PCOS and Laser Hair Removal
Hormone fluctuations are part of being a woman, but when they are due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), they can lead to various health issues. One unfortunate side effect of PCOS is the growth of extra hair in places it isn’t at all welcome.
Fortunately, the laser hair removal specialists at Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal can remove this extra PCOS-fueled hair.
What Happens With PCOS?
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They trigger lots of important processes, everything from growth to energy production to moods. Sometimes the job of one hormone is to signal for the release of another hormone.
PCOS occurs when a woman’s body overproduces sex hormones, called androgens. Normally, fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries break open, releasing mature eggs. In PCOS, these sacs bunch together, creating many tiny cysts. The cysts are not harmful, but lead to hormonal imbalance. The reasons the hormones get out of balance are not understood. One hormone triggers another, leading to a domino effect. PCOS seems to run in families.
Common symptoms of PCOS are acne, weight gain, possible infertility, irregular periods, and one of the most obnoxious symptoms — the growth of extra hair. This hair is thicker and darker. It occurs on the face, chest, stomach, and back. This can really impact the self-esteem of a person suffering from PCOS.
Will Laser Hair Removal Permanently Remove This PCOS Hair?
This new hair growth that is triggered by your body producing too much androgen is not like the rest of the hair on your body, but it still responds to laser hair removal in the same way. Often, because these hairs are usually darker and thicker than a patient’s regular hair removing them with laser energy can actually be easier to do.
The hairs that are removed with the laser energy are gone for good. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean more of these coarse, dark hairs won’t pop up. That’s why maintenance treatments are necessary to keep them down.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work On PCOS Hair?
The process is the same with any hair. At Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal, we have 12 lasers dedicated to hair removal, so we can find the perfect laser for your skin tone and hair color.
During a session, we set the laser wavelength to match the color of your PCOS hair. We then direct short pulses of laser energy onto those hairs. The melanin in the hairs absorbs the light energy, and it instantly converts to heat. The heat travels down the hair shaft into the hair follicle where it is anchored. There, the heat damages or destroys the follicle, precluding it from growing hair in the future.
Can You Perform Laser Hair Removal If I Have PCOS?
Yes, the laser energy only is absorbed by the melanin in your unwanted hairs. It does not affect the skin or any other body parts or functions.
PCOS Laser Hair Removal Treatment Areas
The only areas on women that cannot be treated with laser hair removal are the inside of the ears and the inside of the nose. PCOS hairs usually grow on the face, chest, stomach, and back. These areas all respond quite well to laser hair removal.
Why Do I Need So Many Treatments To Remove PCOS Hair?
The hormone fluctuations with PCOS cause your hair follicles to become very active. This can include follicles that don’t normally produce dark hair, such as around the chin or on the back. Sure, we’re all used to the fine, peach fuzz-like vellus hairs, but these thick dark hairs are the worst.
They still behave like your other hair, meaning PCOS hairs go through the different phases of the hair growth cycle. To be effective, laser energy has to catch the hair in the “growth” phase of the cycle, not the “transition” or “resting” phases. All hairs move through these different phases of the growth cycle, including PCOS hair. That’s why multiple laser hair removal sessions are required to catch as many hairs as possible in the growth phase.
We will remove the vast majority of these hairs during your first sessions. But as long as your body is producing extra androgens, these unwanted hairs will keep sprouting up. That’s why repeat treatments are necessary. At Romeo & Juliette, we call these maintenance treatments. After the initial set of treatments removes most of your PCOS hair, maintenance treatments every 3-4 months will keep them at bay.
How Do I Prepare For Laser Hair Removal On My PCOS Hair?
It helps the laser wavelength direct the optimal amount of energy onto the hair if the hair color and skin color are quite different. Thanks to our wide assortment of lasers at Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal, we can successfully remove hair of all colors and on all skin tones. But it is most effective when there is contrast. So, we ask our patients to not tan or darken their skin for at least one month prior to their appointment. Also, don’t wax or pluck your PCOS hairs for 4-6 weeks to ensure they are actively anchored in the follicle (you can shave them, as that doesn’t affect the follicles). Finally, the night before your treatment you closely shave the area with the PCOS hair (again, this leaves plenty of hair shaft down in the follicle to absorb the laser energy).
Side Effects Of PCOS Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal was first approved by the FDA in 1964. Since those days laser technology has continued to evolve. These are safe, effective procedures, especially when done by the experienced team at Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal. Generally, the only side effects after your session is some redness on the treatment areas. The skin may be a little tender and may swell slightly. This usually passes overnight.