by Jeffrey B. Roth
Hair today, gone tomorrow — so goes the body hair-removal debate for both men and women.
“Dare to be bare” is the motto for bare Skin Care & Laser Center, with locations in Westminster and Hanover, Pa.
“No one wants hair — no hair anywhere on the body, except on the head, and with men, sometimes on the face,” said owner Theresa Haggerty. “We do not wax. We do permanent Laser Hair Removal for every man and every woman wherever they have hair they want removed as long as it’s darker than a blonde shade.”
Haggerty’s clients range in age from 16 to 65. For both men and women, LHR provides freedom from shaving, she said.
Treatment times vary in length from two minutes for an upper lip to one to two hours for legs. On average, achieving an 80 percent permanent hair reduction takes six sessions spaced four to six weeks apart.
A trained medical aesthetician, Haggerty employs a Vairiable Pulsed Light system for LHR services. VPL is a safe and non-invasive procedure which utilizes light energy to remove hair and to treat skin imperfections. While some clients experience mild discomfort during treatment, contrary to misconceptions, LHR is not super painful, she said.
Haggerty also provides a variety of aesthetic treatments, including prescription skin care treatments for acne, sun damage, rosacea, facial wrinkles and rough skin texture. She keeps her prices reasonable and affordable.
“People think it is way more expensive than it is,” Haggerty said. “We keep prices realistic. We want to help everybody.”
Dr. Sarah Mess, a Columbia-based certified plastic surgeon, said there were over a million laser hair removal procedures in the U.S. last year. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, LHR procedures were up 3 percent from 2013. LHR is number four in the top five of minimally invasive procedures.
In response to the demand, Mess recently purchased a new laser to treat all skin types comfortably and faster. It sprays cold air on the skin at the same time as the laser pulses.
“Women have societal pressures to be hairless on their body,” Mess said. “Hairless bodies are associated with beauty and youth. Women seek LHR to save time and hassle of shaving or waxing. Some women are embarrassed by facial hair or thick, coarse hair on their stomach, back or arms. Hairlessness can also be culturally associated with cleanliness. Men may suffer razor burn on their neck, or they are embarrassed about their thick back or chest hair. Laser hair removal is a feel good procedure; the patient feels better and the doctor feels good about helping.”
Dr. Del Corral, the only microsurgery specialist in the region, has offices in Westminster, Eldersburg, Randallstown and Baltimore. A certified plastic surgeon, he provides reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation, breast lift and breast reduction services. Corral also provides numerous non-invasive medical procedures, such as laser-assisted liposuction and other body contouring procedures, in addition to laser hair removal.
“I must say that lately I’m seeing a lot of guys coming in for hair removal,” Corral said. “Most of the time, they are guys who don’t want to shave anymore.”
At one time, it used to be rare to see guys seeking hair removal services, he said.
“Laser hair removal has almost become standard care for both men and women”, he said. “People no longer doubt it works. They know it works. It’s such a done deal, you don’t have to explain how it works.”
Dr. Corral employs an Icon Aesthetic System, the only FDA-approved laser system for treatment of stretch marks. The Icon system is designed for multiple procedures, including wrinkle reduction, reduction of acne and other types of scars, leg vein clearance and permanent hair removal.
The majority of his laser hair removal clients are 30 years and up. The laser hair removal treatment package covers three sessions, but because of the quality and sophistication of the state-of-the-art laser system, it may only take one or two sessions to achieve the desired effect, Corral said.
The cost of treatment has decreased to the level where patients will spend a few hundred dollars to have hair permanently removed, Corral said. Patients tell him they are thrilled by the results because shaving and other home hair removal routines are no longer an issue in their lives.
In 1994, the Brazilian bikini wax trend was introduced to the U.S. by sisters Jocely, Jonice, Janea, Joyce, Juracy, Jussara and Judeseia Padilha, founders of J. Sisters salon, located in Manhattan, N.Y., J. Sisters’ list of celebrity clients include Tyra Banks, Bette Midler, Cindy Crawford, Roberta Flak, Uma Thurman, Naomi Campbell and Vanessa Williams.
To some extent, celebrities influence how both men and women view body hair, said Heather Nicole, stylist, make-up artist and aesthetician with The Esquire and the Lady Salon, located on Main Street in Westminster. Nicole is responsible for providing Brazilian wax hair-removal services for women and men.
“[Brazilian bikini wax] has become more common today that it used to be,” said Nicole, who has been providing the salon service for the past nine years. “I used to live on the Eastern Shore and work out of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Of course, down there it is more prominent because people wear bathing suits and I did as many men as I did women. In Carroll County, I do more women than I do men, but I still do men. Since you are getting something very personal done, it’s important to make it a very comfortable setting.”
At one time, male body builders, professional swimmers and models had body hair removed due to their profession, Nicole said. Today, more men from all walks of life are having body hair removed.
Nicole’s female clients range in age from 18 to late 50s. Male clients tend to be in their mid-20s to late 50s, she said.
Despite the popular image that the procedure is extremely painful, if done correctly, it should not cause severe pain. It all depends on the waxing product — strip wax or hard wax. For women, strip waxing should not be used for Brazilian bikini waxes, she said. Procedures take an average of one hour, and prices for Brazilian wax treatments start at $65.
It is common for first-time clients to be a bit shy about getting the procedure.
“I get that all the time,” Nicole said. “I have a consultation with them and explain how it is done and the benefits of having it done. I explain that I have been doing it for eight years, and I do it for myself, for all my friends and for my co-workers.”
All practitioners agreed that removal of body hair is a personal grooming choice. Hair removal services performed by trained professionals are safe and have demonstrated health benefits.