Stimulated hair growth, also known as Paradoxical Hypertrichosis, has emerged as a side effect of cosmetic treatments like laser hair removal, IPL, electrolysis, and microneedling. This phenomenon occurs when the low-level heat from these procedures stimulates certain finer hair types, known as vellus or ‘peach fuzz’ hair, causing it to transition into thicker and darker terminal hair.
The Rise in Paradoxical Hypertrichosis Cases
While these treatments generally yield positive outcomes, the number of clinics and standardising low-level protocols have increased the number of stimulated hair growth cases. Large clinics’ lack of tailored treatments and settings has led to underreporting within the aesthetics industry.
Pulse Light Clinic has been at the forefront, conducting research over the past five years to understand and address laser-induced hair growth. The clinic has observed an influx of clients seeking help after sessions elsewhere triggered unwanted hair growth.
Identifying Those More Prone to Stimulated Hair Growth
Certain groups are more prone to stimulated hair growth, including:
- Women with Middle Eastern or Mediterranean backgrounds
- Women with PCOS or hormone imbalances
- Clients seeking fine hair removal with lasers
- Men with high levels of DHT treating finer hair
- Clients on medications such as corticosteroids
- Those treating sparse hairs on hormonal areas like the chin
Signs of Stimulation
When hair begins to reappear after it has been removed and seems to be darker and coarser than it was previously, this could be a sign that the hair growth has been stimulated in some way. Yet it’s essential to consider other factors influencing this change, especially hormonal fluctuations. Before jumping to conclusions and believing that this change is only due to the hair removal process or any other treatment that has been applied, it is essential to eliminate the possibility that changes in hormone levels are causing it. These hormonal changes could be due to various reasons, so it’s best to look into this before deciding on the cause of the hair’s altered appearance.
Mitigating Risks and Treatment Options
Pulse Light Clinic has developed a successful stimulated hair growth program, offering consultations and tailored packages. High-risk clients, such as those with PCOS, can still undergo laser hair removal with careful assessment and personalised protocols, including:
- Using ice packs or cryocoolers before and after treatment to rapidly cool the skin
- Applying high-power settings to reduce the chance of stimulating vellus hair into thicker hairs
- Delivering longer pulses from the laser for better heat absorption
- Employing a multi-laser approach with different wavelengths for enhanced efficacy
- Shortening treatment intervals, especially on the face, to catch each growth cycle during the Anagen phase
Electrolysis carries a small risk of paradoxical hypertrichosis but remains a viable alternative, especially for targeted treatment of areas with a handful of darker hairs among vellus hair.
Research highlights that continuing laser hair removal with appropriate protocols is the best option for stimulated hair growth clients, offering a potential permanent reduction.
For more information, book a free consultation at one of Pulse Light Clinic’s five locations for expert assessment and advice for optimal laser hair removal results.