Hi All!

I am about to start laser hair removal in my arms (and a bunch of other places… :)), and there’s something I’m worried about…

I know that the hair can come back patchy and was wondering if it’s an option that I will finish a whole bunch of treatments and be left with unsightly patches… has that happened to anyone? I imagine if it did, you would be worse off than when you started…

would love to hear your thoughts / experiences!

Patches aren’t caused by the laser directly, more by limitations in the technology or the operator. Different lasers work differently, but Alexandrite lasers for example have a 15mm or 18mm spot size which is a circle. Because it’s a circle, picture doing 4 together in a 2x2. If the circles don’t overlap a bit, then there’s a small section in the centre of the 4 circles that don’t get treated. An inexperienced laser technician that doesn’t overlap would miss this and that would come back as a patch or missed spot. Even worse, a tech that’s really bad and not trying to overlap at all might miss an entire spot which would leave that as a big patch. It’s less likely with lasers like Soprano XL since they cover the area several times. With my tech for example, she has a series of red stamps that she stamps on my skin so she knows exactly where to fire. A lot of clinics will use a white pencil to make a grid on your arms and then they stick in there. Regardless though you will know if you’re going to have patches. After 2 weeks or so once all the hair sheds, any hair that’s missed will stay long and keep growing so you’ll know exactly what was missed. It’s at this stage that should that happen you would want to go back in for a touchup to cover those areas. If it’s REALLY bad then they should do it for free since it should have been done in the first place.

Ooooh, this makes more sense. I saw this same post in the shaving section and I figured it belonged here instead.

If your are going to remove all the hair, then patchiness won’t be an issue. If you are merely going for a reduction in hair, then you MUST insist on thorough overlapping and make sure the tech doesn’t miss ANYTHING. Whatever doesn’t shed at 3 weeks needs to be touched up pronto. An even reduction is possible as long as you are careful not to miss any spots.

You would be wise to ask for a grid or some other way to assure full treatment each time. :slight_smile:

Just to offer an opposing opinion, I found my LHR to have patchy results that I DO NOT attribute to the operator. Primarily on my face (I am a guy), I have patches of dark hair remaining that have been specifically targeted by LHR treatments several times since they became quite noticeable after about 4 or 5 treatments. The pattern does not correlate to the “missed spots” problem described above.

Some say this is a problem that is primarily (perhaps only?) seen with male faces, but is worth noting. I think it has to do with some hairs (just above the jawline in particular) having very deep and strong roots which resist elimination by laser - despite being stunned and dropping out of the follicle in the short term (and also with significant skin redness).

You would know if there is patchiness as you’re seeing shedding happen. That’s why you should get the area touched up if there is more than 10% or so still remaining at 3 weeks after the treatment. You need to make sure all the hair sheds and whatever doesn’t is touched up.

With a male face, there are other considerations such as depth of the hair on certain areas, mainly upper lip and chin. If settings are not adjusted when treating those areas, they may not be affected. But you should also notice this during shedding.

Upper lip and chin I can confirm as well are definitely different. I did a whole face treatment with alex and by 4 weeks later almost all hair fell out, except a bunch on my upper lip and a few big chunks on my chin right at the jaw line. I then went back for a touchup treatment and did my entire face again which got most of the hair, however same thing upper lip and jaw line still had only very little shedding. I then went back 2 weeks later, used the largest spot size and settings and did my upper lip and chin. Now almost 2 weeks later the hairs are still firmly rooted and not budging at all so it’s definitely frustrating as I guess I pretty much need electrolysis to cover these areas since the laser just isn’t affecting them at all, and I’m also ideal candidate as well.