Paradoxical regrowth is a side effect that occurs after hair removal. This little-known phenomenon is nonetheless frequent, explaining the increasing demand for laser hair removal. Paradoxical regrowth is extremely unpleasant for patients because it requires a longer treatment time. However, it is quite possible to effectively get rid of them by following a strict protocol.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a method that makes it possible to eliminate almost all hair permanently. This treatment is very effective since it is estimated that 90% of the hair in the treated areas does not grow back.
As with any medical treatment, there are risks of side effects. In the context of laser hair removal treatment, these risks mainly concern skin reactions (burns, allergies, rashes). Another side effect related to the laser hair removal treatment is paradoxical regrowth.
Definition of paradoxical regrowth
Paradoxical regrowth refers to the appearance of hair (rather fine and long) on an area of the face or body that is not treated but in the closest proximity to a treated area. It can occur after hair removal using pulsed light, laser, wax, electric hair removal, or even after shaving or using tweezers.
The causes of paradoxical regrowth
Paradoxical regrowth is a rather common effect. When it occurs after laser hair removal, the appearance of hair in the untreated areas is often the result of negligence in following the usual precautions.
Certain areas of the human body are more prone to paradoxical regrowth. These are generally areas that are particularly sensitive to hormones. For men, these are the upper back and shoulders. For women, these are the lower jaw, neck, cheekbones, inner and upper thighs, around the areolas, and the umbilical line between the belly button and the pubis.
What are the reasons for paradoxical hair regrowth?
This phenomenon, although frequent, is not systematic. Several causes seem to promote paradoxical hair growth: hormonal imbalance, olive to dark skin, too fine hair, hair isolated in a downy area (sentinel hair), too little energy used, or a poorly optimized cooling system.
The treatment against paradoxical hair regrowth
Hair removal is possible under certain conditions. A strict protocol must be followed in order to obtain good results.
First of all, ice cubes should be used for a few minutes on the area to be treated as well as the surrounding areas to cool them down. The same step will be repeated at the end of the session to reduce the risk of regrowth stimulation, caused by the propagation of the heat emitted by the laser.
Next, a suitable laser must be chosen. We commonly use the Yag laser for darker skin and the Alexandrite laser for lighter skin. However, it is possible to combine the two devices to optimize hair removal.
Finally, the choice of the size of the handpiece is essential. It must be suitable for the size of the hair. A reduced pulse time, high energy coupled with an intense cold system allow the hair to be destroyed efficiently and quickly.
The first sessions of permanent laser hair removal are carried out a little closer together.
This protocol can be followed until the hair becomes finer and more diffuse. Afterward, it is possible to switch to electric hair removal to perfect the aesthetic result.