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Shaving and Hyperpigmentation

One of the main reasons why people chooses Laser Hair Removal over shaving is because of the hyperpigmentation that they experiment as a result from shaving for a long period of time specially in underarms and bikini. Did you ever wonder why?

Hypo-pigmentation or Hyperpigmentation?

When your skin gets darker, it is called hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation refers to an increase in the skin's melanin production, which causes the skin to appear darker than usual. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including sun exposure, hormonal changes, inflammation, and certain medications or medical conditions. On the other hand, hypo-pigmentation refers to a decrease in melanin production, which causes the skin to appear lighter than usual. Hypo-pigmentation can be caused by conditions such as vitiligo or albinism, or as a result of certain treatments such as chemical peels.

Why shaving causes Hyperpigmentation?

Friction: Shaving can create friction between the razor and the skin, which can lead to irritation and inflammation. This can cause the skin to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, leading to darker underarms.

Ingrown hairs: Shaving can also cause ingrown hairs, which can lead to inflammation and pigmentation in the underarm area.

Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes can also play a role in underarm pigmentation. For example, hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy or menopause can cause the skin to produce more melanin, leading to darker underarms.

Poor shaving technique: If a dull or old razor is used, it can cause more irritation and inflammation than a sharp, new razor. Additionally, shaving against the grain of the hair can also cause more irritation and inflammation, leading to darker underarms.

To prevent underarm pigmentation from shaving, it's important to use a sharp, clean razor and shave in the direction of hair growth. It's also a good idea to moisturize the underarm area after shaving and avoid using products that contain alcohol or other irritating ingredients. 

What are the most prone areas to get Hyperpigmentation?

The most common areas of the body to get hyperpigmentation from shaving are those that are regularly shaved, exposed to sunlight, and prone to friction. The main one is underarms since are very regularly shaved, exposed to sun and get friction from clothing constantly. Another one is face, specially for men, the repeated trauma from shaving can cause inflammation and irritation. Some women that shave their legs regularly, particularly if they don't use proper shaving techniques and protect from sunlight after. One that is also problematic is the bikini area since there is so much friction that leads to irritation. The less common is the back, for men that shave regularly and are not careful with sun exposure.

If shaving is so terrible...Why is shaving part of the protocols of preparation for Laser Hair Removal?

Yes, the area that is going to be treated with Laser needs to be completely free of products and shaved no longer than 24 hrs before your visit. This is the only way to ensure the energy of the laser focuses on the root of the hair and the highest temperature of it goes straight to the follicle and therefore the treatment can be successful. Treating in long hair will only result in extra irritation from the treatment and possibly not an effective damage of the root. Other methods like waxing, tweezing, threading or depilatory creams will remove some of the root of the hair and the Laser will not have anything to destroy. 

The good news are that as you go on with your Laser Hair Removal treatments you will need to shave less and less, therefore you will irritate the area less often and not cause any further damage and pigmentation. Very soon the hair will be much thinner and easier to shave as well! It's a small price to pay for permanent hair reduction.