Title: Laser hair removal affects sebaceous glands and sebum excretion: a pilot study.
Author: Manuskiatti W, Dierickx CC, Gonzalez S, Lin TY, Campos VB, Gonzalez E, Anderson RR
Journal: J Am Acad Dermatol 1999 Aug;41(2 Pt 1):176-80
PMID: 10426885, UI: 99355837
Affiliated institution: Dr Manuskiatti is currently affiliated with the Department of Dermatology, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
BACKGROUND: During laser-assisted hair removal, sebaceous glands closely associated with hair follicles might also be affected.
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the effect of the long-pulsed ruby laser on sebaceous glands.
METHODS: Sebum excretion rates (SERs) of 16 subjects were measured quantitatively by means of sebum-absorbent tape and analyzed by means of image analysis techniques on laser-treated sites, compared with adjacent untreated areas. Evaluation was done at an average of 9 months (range, 4.5 to 12 months) after the last treatment. Histologic examinations were performed on 3 representative subjects before treatment, immediately after treatment, and 9 months after the last treatment.
RESULTS: Significant increases in SERs were observed in 11 of 16 subjects (68.75%). Three subjects (18.75%) showed lower SERs, whereas 2 subjects (12.5%) demonstrated no difference in SERs between treated and untreated areas. Biopsy specimens showed an apparent reduction in sebaceous gland size. Specimens taken immediately after laser irradiation revealed sporadic damage to sebaceous glands.
CONCLUSION: In some patients a variable but statistically significant increase in sebum excretion occurs 4 to 12 months after ruby-laser hair removal treatment at high fluences. A reduction in sebaceous gland sizes on laser-treated areas was observed. We hypothesize that decreased resistance to sebum outflow may explain this result, following miniaturization or absence of hair shaft after ruby laser treatment. Further study is needed to assess mechanisms for this interesting response.