Ever since I was a child, I loved to make people feel and look beautiful.

Why I’m Pretty Sure I Have ‘Paradoxical Hypertrichosis’

So I’d like to preface this blog post with the fact that I SOMETIMES appear to be a hypochondriac. I am not proud of those moments, but I certainly, most definitely believe that I have an ailment, most of the time. It doesn’t come out in the traditional sense where I always think I have a cold, or that every little rash is something to freak out over… It usually comes out as some really unique ‘illness’ that no one has heard of but when I tell them what it is and what my symptoms are, people tend to be like ‘Whoah, maybe you do have muscae volitantes (aka, eye floaters). I’ve definitely gotten better with it as I’ve aged, but it still comes out at times and that would include a realization I had this week. But this time I’m pretty sure it’s true… Is that what all hypo’s say!? 😉

As I was staring way too closely at my face & performing ‘surgery’ the other day, I was HORRIFIED and I’m talking HORRIFIED about the amount of NECK HAIR I have all the sudden developed. All that is good and holy.. .I swear! What in the royal BEEP is going on.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts before, I just completed 6 rounds of laser hair removal that was given to me by my darling husband who I think got tired of me shaving right next to him every night. I was hesitant at first because the old lasers would often discolor the skin and I sure as hell didn’t need my melasma to flare up. However, when I asked my Dr. about it, she assured me that the new lasers are safe & it’ll zap 80% of those dark hairs on your face. I’m thinking, ‘Alright, let’s do this’. I mean, I’ve had it before on my upper lip when I was 11 or 12, so I was definitely down to trying it again so I didn’t have to shave or pluck as often as I currently do.

So after about 5 treatments is when I started to see some of the hair dissipate, but I was honestly surprised it wasn’t more. In fact, I really only noticed the improvements between my cheeks & jawline and there wasn’t too many dark hairs there to begin with. So then after the last treatment, treatment #6, I’m thinking that I’ll be seeing an 80% improvement in hair growth and that’ll be super manageable. I remember Josh asking about it and I said, ‘You know, I’m really seeing the same hair growth patterns and I’m crazy I think because I can’t see a real big change’. He responded with some husbandly response like, ‘Oh I’m sure it’ll take a few more weeks for treatment 6 to work and you’ll be super happy with it’. So I gave it around that time.

As I was hopping on a jet plane the other day, I was absolutely taken aback by the SHEER amount of new, dark hair growth on my fricking neck. My god, I would have been petrified if I let that be so ‘vibrant’ whilst on the plane. You know damn well the person sitting next to me would have seen it. And as I always say, I don’t want those with excessive hair growth to think they’re less than beautiful… I just personally have any issue with it. If you wanna sport hair growth – man or woman – you sport it! I ain’t judging. But I am judging myself and my neck…….

I quickly shaved it off and was thinking ya know, it’ll probably not come back it’s just some sort of hormonal hair growth surge and I’ll be back to normal next week.

OH NO! It was as vibrant as ever! I was 100% know that I did not have THIS much DARK neck hair when I went in for treatment… Like 100% positive I was free of excessive neck hair. I mean, that’s something you would know about….If anything, there were just a few dark hairs that I’ve never noticed until the doctor pointed it out prior to the laser.

‘Colleen, do not panic, get your shit together, you have got this….’ That’s exactly what went through my brain. So like any normal hypochondriac, I went to the Google machine and typed ‘Hair growth worse after laser hair removal’. DING, DING, DING, DING! It’s a REAL thing! And it’s got a name.

That name is paradoxical hypertrichosis. In a review of more than 500 women who underwent photoepilation (laser), it was found that paradoxical hair stimulation occurred in about 10% of them, much more common than previously reported. Women with hypertrichosis after treatment had the extra hair predominantly in their beard area (ME!!!!!). See, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Colleen has this!’ There seems to be a couple links to those folks who get it… They’ve got fine, dark hair (you’re welcome) & they have a skin type of III or greater (which I do, you’re welcome again). Another possibility that was discussed was the instance of ‘laser injuries’ to the hair follicles which stimulated hair growth rather than killing it off like what happens to normal people (of course!). That’s something I had immediately thought of following the discovery of my now insane neck hair.

See those dark hairs on my neck line, going half way down my neck. I hate to be so pretty! 😉

Zoomed in version – Can y’all see those black specks? Shit, it’s more than specks at this point….. Lawd!

In my research, I really wasn’t able to find a definite cause nor was I able to find a definite cure. Folks said that sometimes it takes a stronger laser level to really tackle these stubborn hairs, but doctors warned that there may be pigment side effects, among other things. So is it really worth it to go back and try again? And mind you, it was like $600+ dollars. And you know darn well I signed off on this disease as a possible side effect. Clearly it’s not the fault of the laser nor the person administering it, it’s just my damn hair that’s like, ‘Screw you people, let me grow and do my thing!’

So for now, I’m gonna have to leave it alone. I was hesitant to do this hair removal procedure to begin with and now I’ve got a shit ton of neck hair to fuss over. But hey, you can’t win ’em all right!? Make sure you talk to your doctor or esthetician about the possible side effects and if this is something you may have to deal with in the future. Until then, I will be shaving before I go out to dinner with a friend tonight 😉 (I shaved 2 days ago and it’s back!)

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