Induced hair growth/paradoxical hair growth (long

Please excuse the length and detail, I hope to considerate by being succinct but thorough for my own benefit and for that of similarly desperate researchers.

I am a textbook case of induced hair growth (IHG from hence forth): Olive skin (Mediterranean/ middle eastern); jaw line treatments on insufficiently coarse hair.

As far as I know now, I have ‘normal’ hormones but possibly a very subtle imbalance. GP says I’m fine; not sure. Father and brother=very very hair; hairy on body before puberty.

Put simply and with great pain, where I previously had dark vellus hair over much of my ‘beard’ area, I have what might be less vellus hair and patches of thick ones where they never were. Is it the worst it COULD be (like in derm journals), probably not. Is it way worse than it was. YES absolutely.

I noticed the IHG after 3 ish treatments, it may have gotten worse on the 4th when I switched practices and lasers from diode to nd:yag, difficult to tell if i without photos.

Suffering greatly, craving the hair-free period, and unable to access or afford quality consistent electrolysis for at least another 9 months, I decided I try another YAG treatment. I feel like a weak fool. HERE IS how I caved but tried to manage risk:

1)I had them use the most aggressive settings they were willing (40 j, not certain about the rest, but they would not budge) and iced the areas extensively. If I could have gotten someone confident and skilled enough to use diode/alex and/or VERY high fleunces safely, I SO would have. Desperation called.

  1. I outlined the treatment area very carefully. I had them avoid all areas other than the coarser patches on my face, avoided isolated dark hairs, and DID NOT LET THEM TOUCH the new coarser hair on my neck to avoid the risk of making the neck worse. I decided that touching the neck is a terrible idea.

  2. Following as closely as possible the procedure proposed by Willey (2007), and noting studies and annectodal evidence, I iced the surrounding areas and treatment areas extensively during the treatment as much as possible and immediately following for long intervals over a few hours. I also took a 800mg of gel ibu to prevent inflammation 45 mins before. The treatment went alright, more swelling than I have had before but resolved fine. This was yesterday.

I could accept it staying the same until I am in a steady place with a good and steadier income and a good and steady electrologist. For now, laser does provide me with a better quality of life in the short term even though it BLOWS that laser did this to me (except the chin/lip).I WILL GET QUALITY ELECTROLYSIS ASAP. I just need to get through the time when I find it.

I am more comfortable with people looking at me between laser sessions than between any other methods I have tried (including suboptimal electro for a while!).


  1. Does the cooling method REALLY work to prevent the paradoxical growth the same+adjacent areas? don’t know if mine is adjacent or not, originally had whole face/upper upper neck treated.

  2. Does IHG get worse each time or is it just hard to deal with once it is there?

  3. the double pass method one week later, proposed by Willey (2007)- should I try that in a few days?- I kind of don’t want to.

4)what do experienced people suggest?

Bump. I continue to find this topic very interesting. Seems like most experts do not know what exactly causes this side effect. I’ve seen people with coarse hair, on this forum and others venues, experience this side effect.

I met with Dr. Wiley and she evaluated me and said I was a perfect candidate for induced hair growth and she was not sure why the initial doctor who treated me said I was a great candidate for LHR.

Dr. Wiley also warned that even if you experience shedding (as I did) that that doesn’t mean you are getting a good treatment. Meaning, she said she could use sub-optimal settings and still cause hair to fall out without damaging the hair follicle.

In the end, she recommended that I not pursue more lhr for the fear that it could continue to get worse. She did say that she would treat me herself and try to “push” the settings on me despite my slight olive skin tone. The bottom line is that she didn’t know. She definitely believes in icing and the double pass method. But it sounds like even that is not a guarantee to prohibit induced hair growth.

I’ve heard lots of responses on this topic. Some say continue with lhr and some say just go with electrolysis or wax or even just shave. I have tried electrolysis and I do believe in it. But to me, you absolutely MUST find a good practitioner. I had one electrologist who took a lot longer using the blend method and she stayed in the follicle a long time. I ended up with lots of spots on my skin which eventually resolved within 8 months to 1 year. Though I never finished my treatments with her, I definitely saw improvement. I eventually had to move away from her and honestly, it wouldve taken too long anyway. I went to another electrologist also using the blend method. MUCH Faster. I thought I had found my answer. I believe because she didnt spend as much time in each follicle I didn’t achieve as good results. Also, same skin reaction but with a quicker healing time.

I want to believe in lhr. But after reading all these stories it is getting harder and harder. It seems like successful stories are few and far between.

I, too, would like to hear from people like Romeo, SSHLR, and other experts on this topic. What are your recommendations? Have you personally seen this? Have you seen anyone who did experience induced growth eventually achieve positive results?

All the best and Happy holidays!

thanks blue

I just have to pray that I didn’t make it worse this last time. I could probably deal with trying to just shave it or bleach or I don’t know what.

I had the exact same experience as you with the electrolysis and skin damage on my chin. That too took like a year to get better.

I am really scared.

Regarding my personal experiences, we have seen IHG on females skin type IV on their neck and upper arms. Icing the surrounding area during treatment may prevent IHG on the surrounding areas.
With male upper arms, that is not the case. ( In my opinion ). Even if you ice the area, if you treat vellus hair, you may get some sort of stimulation of the peryphery.

