Information on hypertrichosis and excessive hair growth
Information on hypertrichosis and hair removal treatments
Cosmetic Hair Removal
In most cases, excess hair growth caused by hypertrichosis is not due to any underlying medical problems. However, they produce severe emotional problems where cosmetic treatment is the only viable therapy. Where there is an underlying problem, it is a necessary part of the overall treatment regimen.
Several treatment options are available which differ in their efficacy, comfort levels and cost. The treatment mode depends on the site, nature of growth and the patient. In most cases, more than one treatment is needed.
Cosmetic treatment methods
Shaving is the simplest and cheapest but leaves hair roots intact and therefore hair growth unaffected. Side effects are minimal but in some ethnic groups, folliculitis may occur. Women are averse to it because of its masculine nature.
Plucking and epilation involves removing the hair shaft and bulb. It is done singly by tweezers in plucking. In epilation, waxing is used to uproot a large number of hairs in one operation. This treatment is one of the least expensive and the cosmetic effect lasts for 4 to 8 weeks, but it is slow and not practical for large areas. Plucking is done in the anagen phase because if done in other phases it encourages further hair growth.
Side effects are sometimes caused by the waxing material and include burns due to hot wax, folliculitis, hyperpigmentation and scarring. Children have poor tolerance to plucking and epilation since degree of comfort is low.
Depilation uses variants of thioglycolates, used in perming, to dissolve the hair shaft, sparing the hair bulb. The cosmetic effect produced is excellent and lasts for about two weeks.
The thioglycolate variants are used in an alkali solution to get a pH concentration, which dissolves the hair without damaging the skin. For removing coarser terminal hairs, sulfides of strontium, barium and calcium are used. The bad odor of hydrogen sulfide gas, produced by sulfides is masked by fragrances.
Side effects include irritant dermatitis in 1% to 5% cases. Occasionally sulfides cause an allergic dermatitis. To prevent systemic absorption, depilatories for children should be used in only small localized areas.