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Ask Jane : Laser Treatment for PCOs -The Skin To Love Clinic

Ask Jane – Laser Hair Removal for PCOS

I suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and now have dark hairs growing on my face which mean I have to shave almost every day. Would laser treatment be the best way of getting rid of them?

Thank you for your question. This is an extremely common issue that affects lots of women who have PCOS. For those who aren’t aware, one of the symptoms of polycystic ovaries is hair growth in areas such as the face/beard area and the chest and back; these areas are associated with male pattern hair growth and so it can be, understandably, very distressing.

Those dealing with this type of hair growth spend a lot of time removing it. I’ve known women to be shaving twice a day before having professional treatment, which not only impacts on their daily life, but can also start to have an impact on the appearance of the skin; some find that their skin becomes rough, dry, sore, bumpy and red from constant hair removal. I’ve also seen some patients who have inadvertently stimulated pigmentation in the areas due to removal and/or picking at or ‘fiddling’ with the hair.

The benefits of laser hair removal

I have seen life-changing results in patients who I’ve treated with laser hair removal for PCOS hair growth. We treat the entire area at each session and usually recommend a course of 8 treatments. Occasionally, some patients may need more than the suggested 8; with PCOS nobody can totally predict how many each individual will definitely need, nor can anybody guarantee to what extent the treatment will work for the individual. It’s worth keeping in mind also that it’s not uncommon for PCOS patients to need maintenance or ‘top up’ treatments following their course because laser hair removal treats the symptom, not the cause of the hair growth, which in this case is a hormonal issue.

Many patients who have tried electrolysis in the past (another form of long-term hair removal) comment that they prefer laser as you can ‘blanket’ treat the entire area you wish to be treated quite quickly in one session; with electrolysis, the practitioner must treat each individual hair and so can be a much lengthier process, therefore it may take several sessions to fully cover the desired area. However, electrolysis can effectively treat white hairs, which laser and IPL cannot.

In my experience, we would expect most patients to start seeing results at around their third treatment session; some may take a little longer to respond and some may see a change before this but it’s a good guideline. The changes you start to see throughout your course of treatments is that the hair growth becomes slower – patients find they’re not shaving as often as they once were, and the hair may change character to become finer and lighter in colour.

Please see the below photos of one of our Soprano Ice patients who came for treatment for facial hair as a result of PCOS. It shows before her first treatment and then after 3 treatments of her course of 8. You can see that her hair growth has become patchy and the hair itself seems finer. The patient also reported that she wasn’t having to shave as frequently.

Note: Photos were taken by the patient and shared with her permission.

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