Hair On… Hair Off

by David Vasily

It’s a running joke that when men lose the hair on their heads, it inevitably shows up somewhere unwanted. Many will shave or wax during the summer.  Others opt for a more permanent solution.

I’ve treated thousands of men and women in the Lehigh Valley who have wanted to discreetly and permanently get rid of hair in a variety of places (men often ask for back and shoulders.  Women aim for the underarms, legs and bikini line).  I am proud to say I was one of the first physicians in the country to use lasers to remove hair.  Since then, I’ve been active in the development of new treatment parameters to make certain laser hair removal remains safe and effective. Typical treatment to reduce and remove hair involves a series of four to six treatments, spaced six weeks apart.  The hair needs to be treated across the entire growing cycle to make sure you get it all.  So if you want the hair removed before summer, it’s best to start the process in the Fall or Winter.

All that said, one laser is never enough.  Always look for a practice with experience and access to multiple lasers to treat multiple kinds of hair.  Your skin tone and hair color all work into the equation.  A person with light skin and dark hair responds to many systems, but patients with light hair need different wavelengths of light to successfully treat and reduce hair.  I cannot tell you how many blonde or gray haired laser hair removal patients we see after they’ve cashed in a Groupon at a laser clinic with just one laser, only to be disappointed with the results.  Shop around!  Currently, we are using Palomar’s Icon™ system as our primary system at our Bethlehem office. The Icon system utilizes the revolutionary SkinTel system that performs exact pigment typing that allows for optimized and safe laser parameters, while our long pulsed YAG laser is reserved for resistant hair in patients with darker skin types.  Other available lasers for hair removal at Aesthetica include the Spectra Q-switched YAG laser, the Lutronic Advantage, and the Viora V20.

There’s something for even the most stubborn cases.

On the opposite side of the discussion, there are men and women who struggle with hair loss.  There are emerging solutions for that, too.

We always suggest our patients try topical treatments first (things like Rogaine, etc.) or oral medications.  If those fail, surgical hair transplants have been widely used for years.  Now, we have an exciting option that can delay or completely negate the need for surgery, platelet rich plasma (PRP) that can stimulate hair growth at the site.

PRP utilizes the body’s own potent growth factors found in platelets to stimulate natural hair growth. By delivering the platelet-derived growth factors to a patient’s area of thinning hair, PRP treatment is able to promote the growth of healthy hair.

We use the Selphyl® system in our office.  We take a small sample of your own blood and spin it in a centrifuge, separating the platelet rich plasma.  The PRP is injected into the scalp, stimulating each hair shaft.  Most patients come in for a series of three different visits.  While not instant, optimum results are seen in the first 12 months.  Hair gets thicker, more hairs grow, and fewer are lost.  Results are natural and lasting, often improving over time.

Sports medicine has used PRP for years to treat injuries to the Achilles tendon, joints and muscles by stimulating stem cells. In the case of hair loss, the injected platelets prompt inactive or newly implanted hair follicles to enter an active growth phase, causing the hair to start growing again.

While none of the hair reduction or replacement treatments are typically covered by insurance, the cost ranges from hundreds of dollars versus the thousands you can spend on surgical solutions.

Whether it’s hair on…or off.  We’ve got you covered!

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