Traditions of Hair Removal: Preferences and Practices among Middle Eastern Women

Middle eastern women typically like hair free bodies, hair free faces.  First of all, arab men prefer hair free women.  In previous years, showers, soaps and deodorants were not readily available.  Hair will trap bacteria and the resultant odor leading to potential unpleasantness.

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Hair Removal Practices among Middle Eastern Women: Traditions, Preferences, and Laser Solutions

According to some Islamic scholars, it is better to remove unwanted body hair.  In the past techniques would include female beauticians visiting the home which would provide the women with hair free bodies as well as much needed privacy.    The traditional hair removal process was called Halawa which is a type of home-made wax which helps remove hair.  The problem with this technique is that stubble can persist and pigmentation changes can still be seen afterwards.  Another issue with Halawa is that ingrown hairs and folliculitis can persist. Women of middle eastern background have a variety of skin complexions and hair types.  The most difficult hair type to remove hair from is dark thick coarse hair.  This type of hair is most resistant to laser therapy and may require additional treatments.  The key for treating thicker darker hair is that the fluence (power of the laser) must be strong enough to penetrate to the hair to destroy the hair bulb.  With continued treatments patients can note that hair should become thinner and more vellus in appearance.  The last several treatments of laser hair removal sometimes require a different type of laser if the complete topgraphy of the hair has changed.

About Ranen Atieh

Ranen is a laser technician and licensed aesthetician.  In addition to these talents, she is a makeup artist.  Ranen is fluent in Arabic and 100% Middle Eastern background make her very popular amongst Middle Eastern clientele.  However, her expertise in beauty, particularly in all things Middle Eastern make her talents unique.  She has worked with Dr. Shah for over 5 years and has been in the medical field for over 10 years.

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About Middle Eastern Culture In Chicago

There are many Middle Eastern women in the Chicago area who travel to see our office.  While Chicago itself has a large population of Middle Eastern women, the suburbs tend to have more women including Oak Lawn, Orland Park, Palos Park, and Frankfort.  The majority of middle eastern patients are from Palestine and Jordan, although there is a large population of Iran, Iraq, Assyria, and Saudi Arabia as well as from other Middle Eastern areas.

Related procedures: Ethnic Rhinoplasty, Facelift, Parotidectomy.

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Middle Eastern Hair Removal FAQ

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Why Travel To See Dr. Shah And His Staff?

Dr. Shah uses the latest in laser technology to make sure the process is both comfortable and more importantly effective. The commitment to laser hair removal means a visit every 6-8 weeks for 4-6 sessions for most patients. However, using newer lasers makes the process easier and more effective than ever. Every laser parameter and protocol has been developed with Dr. Shah’s expertise to ensure maximal effectiveness and safety. Treatments with Dr. Shah are surprisingly affordable as well.

Does Anyone Speak Arabic In The Office?

Yes, Dr. Shah’s aesthetician Ranen speaks Arabic and is fluent in this language. Ranen a laser specialist who works for Dr. Shah is culturally sensitive to Arabic women since she is Middle Eastern.

What Is The Best Type Of Laser For Middle Eastern Patients?

There is not a single type of laser. Alexandrite laser tends to be less effective due to its wavelength. The best type tends to be Diode (best penetrating laser for targeting hair) and the Nd:YAG (specifically targets dark hair but less effective in doing so. Our office has found the diode laser most effective, particularly for the initial treatments.

Do The Home Laser Kits Work And Are They An Alternative To Laser Therapy?

Home laser kits are by definition dramatically underpowered. The kits typically rely on low energy IPL as well as low energy diode. Many manufacturers of these lasers have a screening question which prevents them from selling them to the majority of Middle Eastern patients due to hair and skin type. Even in the ideal skin and hair types, these types of treatments tend to be ineffective. In treating Middle Eastern patients, our office has found that these home devices are not very effective in treating thick, coarse hair. Our office has actually worked with several conventional lasers whose power was not strong enough for treating Middle Eastern hair. We believe a laser needs a strong enough fluence or energy to treat thick, coarse hair to be effective.

What About Large Spot Size For Laser Hair Removal Such As The Vectus Or Duet?

Although these lasers may be ideal for some, these types of lasers, particularily on the large spot size tend to be limited in fluence or power. The maximum fluence of the Duet is 15 J/cm2 and the Vectus is 20 J/cm2. These settings are too low for many Middle Eastern patients. In addition, when inputing the settings, these systems often treat patients at fluences much lower than this. We chose a diode laser (Diolaze) with a large spot size but with a fluence much higher to help treat and eradicate hair. In addition, we offer several other lasers which can help patients treat resistant to complete the circle of hair removal.

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