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 laser hair removal.
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.
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.