“Permanent” hair removal

In Bangkok, as well as in many other cities around the world, you will find cosmetic clinics offering “permanent” hair removal.

I find the idea appealing. I have had several facelifts done, first in Jakarta, then in Bangkok. From the first facelift, one effect that I would have preferred not to occur was the first partial, then complete disappearance of the unhaired skin between the sideburns and the ears.

From my first facelift, I had to go without sideburns. Not only that. I also could not remain unshaved, as my sideburn hair growing right onto the ears did not look natural.

I considered the following, which technically is no problem: first the removal of all facial hair that grows in unnatural places very close to the ears, and then a follicular unit extraction and transplantation of hair into places that naturally have hair.

I have tried this idea, at least half way through, but I have now decided against it, and I would advise readers accordingly.

First of all, the “permanent” hair removal does not work nearly as good as it sounds.

I have had such a “permanent” hair removal (through electrolysis) performed at a dermatological clinic in Bangkok, and for a few weeks (less than 2 month), there was a difference (in the first month more than in the second).

But after two months, all the “permanently” removed hair was back. After 3 months, there was no difference whatsoever to before the “permanent” hair removal.

I asked the cosmetic therapist what went wrong. Her answer was: it’s the testosterone. My levels of this male hormone are high, she reckoned (probably because of the tongkat ali that I have been consuming for years). But I won’t mess with my hormone levels to avoid the reappearance of “permanently” removed hair.

But I anyway decided against the restoration of sideburns, for the following reason: I have had three facelifts, and the effect of each was great. I am in my mid-50s now, but genuinely look 20 years younger.

I have some 15 years to go until I am 70, and I plan to look as if I were in my early 30s when I will, in fact, be 40 years older.

That will be a great show, when I will walk to a passport examination desk at a border, and the officer won’t let me pass because he will not believe that I am in my 70s, and assume that I have a fake passport, haha.

To get that far, I will probably need two more facelifts. And each of them would pull the (restored) sideburns (of transplanted hair) to the ears again.

So, I have given up on “permanent” hair removal, and on the idea of transplanting hair to restore sideburns.

The next facelift, in a few years, will solve the problem. By that time, all of the sideburn hair will be gone anyway, cut off, or pulled behind my ears. By that time, the skin that was around my eyes before my first facelift will have traveled all the way to touch my ears, and my skin before my ears will look as if I never grew a beard yet (like that of a 14-year old).

Why don’t I have sideburns? My answer will be: not yet, I am still too young to grow a beard, haha. And I will be around 70. That will be fun.


1 Christine C Dierickx, MD, Hair removal by lasers and intense pulsed light sources, Dermatologic Clinics Volume 20, Issue 1, January 2002, Pages 135-146

2 Richard F. Wagner, John M. Tornich, Donald J. Grande, Electrolysis and thermolysis for permanent hair removal, JAAD March 1985 Volume 12, Issue 3, Pages 441-449

3 Christine C. Dierickx, MD; Melanie C. Grossman, MD; William A. Farinelli; R. Rox Anderson, MD, Permanent Hair Removal by Normal-Mode Ruby Laser , Arch Dermatol July 1, 1998, Vol 134, No. 7

4 Elise A. Olsen, Methods of hair removal , JAAD February 1999Volume 40, Issue 2, Pages 143-155

5 Shenenberger DW, Removal of unwanted facial hair. , Am Fam Physician. 2002 Nov 15;66(10):1907-11.

6 J Lepselter, and M Elman, Biological and clinical aspects in laser hair removal , Journal of Dermatological Treatment 2004, Vol. 15, No. 2 , Pages 72-83

7 Hamilton HW, Hamilton KR, Lone FJ, Preoperative hair removal. , Canadian Journal of Surgery [1977, 20(3):269-71,274-5]