Title: Effective treatment of hypertrichosis with pulsed light: a report of two cases.
Authors: Raulin C, Werner S, Hartschuh W, Schonermark MP
Journal: Ann Plast Surg 1997 Aug;39(2):169-73
PMID: 9262770, UI: 97408250
Affiliated institution: Center for Dermatologic Laser Therapy, Karlsruhe, Germany.
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Dr. Christian Raulin of the Center for Dermatologic Laser Therapy in Karlsruhe, Germany, along with three other physicians, presented clinical data on two transsexuals using EpiLight’s predecessor, the PhotoDerm VL. PhotoDerm VL was developed for the treatment of vascular lesions. During a treatment with one of these devices, they noticed a side effect of hair removal and began a clinical experiment on two transsexuals.
Subject 1 (Age 38, dark hair): treated every 2 weeks from April 1995 to May 1996 (41 sessions total)
Subject 2 (Age 30, dark hair): treated every 2-4 weeks from June 1995 to @July 1996 (13 sessions total)
The abstract states: "Two days after the nearly painless treatment, hair could be epilated easily with forceps. Biopsies of the treated area show an atrophy of the follicles, which can be contributed either to direct thermal injury or to an indirect photothermolytical effect. Six months after the last treatment, there is no local recurrence and no side effects."
However, the full text states: "The hair growth that was observed some time after therapy could be explained by telogenic follicles that were insensitive to the light beam at the time of treatment." Raulin does not say when this hair growth was observed, but after 13 to 41 treatments, I would contend that all hairs have been treated through at least one growth cycle.
Both subjects had similar results reported, despite one having 28 more treatments. This casts doubt on the necessity of that many treatments.
Raulin states, "Six months after the last treatment, there is no local recurrence and no side effects." THowever, the accompanying photos show noticeable hypopigmentation (skin lightening) in both patents, even half a year after last treatment. Raulin notes: "erythema and a discrete swelling lasted for 5 days." He adds, "Deeply tanned patients and skin types 4 and 5 (Fitzpatrick) are at risk for posttherapeutic hypopigmentation or intensive posttherapeutic sun exposure, and high fluence may lead to hyperpigmentation." These pigmental changes "may take months to resolve." Raulin concludes, "A careful approach and a strict observance of the skin type and the grade of tanning of the patient is recommended."
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