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PCOS? Hirsutism? Beware of Laser Hair Removal Which Can Cause Paradoxical Hypertrichosis (Excess Hair Growth)

Paradoxical Hypertrichosis - a possible side effect from laser hair removal

What is Paradoxical Hypertrichosis?

Paradoxical Hypertrichosis is when laser hair removal can paradoxically cause excess hair growth (hypertrichosis).

This happens because laser can stimulate hair follicles, which can cause an increase in hair density, colour or coarseness - or a combination of these - at or near treated sites in the absence of any other known causes of hypertrichosis. This is also known as terminalization, induction and excessive terminal hair growth, as per this article in Dermatologic Surgery

Paradoxical Hypertrichosis can happen in up to 10% of clients who receive laser hair removal treatments.

Paradoxical Hypertrichosis (increased hair growth). Long-term outcome of laser hair removal. 6-month post treatment of man’s upper arms and upper back. Click here to view the full study: Journal of Cosmetic & Laser Therapy 2018, Vol 20, No. 3, 179-1836 month post-treatment shows dense hair growth on the upper arms and upper back
All laser and light sources have the potential to cause hair induction, see this article from the Dermatology Times, "Light, laser therapy may stimulate hair growth"
Paradoxical hypertrichosis is said to be a "rare" affecting 0.6% to 10% of those treated. However, the risk of experiencing it increases for those who have underlying androgen-related hormonal conditions. Since there are very few studies on the adverse effects of laser hair removal, please do not getting treatment in the areas below, if you are an ‘at-risk’ candidate per scientist’s findings.

The highest incidents of Paradoxical Hypertrichosis occurs in the following areas for:

Women - face & neck (neck, upper lip, chin, cheeks & sideburns).

Women who have these hormonal conditions are at a greater risk of experiencing Paradoxical Hypertrichosis:

  • PCOS / PCOD - Polycystic Ovation Syndrome / Polycystic Ovation Disorder
  • Cushing's Syndrome
  • NCAH - Non-Classic Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
  • Androgen-Secreting Tumour

Men - upper torso (chest, back, shoulders)

People taking hormone supplements, or corticosteroids also have a higher chance of experiencing Paradoxical Hypertrichosis.

Antihistamines, tetracycline antibiotics, oral contraceptives are known to be photosensitive (sensitive to light) among many other drugs and being photosensitive can cause burns when having Laser treatments & should be stopped before laser treatments. Obviously, check with your Dr before stopping any medications. 

Many well known studies in medical journals emphasize other potential factors that increase probability, such as darker skin types, underlying hormonal disorders, age, sex, race, laser types and settings, and number of treatments necessary to validate these claims. Paradoxical Hypertrichosis After Laser Therapy: A Review, this scientific abstract of Paradoxical Hypertrichosis 21 yr old male

Pie chart showing Paradoxical Hypertrichosis after Laser treatments

Click on image above to read study

22-year-old woman   before and after 2 laser treatments treatments - resulting in Paradoxical Hypertrichosis

Before & After photo of 22 year old woman chin after 2 sessions of IPL laser, Paradoxical Hypertrichosis, excess hair growth in after pictureClick on image above to read study

Laser Hair Removal Made Me Hairier
by Jacqueline KilikitaLaser Hair Removal Made Me HairierClick on image above to read her article

The long & short of it - be aware of Laser. Do your research - recognize that if you decide to go ahead with Laser, it could result in Paradoxical Hypertrichosis....and do you really want to risk that?  ​To read more studies - click here

With Electrolysis - you don't have to worry about Paradoxical Hypertrichosis. Unlike Laser, Electrolysis uses minute amounts of electrical current to destroy hair follicles permanently by destroying the follicle's ability to produce hair. It has been safely used for over 140 years, and has proven it's effectiveness over and over again. Are you ready to start your Electrolysis journey? Let's get started - book your free consultation today!

Click here to book your free consultation today!

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency, for diagnosis, or for the substituting of any treatment. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions, and for all prescriptions.

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