Hair Removal Options

Hair removal can be an important concern for many transgender women and gender non-conforming people considering breast augmentation. For most, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) will decrease new hair growth, but doesn’t  always dramatically reduce the presence of body and chest hair. If you’re considering male-to-female (MTF/N) breast augmentation, you may also want to also consider different methods of hair removal around the chest area, and you’ll have several options. If you have questions, Dr. Mosser would be happy to point you in the right direction.

Some of the most popular methods of hair removal in the transgender community include:

  • Laser Hair Removal
  • Electrolysis
  • Body Waxing
  • Epilating creams

Laser Hair Removal

As of March 2020, we are proud to announce that we are offering laser hair removal in our downtown San Francisco office. Laser hair removal uses concentrated beams of light to target and destroy unwanted hair follicles. During a laser hair removal session, a practitioner will use a handheld device to deliver laser energy to the surface of your skin. The light will pass through the surface of your skin and be absorbed by the pigment of your hair follicles.

Laser hair removal can be an effective treatment of gender dysphoria for feminine-spectrum trans folks who have unwanted hair on their face or body, and it can be used to remove hair follicles for any trans person who wants bottom surgery.

Many patients choose laser hair removal because it offers long lasting (and in most cases, permanent) results. It’s important to know that multiple sessions will be needed to achieve desired results, and the result is hair reduction (the hairs become lighter and finer), not complete hair removal. Additionally, laser hair removal isn’t ideal for everyone. The best candidates have darker hair.

Some negative side effects of laser are:

  • Discomfort or pain
  • Localized swelling
  • Skin redness
  • Hyper pigmentation (temporary skin darkening)
  • Scab formation

As with electrolysis, it’s essential to seek out a qualified professional for laser hair removal to reduce your risk of undesirable side effects. To learn more about laser hair removal, check out our blog!

Electrolysis

Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method.  Medical electrolysis destroys the growth center of unwanted hair using electric current. A very fine probe (a stainless-steel wire about half the thickness of a strand of hair) is inserted through the surface of the skin at each unwanted hair follicle. The hair is then carefully removed with tweezers.

The biggest advantage of electrolysis is that it offers permanent results. The disadvantages are that it’s time-consuming and expensive. Multiple sessions will be necessary to remove all your unwanted body and chest hair.

Some side effects associated with electrolysis may include:

  • Discomfort or pain
  • Skin redness
  • Localized swelling
  • Tiny blisters
  • Scabs
  • Dryness
  • Ingrown hairs

Because of these potential side effects, it’s very important choose an experienced, qualified practitioner to reduce your risk of infection and skin damage.

Body Waxing

Waxing is an effective way to remove hair from almost anywhere on the body. During a waxing session, a thin layer of hot wax is applied to the target area. Then a thin strip of cloth is pressed down onto the wax and quickly pulled away in the opposite direction of the hair growth. Both the wax and hair is removed during this process.

If performed incorrectly, waxing can lead to rashes, bruises or torn skin, so you may want to seek out the skill of professional. Though waxing requires regular treatments to maintain smooth, hair-free skin, most people benefit from long-lasting results and somewhat softer, diminished regrowth.

Depilating Creams

A blend of mildly caustic chemicals (sodium and calcium thioglycolate), depilating creams fall somewhere between traditional waxing and shaving in terms of hair removal. They penetrate deeper than shaving, but not as deeply as waxing. When placed on the skin, they cause the keratin in your hair shafts to decompose.

The key advantage of depilating creams is that they’re available over the counter and you can remove large sections of hair at once. However, results are not permanent, regular treatments will be needed to limit hair growth. Additionally, depilating creams aren’t as effective for individuals with coarse body hair, and people with sensitive skin can have considerable skin reactions from depilating creams.