FACIAL FOCUS | Pocketmags.com
Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty

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With female facial hair being a common issue that affects many women, we asked some professionals about how laser treatments can help

“Facial hair on females is a relatively common issue, although it may not be widely discussed,” says Joy Colleran, owner of Purejoy Laser & Advanced Skin Clinic in Galway. “It is typically caused by an excess of male hormones, specifically testosterone. This hormonal disruption can lead to the development of coarse and dark hair in areas such as the upper lip, chin and/or cheeks. Women can experience it at different times in their life, such as pregnancy or during menopause.

Female facial hair can also be attributed to genetics or some medical conditions.”

“Some women come to us and ask us the reason why the hair is growing in the first place and it’s hard to give a definitive answer,” says Paula Cuddihy, owner of Urbana, a hair removal clinic in Dublin and Drogheda, Co Louth. “If their hair growth is very pronounced and present in areas like the face, chest, back, abdomen and buttocks areas, we advise that they go to their doctor for a blood test to check hormone levels to see if it can be attributed to this. Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are very common and can go undiagnosed for some time. Many women don’t even know they have conditions like this until they get a set of bloods done.”

So how exactly does the treatment work? “Laser emits energy in the form of light, and this light is absorbed by melanin, which is the dark pigment in your hair, and converts to heat,” explains

Cuddihy. “Heat travels down to the base of the hair where the root/bulb is situated. Here it destroys the interconnecting cells that connect the hair root to the blood supply that nourishes it. These are tiny structures and therefore laser will not harm the surrounding skin. Laser is among the best ways to remove facial hair because it is clinically proven to reduce it quickly even after the first session and there is minimum impact on the skin.

“However, it is important to note that laser does not work on red, blonde or grey facial hair. As there is no pigment present in these hairs, the laser has nothing to target so it will not work. If there is a mixture of light and dark hairs in an area, the laser will only target the darker ones and the lighter ones will remain.”

In demand

Laser facial hair removal has become more popular in recent years, according to Colleran. “It’s our No 1 treatment for unwanted hair removal in the clinic. As it is considered one of the most effective and long-lasting solutions for unwanted facial hair due to its high success rate and minimal side effects, many of our clients opt for this treatment to achieve smooth and hair-free skin.”

“Women who are experiencing a lot of hair growth on the face can be quite embarrassed about it, so they may start with laser hair removal on other areas of their body, such as the bikini line, and then ask about facial hair removal when they feel comfortable enough,” says Cuddihy.

“Once they see the results that can be achieved, they always say they should have done it years ago. It is truly lifechanging for some women who have gone from having to shave their face every day to going weeks without even thinking about it. Their overall skin texture improves, blemishes and breakouts are less common and they are delighted that they have finally found a long-term solution. Facial hair is a really sensitive subject for some women to talk about, and there is nothing like the feeling of bringing a client through a course of treatments and seeing her confidence grow after each session.”

It’s also a treatment that is sought after all year round. “Demand is relatively steady throughout the year,” says Colleran. “While there may be slight fluctuations during certain seasons, the desire for hair reduction or removal remains constant. As sun exposure should be avoided with laser treatments, they can be more popular in the winter months. But once our clients are wearing SPF, we can perform the treatments all year.”

“Because we use medical-grade lasers, there are some stipulations around tanning,” says Cuddihy. “If a person likes to tan and is going on a holiday during the summer, we might recommend they start their treatment in autumn when they know their skin won’t be exposed to the sun. Clients who are careful in the sun and don’t expose their skin can have laser sessions all year round.”

In addition, facial laser hair removal appeals to clients of many ages. “Young and older individuals across various demographics seek this treatment,” says Colleran. “It is a versatile solution that appeals to anyone looking to remove or reduce unwanted facial hair, although the colour of the hair limits us in terms of who we can treat.”

“The age profile of clients is certainly a mix,” says Cuddihy. “We would always recommend starting before grey hairs appear, as the laser won't work on grey or white hairs so we need to catch them with pigment before this changes. If dark hairs are present, the laser will definitely target these, but it won’t have any effect on hairs that are light in colour and texture.”

Treatment plans

According to Colleran, the number of sessions required for optimal results varies, depending on factors such as hair type, colour and the individual’s response to treatment. “On average, clients may need between six to eight sessions, several weeks apart, to achieve their desired outcomes. While the treatment significantly reduces hair growth, it is essential to understand that it may not achieve permanent hair removal. Factors such as hormonal imbalances or changes in the body can sometimes trigger new hair growth, however, the regrowth tends to be significantly lighter, finer and easier to manage.”

‘Women who are experiencing a lot of hair growth on the face can be quite embarrassed about it, so they may start with laser hair removal on other areas of their body’

“Facial hair can vary greatly from person to person,” notes Cuddihy. “Due to the amount of melanin in coarse, dark, robust hairs, these will reduce quickest. Finer, mid-brown hairs may take more sessions to reduce, and top-up treatments may be required to maintain results. But laser hair removal can dramatically reduce excess facial hair in just a few sessions. It is important for clients to know they are not on their own, and you are there to give them advice and guide them on the best possible treatment plan to get the results they need.”

“It is crucial to emphasise the importance of seeking professional advice and treatment for any client considering laser facial hair removal,” stresses Colleran. “A thorough consultation with a trained and experienced practitioner will ensure personalised treatment plans, realistic expectations and optimal results. In addition, maintaining open communication with clients and addressing any concerns they may have is essential to providing a positive experience in their journey towards smooth and hair-free skin.”

Offering a facial hair laser removal service is also good for business as clients who have a positive experience tend to return to the salon for other therapies. “Many clients who undergo successful laser facial hair removal often develop a trust and rapport with the salon or clinic,” explains Colleran.

“As a result, they often return for additional beauty treatments, such as skincare services, body hair removal or other aesthetic procedures. A positive experience can serve as an entry point for them to explore a wider range of salon offerings.

“Investing in a laser device has proven to be a valuable asset for our business. It has allowed us to cater to a wider range of clients who are seeking effective facial hair removal solutions. By offering laser treatments, we have positioned ourselves as a reputable provider in the industry, attracting new clients, as well as retaining existing ones. This investment has not only increased our revenue, but has also enhanced our overall reputation and client satisfaction levels.” 

This article appears in the MAY/JUNE 2024 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland

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This article appears in the MAY/JUNE 2024 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland