Objective To provide retrospective clinical review of some uncommonly reported side effects of long-pulsed alexandrite laser treatment for hair removal.
Material and methods Two hundred and fifty female patients suffering from hirsutism of the face were subjected to treatment by long pulse alexandrite laser for a maximum of 15 sessions per patient at 5- to 7-week intervals.
Results Apart from the commonly reported side effects of pigmentary changes, occasional blistering and rare scarring, other untoward effects have been observed. These include – among others – de-novo growth of hair outside the area treated by laser, potentiation of co-existing vellus hair in the treatment area, induction or aggravation of acne, rosacea-like rash, premature grayness of hair, tunneling of hair under the skin, prolonged diffuse redness and edema of the face, focal hypopigmentation of the lip, angular cheilitis, allergic reaction to the cooling gas, and inflammatory and pigmentary changes of pre-existing nevi.
Conclusion Although the efficacy of long-pulsed alexandrite laser seems unmistakable, the short- and long-term untoward effects of such treatment have yet to be carefully delineated and the underlying mechanisms are yet to be adequately clarified.