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Why Are We So Hairy?9 min read

Beautiful girl with blonde Hair
Picture of Phillip Chang, MD

Phillip Chang, MD

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Best of Loudoun 2019
real self top doctor virginia

Ever wondered why we have hair in some places and not in others? What is the purpose of underarm hair and pubic hair? Is it something we need to keep or can we remove it?

Although the human body may seem hairless in comparison to our closest ancestor, the apes, we actually have the same number of hair follicles (5 MILLION)! If that’s the case, why don’t we see most of the hair? Humans have evolved during the last 1.7 million years so that we only have hair in places that benefit the way we live now. Once we were able to stand up on two legs and began using animal skins and fire to keep warm, it no longer benefited us to have thick hair covering every surface of our bodies. The only hair we needed was on top of our heads to protect us from the sun. A benefit to less hair on our body means less parasites, thank you evolution!

Under Arm Hair And Hair In Other Places

If the hair on our head is there to protect us from the sun, what is the purpose of hair under our arms and in our nether regions? The main reason is for sexual reproduction. Once we hit puberty, those areas begin to secrete sweat from our Apocrine Glands. The secretions from these glands differ from typical sweat in that they also contain sex hormones. These hormones are presumed to cause the hair follicles to change shape and grow thicker in these areas. The hair wicks sweat (because both of those areas tend to get a bit damp) and it also protects against diseases by “brushing” them away.  But, ultimately, the “protection” this hair provides is almost negligible. Recent studies show that there is not much difference in people with STDs to those with pubic hair vs those who choose to remove it.

Laser hair removal

If we don’t need pubic and underarm hair (and unsightly facial hair and/or body hair), how do we get rid of it? You can always try good old fashioned shaving, waxing, hair removal creams and/or tweezing. These techniques are more cost effective in the short term, but are not permanent solutions. You will be ridding your body of hair every couple of days to stay truly hair-free.

Laser Hair Removal For Permanently Smooth, Hair Free Skin

Laser hair removal is a permanent option that involves a highly concentrated light being focused on hair follicles in order to destroy the hair. Prior to the treatment, the hair in the area will be trimmed and the technician will provide a pulse of light to the area and watch it for several minutes to make sure there are no adverse reactions.

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After the procedure, anti-inflammatory creams, lotions and cold water will be given to ease any potential discomfort. Over the next month, the hair in the treated area will fall out. You should apply sunscreen regularly to the area to prevent temporary color changes to the skin. There is a small potential for blisters: this is more common in those with darker skin. There is also a possibility (though rare) for swelling, redness and scarring.

Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that must be performed by a trained professional. As always, make sure you research and check the credentials of the medical professional performing the procedure. Limit plucking and waxing for 6 weeks prior to the treatment. Avoid exposure to sunlight 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after the procedure.

Did you know body hair is linked to intelligence? A study by Dr Aikarakudy Alias showed that the 117 members of Mensa (the world's oldest high IQ society) had more hair than the average person.

FAQs About Permenant Hair Removal

Laser hair removal may cause some minor discomfort, but it is not considered a painful procedure. Most patients will feel a slight sting when the laser targets and removes the hair follicle. We can apply a numbing ointment to the surface of the skin prior to the start of the treatment session. For patients who are used to getting waxed, they report that laser hair removal causes much less discomfort than a normal waxing session.

It depends on you and your hair. Hair growth occurs in varying cycles. While some hair may be in a live growing phase, others may be dormant. Since each follicle grows in various stages, multiple treatment sessions are typically needed to target each hair and follicle at its growing phase. Between treatment sessions, the hairs that do grow can be shaved because the follicle is not affected. Although the laser energy removes hair from the follicle, it must be able to register the hair to remove it. If a follicle is dormant, it is harder for the laser to read. Spreading out your sessions over various weeks helps remove each follicle for the smoothest, most effective result.

Laser hair removal is known to be a solid solution for hair removal. While some men and women can enjoy the benefits of the treatment for years, it is considered semi-permanent in some cases. Meaning, there could potentially be some hair growth that occurs in areas where the laser technology did not hit. Regardless, patients find the majority of the hair will be gone after their treatment plan has concluded; and even if some hairs pop up, it is very easy to manage. Most patients find they receive a smooth result. Additional laser hair removal treatments can also be scheduled to take care of any stragglers or new growth as well.

Laser hair removal is a procedure that varies in cost depending on the coverage area being addressed on the body, as well as how many sessions are needed to attain a smooth, hairless result. When we discuss pricing with our patients, we often bring up the costs associated with waxing and how this can add up over time, especially if you get waxed on a regular basis year after year. Laser hair removal is more costly than waxing or other hair removal methods, but it is generally the most effective. We will create a custom plan for you that includes the total number of sessions recommended and pricing options to consider.

Contact us for a FREE consultation!

For those wondering whether laser hair removal is right for you, we invite you to come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether it would be the right fit for you. To find out how Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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Our office can provide you will helpful information, schedule a free consultation, and walk you through the process of the procedure.

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