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Ipl or Photofacial Side Effect - Hair Growth?

I have very fine facial hair, like most women, but I'm worried that if I have a photo facial that the hair will be burned off during treatment and then grow back thicker. Am I crazy?

Doctor Answers (6)

Not Crazy; Its the world thats gone nuts

+2

The IPL fotofacial will "burn" you facial hair. In men this can be a problem but I have yet to have a female complain of this.

If your hair is fine and wispy, there will not be enough melanin in the hairs to attract the light of the IPL an lead to the hair's destruction. However, if you have darker hairs, they may be eliminated. On this planet at least, females are all to happy to have this hair gone.

The business of hair growing back thicker is an old wife's tale (this must a pretty busy, meddlesome lady, she must really get around cuz I keep hearing about her). Studies have pretty much conclusively shown that the hair does not grow back thicker. Due to its being cut the edge is now sharp rather than deeper and will feel more bristly. Also, some people with this problem who might shave were becoming more hirsute (hairier) anyway from hormonal problems or genetics. They begin to shave and itq appears to them they are gettilng hairier, but in actuality they would have become hairier anyway.

This IPL does a great job in getting rid of blood vessels and pigmented spots, making the skin a more even texture so I would not let any concerns regarding hair burning up other you.


Virginia Beach Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Photofacial and Hair Loss

+1

You're not crazy, it's a valid question! The light from the photo facial is attracted to pigment and does not differentiate between what is present in the skin verses in the hair follicule. Therefore if the hair is anything other than grey or blonde, it may respond to the light from the photofacial and disappear. The hair will not come back thicker, if anything it will decrease which most patients are pleased with.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

IPL rarely makes hair grow

+1

There have been reports that IPL treatments made hair grow. One explanation was that too little energy was used. 

Robert Kasten, MD
Mainz Dermatologic Surgeon

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Yes, you can get the hair burnt off, but, it will not grow back thicker. It actually may grow less.

+1

Thank you for your question.

A photofacial usually refers to the use of an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) device to target blood vessels and pigment (rosacea, sun damage, lentigos). While it doesn't specifically target hair follicles, there is a component of the light spectrum in these machines that usually can affect them and singe off the hair (usually only dark hairs).

For most people, this is a welcome side effect. The hairs that actually singe, and the follicles that are affected, will result in some hair loss, be it mild or patchy. The hair will not grow back thicker in these areas, and may even grow back less and thinner!

Don Mehrabi, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

You are not crazy

+1

it is never crazy to ask questions or have concerns about medical procedures. IPL is actually an effective method to permanently REDUCE facial hair. Of course, fine vellus, fuzz-like hairs don't respond well to any light based therapy, but it absolutely will not worsen it. Ipl will, however, improve dark spots, redness, telangiectasia, and skin texture. So go for it!

Mary Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

IPL treatment and facial hair

+1

You are not crazy. Laser and light treatment have been shown in the past to affect hair growth. Usually, they are used for hair removal and reduction. There are occasional anecdotal stories of hair growing thicker after laser hair removal procedures, especially in the past with older generation lasers. IPL and fotofacial procedure is not new and have been around for several years.

Some forms of IPL machines are used for hair removal. As with any laser, they are usually not great for removing fine "peach fuzz" hair. It would be extremely unlikely for you to have your fine hair burned and then grow thicker. Talk about your fears with your treating physician. If you anticipate great improvement from IPL, you should go ahead with it, since the risk of hair growth is minuscule.

Stella Desyatnikova, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.