Over the last decade, more and more patients have been empowered to discuss what it’s like living with their Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis and the symptoms that come along with it. Arguably, the most talked about symptoms are weight gain, hormonal acne and facial hair. Oh, the facial hair! Medically known as hirsutism, this condition affects up to 70% of women with PCOS. The excessive hair growth isn’t only limited to the face. It can also appear on the chest, neck, abdomen, lower back, and thighs.
After being diagnosed, you’ve done everything your doctor recommends. You have integrated lifestyle changes by eating whole balanced foods, managing insulin levels and performing PCOS-friendly workouts but the excessive body hair persists. Shaving is irritating and may cause folliculitis or painful ingrown hairs which often become infected. Waxing requires a long-term level of consistency. This is where hirsutism becomes more than physical. It has a way of impacting your confidence and quality of life.
There are other ways of addressing the presence of unwanted body hair. Of all the treatment options available, there’s one worth highlighting that’s offered at HerMD: Laser Hair Reduction (LHR).
LHR works by using heat from a laser to destroy pigmented cells, in this case, dark, coarse hair. The heat is transferred to the hair follicle, damaging it so that it cannot regrow. Treatment usually requires seven to nine sessions. Each session is typically six to eight weeks apart to ensure each follicle is captured throughout the different growth phases. In the past, the best candidates for LHR were those with light skin and dark hair but technology has advanced that now all skin types can achieve successful results. If you are concerned about hyper or hypopigmentation, ask your technician to perform a patch test.
There are steps to take to prepare for your appointment. HerMD Nurse Practitioner, Donna Abdelnour, recommends “avoiding sun exposure 4 weeks before treatment and avoiding spray tans or self-tanners at least 2 weeks before treatment. Shaving the night before or the morning of your treatment [also helps to achieve] the best results.” During your appointment, medical history is reviewed and any questions or concerns you might have are answered. If pain is a deterrent for you, Donna says, “the treatment itself is very tolerable with minimal tenderness.” After treatment, there are ways to ensure maximum results. Donna suggests, “keeping the treated area dry and clean for the first day after treatment to reduce irritation. Continue to wear sunscreen (spf 30+) on the treated area several weeks after for the best results.”
Living with Hirsutism and PCOS should not stop you from enjoying your life the way you want to. With a care provider you trust and a treatment plan that works best for you and your needs, you can be as comfortable and as confident as YOU see fit.
To learn more about LHR at HerMD, book a complimentary skin consultation here.