filipinos to help them regrow hair is now promoting safe, painless and effective ways to remove unwanted hair.
Dermclinic has slashed down prices on hair-removal services by as much as 80 percent, and dermatologist-founder Dr. Vinson Pineda claims that there’s a big difference between what his chain of 16 clinics offers and that of the competition.
“Hair removal is still the most popular cosmetic procedure all over the world,” he said. “A large number of people regardless of gender and culture are concerned about unwanted hair.”
Asians, including Filipinos, are beginning to get more conscious of unwanted hair on the face, armpits, arms, legs, thighs, and below the groin.
“Asians not only have more pigments in their hair compared to Caucasians,” said Pineda. “They generally have thicker hair diameter. That’s why research results coming from the US are often not applicable here.”
In general, women still outnumber men when it comes to hair removal. But based on Dermclinic’s more recent experience, six out of 10 patients who go to its clinics for hair removal are men.
“I really don’t know why,” said Pineda. “Perhaps, it only applies here. Filipino men are probably more conscious of unwanted hair.”
Even transgendered women go to Pineda to have their body and facial hair permanently removed. Hormone-replacement therapy alone is not enough to get rid of unwanted hair.
“Removal of unwanted hair is now done by lasers and lights,” said Pineda. “But many people still resort to tweezing, pulling, threading and waxing. Not only are these procedures painful, they also leave you susceptible to infection.”
And not all hair-removal treatments are created equal. To get the job done, Dermclinic offers both Intense Pulse Light and laser.
While the diode laser was the machine of choice two decades ago, Dermclinic has over the years shifted to IPL for several reasons.
Both are powered by light. But while laser is monochromatic and diffused, IPL, as its name implies, is more intense, which allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin to destroy not only the hair bulb, but also connective tissues around it, including stem cells.
“The connective tissues, including stem cells responsible for growth of new hair, become collateral damage,” said Pineda.
These hair strands act as conductors to allow light to pass through and penetrate deep into the skin to zap hair bulbs, connective tissues and stem cells. To minimize the unpleasant smell of burning hair, only one millimeter of hair strand is left after it is cut.
Depending on the amount of hair to be removed, a typical IPL session lasts for 45 minutes to an hour, excluding the one hour needed for the topical anesthesia to take effect.
“You will feel a bit of heat and pricking sensation,” said Pineda. “But the pain is generally tolerable. Depending on the person’s tolerance level, we can apply either topical anesthesia or cooling gel. At Dermclinic only trained dermatologists and nurses deal directly with patients.”
No matter what others’ claims are, there’s no such thing as “complete” hair removal after only one to two IPL or laser sessions, he added. It takes at least six to eight sessions to know if results are successful.
Not only do hair strands grow actively, they grow at different stages. If you zap an actively growing hair strand down to its hair bulb, connective tissues and stem cells, then that strand is completely removed.
But when a hair strand is in its anagen or resting phase, no amount of light or laser can touch it. Since the hair bulb, connective tissues and stem cells are intact, the hair strand is bound to grow back again.
“When you pull the hair, it breaks, but it would grow back again because hair grows from stem cells underneath the skin or scalp,” said Pineda. “The only effective way to remove it completely is to destroy the hair bulb, connective tissues and stem cells.”
That can’t happen in just one or two monthly sittings. What’s more, successful hair removal has nothing to do with how hairy the person is. It has everything to do with how effective the initial and succeeding treatments are.
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