Diary of an Australian Boy

My Dear Friends,

You may not know me. I have not been an active member on this forum. But I have been around for over a year now. Following all of you.

This is my story:

I am a 22 year old male of middle eastern background living in Australia. I decided to undergo laser hair removal when I was 19 years old. The areas that I had treated were my arms, facial cheeks, underarms, and shoulders. I had these areas treated with an Alexandrite Gentle Lase machine. On my cheeks I had approximately 20 sessions spaced a month apart. Everywhere else I had approximately 10 sessions spaced 8 weeks apart.

In all the laser sessions, I responded just as I was supposed to. My skin came out in bumps and whelks. This subsided by a day. And I would be left with red bumps all over for the next couple of days. The hairs would then gradually fall out of their own accord over the next few weeks. etc.

Unfortunately, the laser was not only ineffective but the areas treated are now worse than they originally were. The hair is now very dark, and much coarser. Particularly in areas that were not a problem beforehand. For example, my inside forearm hairs which were quite fine before are now very thick and dark. And my shoulders are really bad too. This response was generally noticed everywhere. There are a few small patches on my outer forearm where the laser seems to have killed off a few hairs.

This stimulation is clearly the result of laser because there are clear lines where the laser has traveled and created dark coarse hair next to light fine hairs.

I stopped after this many treatments and sought advice from doctors. To keep this short and sweet - they had no idea. One even burnt me.

I then sought the help of other laser therapist who may have come into contact with other people like me. No one was sure what had happened. One very experienced therapist had me go for two sessions of laser with her. She claimed that the laser had been on ineffective low settings. She raised the settings to extremely high (unbearable) levels on a Lumenis Lightsheer machine, to the point where I was shaking during treatments. With the help of Emla I had two sessions with her but this was also not very effective. However, I will give it to her, she didn’t burn me.

So by this point I was so upset and frustrated I decided to leave it for two years. But now the hairs are unmanageable. Because they are thick, waxing results in a field of ingrowns, sore bumps, pain etc. And shaving is much the same. And I haven’t worn a t-shirt in two years. Or exercised. I haven’t been happy. I spend most my time worrying about it. And the remaining time plucking. Sleep and awake time. Especially given that I never really had hair anxiety before laser.

But my solace has been this website. It is so comforting to know that this is a shared experience. That I am not the only one who cries. So thank you to all of you here. If it weren’t for you all, I would be in far worse place. Hairtell has been my daily home of optimism for the past year.

So above is the history. I am going to start my diary in the next post :slight_smile:

  • P

So, after finding this website I learnt that electrolysis is not a thing of the past.

I was put in touch with Christine O’Connell in Sydney. I was happy to travel 3 hours for an electrologist that is worth it. If there is something i have learnt from you all, it is that the skill of the electrologist counts.

After a long and anxious wait, I had my first consultation with her for electrolysis on Tuesday (2 days ago). She did a 1/2hrs work on my arm. We decided to start with arms.

The treatment was painless. And I reacted very nicely.

We have made a schedule, my next appointment is on March 9th and we hope to get 10 hours done from then until April 13th.

She was so optimistic. And kind. I’m really excited. And hope for the best. I have to.

I’m so glad I have finally started a dialogue here. This is an issue that is not spoken of enough. We need to dismantle the embarrassment that is associated with hair troubles. And pass our stories on. There is so much still to learn.

Before electrolysis (2 and a half months growth after waxing):

And this is the test patch 24 hours after treatment:

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

One other thing I forgot to add. The laser changed the structure and nature of my hair as well. The hair is now really curly! And loooonnnggggggggg!!! It’s really strange. And it tapers in a really strange way as well. This picture of my shoulder might show you:

Good start, Australian boy!

I think you will find your progress quick because your hair seems really sparse. It looks like a lot of hair because they are long, but really they do not seem dense at all. Good luck. I was in a much worse place when I started. I feel for you on the negative self image; I feel much better now. Advice: don’t wait to exercise. It’s going to be a long process, so start getting in shape now so that you can make joint progress.

Push onward, DPP. Those hairs have got to be punched hard and strong. I noticed a multiple needle rack in one of your pictures. I know that Christine has an Apilus Platinum or Pure. Was your arm treated with an Apilus Plat or Pure or was multi-needle galvanic used? I agree with everything bryce said. He knows this process unlike any other poster here. Thanks for the great pictures and description. I copied and pasted your laser outcome in a thread dedicated to laser hair stimulation. Good luck, friend. You are lucky to have Christine.

Regarding your laser experience, do you remember what fluence was used on these areas? Do you think the Lasing helped with density? Is there less hair?

Christine is having some computer problems,if you are wondering why you have not seen any posts from her. so i will answer your question Dee, Christine is using the Apilus Plat Pure. That multi galvanic was just one of the modalities she use to use.

I do not remember the fluence that was used with laser. But I can assure you it was stronger than normal. Particularly on the lightsheer. But what I will do is wait till Monday and call both the laser clinics that I went to and ask them to check their records. Then i’ll get back to you :-).

The laser did far more harm than it did good. However, it did thin out two patches on my arms. One patch on my upper arm, and one on my lower arm. In these small areas, the hair is far less dense than the rest. I will take a picture of this and post it as well soon. Otherwise, there was no thinning out. And it looks far worse than pre-laser.

A few hairs must have died here and there, but overall, I would say there is not less hair.

One thing which I would confidently say is to not treat vellus hairs at all! They are most probable to become stimulated. The interesting thing is that the two patches that were thinned out (as i described above), were patches of vellus (upper arm) and terminal (lower arm) hair prior to laser. So again, an inconsistency.

