Hair is often top of mind for men and women alike. From the top of your head to your toes, whether it’s restoring or removing, we all have our own preferences for hair maintenance. In fact, recent statistics suggest 99% of women and 60% of men regularly remove unwanted body hair in some capacity, while a full 80 million Americans experience hereditary hair loss for which they’re seeking a natural-looking solution. For those searching for an alternative to waxing, shaving, or strategic haircuts that conceal thinning hairlines, explore this guide to the top medical aesthetic treatments for managing all your hair maintenance needs, from hair removal to hair restoration.
As mentioned, about a quarter of the American population experiences hereditary hair loss and even more experience hair loss or thinning due to other common causes. Regularly wearing your hair in a tight updo, excessive or improper use of styling products, hormonal imbalances, and the use of some prescription medications are just some of the other factors that can cause your hairline to recede or hair density to decline.
For those searching for a safe, effective, and natural-looking hair restoration solution that goes beyond temporary fixes, there are two main hair restoration options: follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT). Both treatments utilize hair follicles extracted from the back or sides of the head, where living tissues are more resistant to the thinning effects of testosterone. However, there are a couple differences between the two procedures, the big difference being that FUT is more invasive.
Via the use of a scalpel, FUT procedures extract follicles (essentially hair roots) from the donor site in strips. Once removed, the strips are divided down into singular follicles or smaller strips and implanted in the treatment area. With FUT, there is an increased risk of scarring, making shorter haircuts less than ideal. More recovery time may also be expected.
In comparison, minimally invasive FUE transplant procedures, like the one delivered by NeoGraft®, extract individual donor follicles utilizing a specialized device that makes use of suction. It works by simultaneously extracting follicles at the best angle for natural implantation with gentle enough pressure to maintain tissue health. The follicles are then divided depending on whether they produce one or more hairs and are implanted at an angle and density that most accurately resembles your natural hair growth and hairline. With FUE, there is no visible scarring and recovery time is much lower. Overall, NeoGraft® patients are able to reach their aesthetic goals in less time and with little-to-no discomfort (no scalpel means a more comfortable treatment).
According to one 2008 survey, it was estimated that over one’s lifetime, those who regularly remove hair will spend two months and $10,000 on shaving alone. As for those committed to waxing, you can expect to spend an average of $23,000 on hair removal in your lifetime. Of course, costs fluctuate depending on the amount of hair being removed, the frequency, preferred supplies (skipping shave cream might be cheaper, but you’ll be risking razor burn), and even location. It’s also worth noting that these statistics were compiled in 2008, so considering inflation, that $10,000 for shaving is now $11,400 and that waxing bill would now come out to $26,220.
Enter laser or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal treatments, a relatively cost-effective way to permanently reduce hair growth in comparison to shaving and waxing. Laser hair removal devices hit the markets in the 1990s, but hair removal technology has come a long way since then with four main types now available: ruby lasers, alexandrite lasers, diode lasers, and Nd:YAG lasers.
Ruby lasers may be considered for those with a combination of lighter skin and darker, coarser hair. Utilizing a small beam to deliver energy to the targeted hair follicles, ruby laser hair removal treatments require a longer treatment session for optimal results. In comparison, alexandrite lasers deliver more rapid pulses of energy for quicker treatment sessions. Alexandrite laser treatments are only recommended for those with lighter skin tones, though a wider combination of hair colors may be treated.
Finally, diode laser and Nd:YAG hair removal treatments utilize the most advanced technology on the market for treating even darker and tanned skin tones. Using longer wavelengths to deliver energy deeper beneath the skin’s surface, diode laser and Nd:YAG laser hair removal devices offer a reduced risk of skin discoloration while effectively targeting the melanin in the hair root, accurately destroying hair follicles and permanently reducing hair growth in the treated area. For those with darker skin tones and darker hair, a 2015 study found that diode laser hair removal treatments are more effective than Nd:YAG treatments, offering a 92% reduction in hair growth. Diode laser hair removal treatments are currently considered the gold standard in hair removal technology.
Your personal hair removal or hair restoration goals alongside your skin type and even hair length and density will determine what might be the best treatment for you. To achieve your optimal results, it’s best to reach out to a certified treatment provider to discuss a customized treatment plan. Take the first step today and contact a treatment provider near you. Click here to find a certified NeoGraft® physician, or use the search field below to locate the nearest hair removal provider.
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