Hair Removal on Damaged Skin or Scar Tissue
Keeping your skin smooth and hair-free is easy when you’ve got the right tools and techniques, but what happens when you encounter a situation where your skin has been damaged? Is it safe to still use your preferred hair removal method, should you switch to a different method, or should you refrain entirely?
These are important questions, and it’s definitely best to get the answers before you charge ahead. That way you can make sure that you’re not going to make the damage worse, or cause even more damage doing so. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the different types of damage that are most common for the skin, and cover what you need to know about the healing process. In addition, we’ll review some of the most popular ways to remove hair, and why you will want to avoid certain methods based on the type of skin damage you’re experiencing.
Let’s begin with a review of the most common types of skin injuries that would require a different approach to hair removal.
What are the most common types of skin injuries?
One of the most common types of skin injuries that most of us will experience at least once in our lives is a sunburn. It’s clear to see why this is one of the most common types of skin injuries. Since the sun’s UV rays can burn unprotected skin in as little as 30 minutes, it can be quite easy to underestimate the strength of the sun, forgetting to apply sunscreen, or staying out longer than we’d originally anticipated.
Sunburns may not be entirely noticeable at the time they occur, with most gradually building in intensity and discomfort for several hours after sun exposure has ceased. In most cases, the pain of a sunburn becomes most intense between 12 and 48 hours after sun exposure, after which time the pain generally subsides, and the burned skin becomes dry and starts to flake and peel off.
Other types of skin damage include scrapes, cuts, chemical irritation, rashes, and allergic reactions, among others. As you would likely suspect, attempting hair removal on an area of skin that has experienced one of these issues will probably not be very pleasant, and will almost certainly be more painful or uncomfortable than usual. This is due to the heightened sensitivity of the area as the body attempts to heal the damage. In fact, things like shaving, waxing, and epilating can exacerbate the damage and make things worse, taking even longer for the damaged skin to heal.
What are the steps that occur in the skin healing process?
Our skin takes four steps as it progresses through the healing process after an injury occurs. First, blood flow increases to the injured area, which is most visible when the skin is cut or scraped to the point where blood becomes exposed to the air. This increase in blood flow brings platelets to the injured area, which is the cell type that is responsible for forming a clot and preventing further loss of blood.
Next, the area around the injury will begin to swell and become inflamed. This is a natural part of the healing process, and results from the secretions of the platelets as they form the clot. This second stage of healing is also when the injured area becomes swarmed by white blood cells whose job it is to attack bacteria and germs and prevent infections.
The third step is when the body begins to regenerate new skin tissue thanks to the oxygen and nutrients carried within red blood. Collagen production is also stimulated in the area, which helps the new skin cells connect together and repair the damage.
During the fourth stage of skin healing, the new surface tissue is gradually built up with an increasingly dense collection of collagen and skin cells. Eventually, the new skin becomes seamlessly integrated with the original tissue surrounding the area, and most of the time is not noticeable.
For more substantial injuries, such as deep cuts, large abrasions, or other major skin damage, the repair of the area may result in the formation of scar tissue, which is slightly different than normal skin in a couple of different ways.
How is scar tissue different from regular skin tissue?
When comparing scar tissue to normal skin, the first thing you’ll notice is that scar tissue is generally a lighter shade in color than the surrounding skin. Over time this will mostly fade, but some scars remain noticeable even after many years.
In addition to color, scar tissue is often not as smooth or uniform as the original skin tissue surrounding the area. This is because as a scar forms, the collagen and fibers from the proteins in the wound align themselves in a more linear fashion. Normal skin arranges these fibers and proteins in a method that is similar to the weaving of a basket, which is why it appears much smoother and uniform than scar tissue. This is also part of the reason that scar tissue has less elasticity than normal skin.
Another difference between scar tissue and normal skin is that hair will not grow within the scar tissue due to the fact that follicles do not regrow. If the follicles were damaged as part of the injury, it’s possible that you’ll notice an absence of hair regrowth in that specific area even after it has fully healed.
What are the hair removal methods that should be avoided on damaged skin?
Any hair removal method that relies on a physical technique, such as shaving, waxing, sugaring, and epilators can all be very uncomfortable on damaged skin. The physical nature of these methods can also cause additional damage on skin that has not fully healed or is in a state of repair. Skin that is in the midst of repairing itself may not be as thick or tough as the surrounding skin, and so it may become damaged again.
While laser hair removal does not rely on a physical extraction of the hair, the power of the laser can cause damaged skin to become more irritated, especially in the case of sunburns. For this reason, it is best to not conduct laser hair removal treatments on any areas of damaged skin until they have fully healed and are back to normal.
What are the best and safest methods for hair removal for damaged skin?
At the end of the day, the best and safest method for hair removal DIRECTLY on damaged skin is none at all. It’s always best to wait until the area has fully healed before attempting to conduct a hair removal treatment on the affected area. However, for treating the surrounding areas of a damaged portion of skin, Silk’n intense pulsed light devices can provide a safe and ideal solution.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices offer a gentler and more effective manner of permanent hair removal than lasers, and as such are a safer option for the areas surrounding a skin injury. While the area of skin that has been directly injured should always be avoided until fully healed, the surrounding areas are generally safe to treat as you normally would. If you are unsure of the proximity to an area of damaged skin that you wish to treat, it’s best to consult with your dermatologist or doctor.
Since IPL devices such as the Silk’n Infinity utilize a pulse of light that is a much broader spectrum than what is used in true lasers, the Infinity is ideal for treating a wider range of skin and hair tones than lasers can. In addition, the Silk’n Infinity combines intense pulsed light hair removal technology with galvanic energy through an electrode on the tip of the device. This electrode delivers the galvanic energy to the skin, stimulating the area and opening up the pores and follicles, which in turn allows the light pulses to reach further down to the root and providing better hair removal results in less time.
How long does skin take to fully heal?
This is dependent on many factors, such as the extent or severity of the injury, the general health of the patient, and what treatments are used to help aid the repair of the injury. For small cuts, scrapes, and minor sunburns, about a week to ten days can be expected for the wound to heal. For more substantial injuries, it can take two weeks or more before the area has been fully healed.
In the event that you do experience some type of skin injury that appears to be taking longer than expected to heal, or is of greater scale than what can be sensibly treated at home, we urge you to seek immediate medical attention so that proper treatment can be made. The faster you get the proper treatment for your injury, the sooner you’ll be able to get back into your old routine and get the permanent hair removal results that you want.
How does IPL hair removal helps solve the problem of hair removal delays due to skin damage?
With shaving, you’ll notice regrowth in as little as 12 hours. Other hair removal methods like waxing, sugaring or epilators last longer, but still start to show visible regrowth in about a week or so. When a skin injury occurs, this may mean that you need to delay your hair removal treatment for days or even weeks beyond what you’d normally need to wait in order to stay safe.
With an IPL hair removal device, the treatments end up being permanent, and can be as long as 8 weeks or more between touch-up treatments. This means that in the event that you get some type of injury, such as a scrape or sunburn, it’s likely going to be completely healed before you get anywhere close to your next hair removal treatment. It’s a nice bit of reassurance and convenience that most people don’t think of when it comes to choosing their hair removal method.
With a Silk’n Infinity IPL hair removal device at home, you’ll be able to pick up your hair removal treatments right where you left off before your skin injury, and the gentle treatment action will help your skin feel great again. We certainly hope you have a speedy and complete recovery from your damaged skin, and that this information has been helpful for you.