I should also add to this post that during my research, I contacted Dr Shraddha Desai and asked her for help with the issue. She has written the most extensive and recent research paper on paradoxical hypertrichosis, and is a researcher at Loyola University. This was her response:

I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I understand how distressing this condition can be. The best treatment is, in fact, continued treatment with laser. However, you should not use the alexandrite. We’d had success with the Nd:YAG laser for this problem and it’s been shown to be safe and effective for darker skin types. I would find a dermatologist who has this laser and set up a visit with them. In terms of number of treatments, it’s hard to say. Hair removal in general takes multiple treatments and in your case, we’d want to take care not to make the condition worse. Electrolysis is also an effective treatment. However, it is very time-consuming (each individual hair is targeted separately) and expensive. It would likely take years to completely remove all of the hair you’re concerned about. As a result, I would recommend treatment with the Nd:YAG.

Hopefully this has helped a bit, and I wish you the best of luck.


However, I had read on this site that people had experienced stimulation even from the Nd:YAG machine. And I don’t have dark skin. And I didn’t have any idea who would be experienced enough to use the Nd:YAG to treat it. So I wasn’t willing to risk it. And don’t believe it either. But who knows?

So, yes, I will post fluence and pictures by Monday.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Dr. Desai should become a friend of HairTell. She is correct about the Nd:YAG. Since your hairs are deeper into the skin, the YAG can penetrate deeper to deliver more heat to the bottom of the follicle. However, the upper arms, shoulders and upper back are risky areas for laser hair stimulation, as you now know. Thanks for making the effort to find out the fluences used on the diode and alexandrite lasers. I’m just curious.

If Dr. Desai could see a [size:11pt]modernly equipped, skilled electrologist[/size] flying in Zen mode, using one of the thermolysis modes on an Apilus Platinum/Pure, she would change her mind about electrolysis being slow. What good is it to have LASER and pay thousands of dollars, only to end up with MORE hair?

Sahar, thanks for explaining about Christine’s computer problems. Hope she can get that resolved soon… My love, to both of you!

DPP, I read your thread yesterday but I didn’t get time to comment.

I was going to say the same thing - you should have been treated with a YAG. You are of middle eastern descent so you will have underlying pigment making you between type III-IV. One of my cousin’s was identified as type III and is being treated with an Alex but she is much fairer (European-ish skin tone) than yourself.

Dee has explained that some areas are susceptible to Laser Induced Growth regardless of Laser type. I think Dr. Desai is trying to say that continued Laser will remove the induced hair as well. In the experience of clients who have reported here that is not the case, especially if the hair is really just too fine to respond to Laser. This is something I feel clinics and it seems Dr. Desai seem to miss - there is a limit to how fine the hair can be because one is limited in how high the settings can be increased without causing burns.

I also feel your hair is not really thick or dense enough for Laser treatments in the first place (bearing in mind it was less before), which may have contributed to stimulation.

But, I have to say, I feel this may just be part of the ageing process. I am not of middle eastern descent but not far off on the map. I met my husband when he was 21. He had incredibly hairy arms and legs (hairer than I’ve seen any man present with on HairTell to be quite honest) but his chest/back and upper arms were almost hairless. Just some light hair on the upper arms and chest. He’s now 28 and in the past 7 years he now has much more chest hair and quite a bit of hair on his shoulders. It grows quite long and sticks out at random angles.
He’s never been near a Laser in his life nor has done any body hair removal in these areas.

Anyway, you are on the right track now with electrolysis. I recommend the same for anyone in your position for upper body treatment. And I’m sure with Christine treating you it will not be the “very time-consuming (each individual hair is targeted separately) and expensive. It would likely take years to completely remove all of the hair you’re concerned about.” case that Dr. Desai claims.

I think this is the beginning of a success story :slight_smile:

Good luck Australian boy!

I had IPL before and it induced more hair and a lot worse than what I had before. I fell into the trap of the misleading advertisements. The upper shoulders as well as the upper cheeks where I experienced hair induced by IPL. I wish you all the best Australian boy. This forum gave me hope, thanks to the experienced electrologists who share their knowledge with all of us

DPP, good luck with your journey. I look forward to follow your story.

Firstly, to Josefa, bryce, stoppit&tidyup, dfahey, boy1989, nicefeelings88, and johnyvb, THANK YOU for the encouragement and advice. It helps a lot!

I have been meaning to post for quite some time now, but things get so busy! I’m sorry for taking so long.

This is a post in response to dfahey’s question regarding thinning of areas with laser. I have written that there are two patches where the laser seems to have killed off hair. It’s best that I just show you.

Lower arm:

And upper arm:

Also, dfahey, I have been trying to get in contact with my initial laserist to find out the fluence she used on the Alexandrite. But she is not responding, despite all of my attempts. However, the lady that I had two sessions with on the lightsheer did respond, and she told me she had it on 37 auto. But she was adamant to warn me that I will be burned at that setting in inexperienced hands.

I know that the Alexandrite setting would have been alot less than that. If I am to have a guess based on pain level, I would say the Alexandrite was on 22 or so. But that is a guess.


Thanks for the pictures. Very nice. The Alex goes to 20 joules max. I think she is right on about the diode level. I invite Chris to correct me if I am wrong about this. I kind of know this stuff by osmosis.

Joules depends on the spot size. So you’d need to know spot size, joules and p.w.

Yes, well she said 37 auto. Does the ‘auto’ cover the spot size?

I don’t know about the Lightsheer settings. I was referring to the Alex. From my knowledge, I doubt you will have been treated at even 20J if the spot was 18mm.

Okay, i’ll keep trying to get in touch with the Alexandrite operator and find out. :slight_smile: