In my relatively long electrolysis hair removal experience, I have treated a multitude of people of different ages and genders, and with different type of hair and skin color.
Recently, I have had a number of clients coming to me for electrolysis, claiming being dissatisfied with the results of laser hair removal treatments on their face, shoulders, back or chest. In all those cases, and in their opinion, after having numerous treatments, laser has increased the hair growth instead of removing or reducing hair permanently. They also claim that hair became darker and thicker. medilase
Their case histories show that these clients have light skin, excess hair growth on the face and neck and imbalance of hormones. Also, some have poly-cystic ovarian syndromes, adrenal disorders and other conditions that cause the excessive growth of hair. Although their hair was visible before, it was not as excessive, thick and dark as when they finished with their laser hair removal treatments.
Being both a certified clinical – medical electrologist and a laser technician and having worked in the electrolysis field since 1997, I tend to recommend my clients (especially women) to have electrolysis and not to have laser hair removal treatments on the face, neck, back and shoulders.
Back to basic: laser vs electrolysis
Hair grows out of the dermis. The indentation of the skin in which the hair shaft grows is called a follicle. The only living portion of the hair is found in the follicle. This is the base of the root, which is called the bulb, and which contains the cells that produce the hair shaft. It is this hair bulb in the follicle that both laser and electrolysis are targeting when aiming to eliminating the hair growth.
Given that the follicle can produce two types of hair: vellus hair, which are pale, fine, and fluffy; and terminal hair, which are darker, coarser and thicker, could it be possible that the applied (laser) radiation, in some cases, stimulates hair follicles that produces the fine hair into producing terminal hair?
It is important to point out that laser cannot treat individual follicles. When applied, it treats not only the unwanted hair, but the laser beam goes also over a far greater skin area that surrounds the unwanted hair, where there is no visible or a very fine hair.
No matter what type of laser machine for hair removal is being used – diode, alexandrite or long pulsed Nd:Yg – the principal behind the LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) hair removal is the same.
When the laser operator activates the laser, the laser beam will pass through the skin to the tiny sacs called follicles where hair growth originates. The intense heat from the laser beam damages the hair follicles, which eliminates hair growth.
The hand piece tip of the laser hair removal machine must be in firm contact with the skin. Several pulses should then be placed next to one another while looking for the epidermal response. The firm pressure also flattens the epidermis, bringing the hair roots closer to the surface. Hair roots closer to the surface have a greater probability of absorbing the laser light.
In contrast to laser hair removal, electrolysis devices treat individual follicles only. Using the most modern technology, a minute amount of electricity is carefully applied to the base of the hair follicle. This process destroys the hair growth cell. Therefore, the regrowth ability of the hair follicle is permanently eliminated.
Without the blood flow, that particular follicle cannot grow another hair.
There is no doubt in my mind that far greater number of people are satisfied with their laser hair removal results than those who are not. I do not want to pretend that I know for certain the reason behind the laser treatment failing some of these people, and why some people experience the increased hair growth on the laser treated areas.
In my opinion, one of the reasons for the increased hair after laser hair removal treatments is the electromagnetic radiation of the laser when applied and its impact on the potential hair growing cells there, especially in clients with imbalance of hormones and/or whose hair cells are more sensitive to normal levels of circulating (male hormones) androgens.
There is relatively little published research information on laser hair removal, although the laser companies are quick to promote their new devices and promising expectations.
As a professional dedicated to giving clients the best service possible, I would like to see more research done and more published data on laser hair removal. The best hope for our clients is that researchers and physicians continue to make their findings known in peer-reviewed publications. That way they will be able to combat the hype present in the mainstream media, the manufacturer and practitioner promotional materials and in the often unreliable, anecdotal reports from consumers. Without these researched and established findings, we can only guess why the increase of terminal, unwanted hair happens in some women (and men) after the laser hair removal treatments