Once you have IHG on the upper arms, it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get rid of however, we have had a lot of success with trying various lasers by varying the spot sizes, wavelengths , pulse widths and energies.

Thanks Romeo

What of your success treating women with this on their necks/face? Thank you so much for your time!

We are having a TOUGH TIME treating women who have this issue. We try to treat them just on those areas with very very small spot sizes and incredible high energy.


In your opinion, is one better off with electrolysis once induced hair growth has occurred on the shoulders and upper arms? (male or female)

I would exhaust ALL POSSIBILITIES with laser treatments and if that fails, YES, I would suggest Electrolysis.

Hi and thanks for your replies

Romeo, when you say you are having a tough time, does that mean that MORE induced hair growth is occuring at and/or around the areas you are treating or simply that the IHG is not coarse enough to respond easily to laser treatment?

given your tough time, it doesn’t sound like success on the female face/neck is likely. My fear is that in trying more laser I will make it worse!

No, once the IHG is there, we treat it without any additional IHG occuring. However, we usually use tiny spot sizes with very high energy and target the individual hairs.

Hey guys,

I am a dark skinned male. East indian. 24 years old. I had LHR done when I was 18. Ended around when I turned 19. It was a LightSheer. Obviously, couldn’t go up that high. I sustained some burns but they healed without scarring and the results overall were ok but not even close to worth the money.

Furthermore the doc treated me every 2 weeks. I was not knowledgable on this back then and apparently neither was he. So it was just very inefficient/etc.

3 years later I tried LHR once again but only had a sample spot done. Then another year later (this past year) I had a tx done. it worked well and knocked off a lot of hairs.

Anyways, after doing this one tx. I ended up with lots of pitted scarring and what looks like a loss of depth in the skin. All of this is only on one side of my face (left). There are lots of very light fine hairs on my upper left face. This is very bothersome and makes me wonder if I’ve got IHG now…

I recall that during the downtime between passes, the doc would spray a cool mist to cooldown the treated area. I’m beginning to think this is what scarred me possibly…

Anyways, these indentations seem like they could be treated but then again I don’t know…

As for the induced hair growth, does anyone know if it’s possible to get this as a male? Should I keep zapping it or focus only on the coarse hair as usual? Is scarring from LHR permanent? thanks again sorry for all the questions

Can you post some pictures please ?

I don’t have pictures now but Ill try to get some later.

It’s just a bunch of very light hairs growing where there were none before. It’s very strange and not symmetrical to the other side of my face. The texture is different and the depth of the skin is uneven.



When you say you are having a “tough time” treating IHG, what does that mean exactly? Are you eventually able to resolve the issue with further treatments with smaller spot sizes and increased energy? Is it hit or miss? Is it not resolving at all? Somewhere in between? If you are having success, what are noticing contributing to the success? (certain skin type, hair type, energy level, laser type…location of treatment, etc). Are you seeing any permanent reduction with continued treatment or just lighter/finer hairs?

As always, we all appreciate your informative responses.

The results vary, case by case. IHG occurs mostly in skin type IV around the sides of the face, including the neck area. When a customer comes to us with an IHG issue, we then do various test spots, with different lasers to resolve the issue. Sometimes, we may use an NDYAG with a 5 mm spot size and 60-70 Joules of Energy. Other times, we may use an Alexandrite laser with a 7 or 8 mm spot size and energies that are safe on the person’s skin. We find that on average, we can reduce IHG by approx 50%.

On a man’s upper arms, the approach would vary depending on density of the area treated.


Thanks for prompt replies.

It seems like some people with darker hair than skin don’t respond to treatment despite being considered a good candidate. Care to hazard a guess as to why? Is the hair not thick enough? Does hair have to be dark black as opposed to brown or light brown?

For men, upper arms, shoulders, necks and upper backs seem to be problem areas…why is that? How much reduction, if any, should people realistically expect in these areas? What have you seen in your practice?

What is more important, the laser being used or the laser operator skill? I guess a more pointed question is…All else equal, what skills do laser operators have that make them better at performing laser hair removal than someone that is not trained to do LHR?



For people of darker complexion, after a few sessions, you need to work on lighter hairs by targeting mostly the epidermis and to do that, you need to use a lower wavelength with high energy but since the skin is dark, you are limited by the choices you have. It is for this reason that you need to find the right laser and a skilled practicioner who knows how to use it. Adjusting the thermal relaxation is very very important but I can not get into more details over the internet.

Without seeing anyone, I can not say anything however, treatment protocols are VERY IMPORTANT.

On upper arms , once IHG is there, the best one can achieve is 85-90% less hair. On neck and back, we can go as high as 95%.
Areas that have IHG may need more frequent treatments with different spot sizes and different wavelengths.

Romeo, thanks for answering ^^

Just wondering, have you ever treated Indian males? I’d be interested in coming in. I have IHG on my upper cheeks and it’s very annoying>< I responded well to laser hair removal when I had it done though.

Also, have you seen good results on males for hair removal of the legs?


Approx 22% of our customers are Indian. As such, I have even been to India for research.

Come in, let’s look at your cheeks. Yes, males in general respond VERY WELL to laser hair removal on the legs.