Dr. Harvey Jay Harvey H. Jay, M.D.
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Cornell Medical School
  • Fellow of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
  • Board-certified Dermatologist
Harvey H. Jay, M.D.
45 East 62nd. St., New York, NY 10065
Tel: 212-755-2237 * Fax: 212-755-3359
Dr. Harvey H. Jay, M.D. In the News

Men's Journal
APRIL 2001

No More Monkey Business
What you can do when you're feeling just a bit too hirsute

Hair Removal The problem with evolution is that it's a work in progress. Have a look around the health-club locker room and you'll see what Problem Man means: the shiny, hairless man at locker 167; the Neanderthal drying his back under the hand dryer; the fellow with only seven long, black hairs on his left clavicle — all evidence that each of us is on his own personal trajectory from monkey to human. And the path isn't always straight. Take Problem Man, if you will. Problem Man has a hair-growth pattern that defies all logic. He has bald spots, swirls, thickets, trails, and, most curiously, a pronounced stripe along the top of each shoulder.

One afternoon, after he was mock-saluted by a particularly unctuous 12-year-old at the pool, Problem Man decided he was going to do something about these epaulets. Sure, if Problem Man were a more enlightened, secure individual, he would have laughed the kid off. But he's not. (Rest assured the urchin got a military-style dressing-down.) There are several ways to undertake the decommissioning of epaulets. First of all, you can shave the things — which is difficult, dangerous, and almost immediately prickly. You can get waxed — which is painful, involves sitting in a waiting room with a bunch of women who'll inevitably make you feel you're doing something very unmanly, and must be done every three weeks to maintain results. Electrolysis is fairly effective (30 percent of the hair follicles electrocuted go fallow forever), but it has to be done one hair at a time, and for a large, densely folliculated area like Problem Man's shoulders, that calculates roughly to eternity.

Not surprisingly, the most dependable depilatories are also the most pricey. Laser hair removal delivers blasts of energy operating over a single wavelength to debilitate hair follicles so they produce finer, lighter hairs; pulsed light does pretty much the same thing using variable wavelengths. Though lasers are fast and effective, they can be used on only extremely fair-skinned people. And Problem Man's got a little bit of color in him. The best option seemed to be pulsed light. There are pulsed-light machines all over the place now, operated by quasi-professionals at hair-removal spas, but Problem Man decided it was better to procure the services of a licensed dermatologist like Dr. Harvey Jay in Manhattan. The procedure begins with a shaving by two of Dr. Jay's (very cute) assistants. Then they slather you with ultrasound gel chilled to what feel like cryogenic temperatures, and the doctor focuses his handheld light-pulse thing on your skin and zaps it once every one and a half seconds. Occasionally it hurts. Once he finds the energy level that works best with your skin type, the whole thing takes a few minutes. If Problem Man just wanted his hair thinned to about 50 percent of its original thickness and density, two sessions ($3,000) would suffice. If he wanted all of it off, it could take up to five sessions, though total follicular eradication can't be guaranteed. Problem Man thinks a thinning is fine for now, and he'll wait to see which direction this evolution thing goes.

Illustration by: Mark Matcho

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[THE LANCET]   [Health Wise]   [Vogue]   [Men's Journal]


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