Excess hair growth with a hair removal laser
Thank you for writing. The more we all stay in touch, the better we’ll be able to help our patients. This is such a good question and not talked about much. We have had 2 or 3 patients over the years with this complication of excess hair growth. In my reading of the research, there is a small but significant (approximately 5%) group of patients who get an increase in hair with hair removal lasers. Also, in my reading, it can happen with any hair removal laser, including Alexandrite (“Alex”), Diodes, Nd:Yags and IPL based systems. If you find research that disagrees with this, please let me know.
Also, why this occurs is not clear. It seems to happen more in younger patients than older ones, and is VERY resistant to treatment, as you and your daughters discovered. I’m also wondering if this might be under reported when it happens, so the companies may not have any true idea of how often this complication occurs.
My opinion would be to avoid laser hair removal in patients who show this tendency for at least several years, and then to try cautiously a test area (about 2 x 2 cm) at a less exposed site. You did all the right things by having them see an endocrinologist and gynae to help with any potential hormone issues, or possible polycystic ovary syndrome, or endometriosis.
Other options to treat excess hair growth include:
I hope this helps, at least with some peace of mind, that this wasn’t anything that could be predicted ahead of time. Dr. I