Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles, those tiny tubes in the skin from which each hair grows. Hair removal by shaving usually causes this common skin condition, as the sharp tip of the hair left by a close shave may curve back into the skin and grow from within.
All About Folliculitis
The body treats ingrown hairs like it does any type of intrusion by a foreign object: It tries to eliminate it by causing inflammation in the affected area. The result is pimple-like breakout called razor bumps, medically known as pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB).
Facial hair removal by shaving could lead to PFB in the beard and neck area called barber’s itch. If the whole hair follicle is affected, the condition may worsen as sycosis barbae and manifest as small pustules appearing on the upper lip, chin and jaw.
Using razor for groin and underarm hair removal could likewise lead to PFB, and even hot tub rash or pseudomonas folliculitis when pseudomonas bacteria in heated pools and hot tubs contaminate water that comes in prolonged contact with your swimsuit area.
Hair follicles can also become infected with Staphylococcus aureus. When staph enters the follicles, the bacteria can cause itchiness and create white, pus-filled bumps called bacterial folliculitis. This condition can get worse: hair follicles can become deeply infected such that painful pink or red bumps appear, filling with pus and growing larger and more painful. This ‘boil’ (furuncle) may rupture and drain on its own, leaving no scar. Larger boils, however, may take time to heal and leave scars.
The chances of PFB occurring are greater among those with naturally curly, coarse hair, or those with hair follicles orientated at oblique angles to the skin surface. While regular shaving provides temporary solution to eliminate unwanted hair, it also increases one’s risks of developing nicks, cuts, ingrown hairs and consequently, razor bumps.
How IPL Laser Hair Removal Works
Razor bumps can be avoided by minimizing the re-entry of hair back into the skin. If you are bothered by the appearance of unwanted hair and avoid the risk of ingrown hairs, there are several treatment options to reduce hair permanently through non-invasive laser hair removal technology.
Melanin is responsible for the color of our hair. Like melanin found on the skin, eumelanin (the kind of melanin that makes brown and black hair) is sensitive to heat and light, which are selectively absorbed by pigmented hair follicles and consequently impair their ability to re-grow.
IPL hair removal technology uses intense pulsed light (IPL) that emits a diffused light of multiple wavelengths into the skin, which then selectively targets pigment. As the pigment absorbs the heat and transfers it to growing cells, the cells get damaged, stopping hair growth.
Because each hair undergoes different active growing stages (the anagen phase when each hair is attached to a bulb of growing cells), several procedures are usually needed to stop the growth of hair in one area. One example of IPL hair removal Singapore clinics offer is the FDA-approved Cutera Prowave. IPL technology for permanent hair reduction is currently popular in Singapore because many patients there prefer non-invasive treatments not just on their hair but on other body parts, too.
Laser and LHE Hair Removal for All Skin Types
Unlike IPL that sends out scattered wavelengths of light, laser hair removal uses one specific, yet very powerful, wavelength of light. While laser hair removal operates similarly to IPL hair removal in that light converts to heat which then destroys the hair follicle, laser – with its specific focus – can be programmed to target a certain hair color. (Brown hair, for example, responds best to a laser wavelength of 800 nanometres.)
An example of laser hair removal Singapore clinics offer for those with specific skin tone and hair color is CoolGlide by Cutera. CoolGlide works on all skin types and tones, whether you have light, tanned or naturally dark skin.
For those with dark-colored hair on dark skin, light and heat energy (LHE) hair removal may be a better fit. This is because LHE uses lower fluence or low levels of light, increasing the safety margin of the procedure without compromising its efficacy. It’s the combination of light and heat energy that is more at work in this kind of hair removal Singapore treatment, making it possible for very sensitive and darker-skinned patients to reduce unwanted hair safely and effectively.