What are hairy underarms?
North American women commonly epilate (remove hair) from their underarms. This has been the fashion for many years, unlike some European countries where armpit hair was not considered distasteful. Waxing and shaving hairy underarms can be efficiently performed at home but needs to be repeated often and often leave the skin bumpy and irritated.
Laser hair removal has become the gold standard of hair removal. It is important to note that no laser has been proven to completely remove all hair permanently. Therefore, the term “permanent laser hair removal” is a misnomer.
Clinics and salons that claim to permanently remove hair through laser hair removal are overstating their efficacy or misrepresenting their treatment. Home laser hair removal devices have been shown to be moderately effective but the small spot size (hair removal surface) and low power of these home devices limit their use.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is sometimes used for hair removal but most laser practitioners find this to be inferior to actual laser hair removal. The most important feature of laser hair removal is the ability to target dark hair against a background of light skin. As the hair lightens or grays, and as the skin darkens due to sun tanning or skin type, efficacy of laser hair removal is compromised.
What’s best for darker skin types?
Certain types of lasers such as Nd:YAG are better for darker skin but tend to be more painful on lighter skin. Other laser hair removal devices are coupled with radio frequency devices to improve targeting of lightly pigmented hair that is blonde, gray, or red.
Most laser hair removal devices will reduce hair by 15 percent with each treatment. Only those follicles that are in the ‘growth stage’ can be eradicated with laser hair removal but the resting or shedding phase hair follicles remain untreated until they too enter the growth stage.
What can be done?
- Shaving, waxing, or threading.
- IPL hair removal.
- Laser hair removal coupled with radiofrequency (elos or e-laser RF diode device).