I am a 30-year-old female with PCOS. I have had thick dark hair on my chin and jawline since I was 18, which I had been managing by extensive daily plucking and shaving. I recently started laser hair removal on my chin/jaw and my upper lip, which cost a total of $600 for both areas to be treated once per month for 18 months. I have had three sessions so far. I have not seen any results yet, and the hair is not falling out, thinning, or growing any slower. I should mention that the hair is dark and I have very light, pale skin. Each session, the technician tells me she is turning up the power on the laser a little more because I am not not seeing results. I was initially told to expect redness, burning, itching, and bumps following the treatments, which wold be a sign that they are working. I have minor redness that lasts only ten minutes or so, and I have never felt any irritation afterwards at the treated sites - no itching, burning, or pain. I do feel the painful "bursts" or "pops" when the laser actually passes over the skin, and I can smell burning hair. My first question would be - do I need to press the technician for a higher laser setting or ask for more and/or longer passes over each area - or do I just need to give it more time? Remember, this is not fine lady hair but thick, coarse, man-beard type hair. My second question has to do with the last treatment I had - when the laser passed over my upper lip, I felt burning and pain in the roots of my front teeth. Usually, I try to put my tongue over my teeth, but I didn't get a chance this time. I still occasionally feel discomfort in my front teeth now, a week later. Could this be a potential problem, and have I inadvertently injured or weakened the roots of my front teeth?
Laser injury to teeth with upper lip treatment? And not seeing results...
Doctor Answers 3
Find an Experienced Provider with Good Equipment that is Regularly Calibrated
Thank you for your questions and we understand your concerns. It is difficult to answer your question without knowing what kind of equipment was used. Lasers are almost always better than IPL for Laser Hair Removal. With PCOS, your struggle with hair will be an on-going battle but you should be able to see improvement. Look for the best equipment and experience, rather than the cheapest price.
Newer lasers have features built in (such as sapphire cooling tips) to make them more comfortable. Some of the newer technology is also more efficient, allowing for lower energy settings to be used with better results and less discomfort. For any laser treatment, safety is the most important consideration. In the state of Texas, every new laser patient has to be seen by a medical practitioner. At that point, they can determine if you can be safely treated with their laser.
We recommend finding an experienced and reputable provider in your area with updated equipment. Calibration and power of the laser is important for a safe, comfortable and effective treatment. Find out what laser they will use and if it is under a maintenance contract. If their laser isn’t calibrated on a regular basis or is underpowered, your treatment may be painful or inefficient. We can't comment on the laser you mentioned. It doesn't have the power & features we required.
Not seeing improvement with LHR
It is still early to see improvements. It takes 6-10 treatments in the lip area. Some lasers are more effective than others. IPL is not as good as lasers. You should see results with light skin and thick dark hair. However, with PCOS, it is an ongoing battle and you will require many touch ups. Sometimes gauze can be placed between the teeth and lips to provide comfort. No permanent injury has been sustained.
Getting the Results You Want
Each patient's react differently after a treatment. Laser hair removal can take a 3-6 treatments to remove hair permanently. The teeth are sensitive due to the heat on the target area going into the teeth as well. You didn't mention it, but I would ask if they have a shield for the teeth, in case on wasn't used. Please see an expert. Best, Dr. Emer
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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.