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#109217 - 09/19/13 08:22 PM Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis
Rickenbacker15 Offline
Contributor

Registered: 09/18/13
Posts: 21
Hello everyone, new member here, i have read quite a few threads on laser beard removal to try keep me from being too ignorant on the matter, but would appreciate your input, thanks...

I'm a 30 year old male from the UK, i have pale skin and very dense, dark coarse beard hair. I have always hated shaving.

As the title suggests - i suffer from a rare form of folliculitis, here's some background...

About 7 years ago i underwent major bowel surgery for a condition i suffered with for 4 yrs called Ulcerative Colitis (similar to crohns disease) the surgery went well and happy to say i have been very healthy ever since. About 1 year post surgery i started having problems with boils, ingrowns, pustules etc in my beard area, and it has gradually gotten worse over the years...

Before i describe the condition i need to point out i have tried every shaving method out there to no avail.

I have now reached a point where i have become depressed with this condition, my self esteem and confidence is at an all time low, and it has pretty much taken over my life, i have developed a slight OCD with it, and it takes me hours to get ready on a morning because of it as i use a beard trimmer but have to be ridiculously careful...

I also often cancel nights out with friends, dates with women etc because if it flares up i just don't feel confident to leave the house (although alot of the time i just grin and bear it)

The condition presents itself as several boils, pustules, spots - or whatever you wanna call them all over my beard area, the main areas affected area my neck, lower cheeks, and jawline....my moustache area is never affected and my chin / goatee area only mildy affected...and at any one time i have on average 4/5 on my face....it is never clear..

This is where it gets strange.....most of the time i need to drain these pustules, and when i do usually an extremely thick black hair pops out, it turns out that they are not single hairs but actually a bundle of 15-20 hairs stuck together that have come out of 1 follicle, wrapped together at one end in a white jelly like substance.....serious alien type stuff!!!

Of course then i get blood, redness, scarring, and the worst of all - bald patches left behind....these bald patches eventually grow some thinner hair after about 3-4 months, but still stay noticibly patchy...

So in a strange way it already looks like i have had a dodgy laser treatment job with the patches, i even have people ask what is wrong with my face from time to time...

And it is just never ending....when 1 pustule heals - i wake up with 2-3 fresh new ones...

Anyway, i have tried every topical treatment under the sun, every antibiotic etc, nothing works....only temporarily relief when on Oxytetracycline...only to become resistant and it return after the course anyway...

So after seeing several dermatologists that sent me away with meds, i finally asked my bowel surgeon if he could recommend the best dermatologist in the area...

This derm seemed a cut above the rest and showed genuine intrigue and concern for me....by the end of my appointment he concluded that there is no meds left to try, he was also baffled to what my condition was, his only guess was that it was 1 of 3 things...

1) folliculitis decalvans
2) pili multigemini
3) auto immune disorder

The auto immune disorder would make sense due to the fact Colitis is auto immune, and i took immune-suppresants for a period of time all them years ago..

So, he suggested laser hair removal.....he works in a top end private hospital who actually offer the treatment, i believe he and technicians peform this in their clinic...

It seems like very a professional set up, but will obviously look into it more in that regard.

I'm set for a test patch in 2 weeks time, he told me i'm a good candidate due to my skin and hair colour, all i remember is that he uses a YAG laser, and i will find out more for you all in terms of joules, spot size etc after the test patch...as i found this forum after the consultation..

So, i guess i'm just wanting to know what to expect? I don't know if he is gonna aim for a reduction or a full clearance?

I have read alot of horror stories online, but have also read alot of good things on here, and to be quite honest i'm at a stage where anything would be better than my current situation...

I'd be happy if i could shave easier, and not everyday...but equally happy if i didn't need to shave at all...

I was also going to ask you guys - i would like to keep some facial hair, and my moustache and goatee area could manage without being touched, then at least if the rest of my face is hair free there is still some stubble to stop me looking like a baby...

Can they do this? i heard guys can have their beards sculpted...

I will try post a pic of my face tomorrow...

Sorry for the length, i just needed to explain it all as it seems a unique situation..

Kind regards
Johnny











Edited by Rickenbacker15 (09/19/13 08:26 PM)

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#109229 - 09/20/13 01:51 AM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: Rickenbacker15]
fenix Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 03/17/12
Posts: 451
If you're light skin, ask the doc why they want to go with Yag laser only. For beard cases on light skin a combo of Yag/Alexandrite laser is better. But lasers do have benefits in skin treatments for acne or fungus which is similar to your issue. So I think overall you will see some benefit from laser for your skin condition.

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#109233 - 09/20/13 08:48 AM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: fenix]
Rickenbacker15 Offline
Contributor

Registered: 09/18/13
Posts: 21
Hey fenix!

Yes I will be sure to ask him when I go for the test patch on the 2nd October.

I guess my confusion is what to expect from it, whether it's going to be a reduction to thin the beard out, or if it would be better to really go for it and try for a full clearance in the affected areas.

Like I say - I could leave my moustache and chin area if they can work around it, as I could shave that small area in like 20 seconds flat.

From what I have read - laser hair removal is a long and stressful process, but at this stage I'm willing to go through anything.

Cheers!

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#109234 - 09/20/13 10:38 AM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: Rickenbacker15]
emilily Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 03/20/10
Posts: 367
Loc: Sydney, Australia
It takes a long time simply because you need to wait long enough between each session. The session itself wont take long at all. Chances are it will be a very good reduction of the thick, dark hairs but many men tend to have other coloured hair in their beards as well, you may find that you have red hairs left growing, for example.
The best thing is since it is done over a long period of time, you can simply wait after each session and decide if and when you would like to go back for more, or if the amount left growing is enough of a reduction to encourage comfort and reduce ingrowns etc.

Goodluck smile
_________________________
5 sessions on underarms, brazilian starting 07/05/10 (GentleLASE)
4 laser sessions on tummy starting 07/05/10
70 minutes of electrolysis in 2010 (Blend)

Current (Apilus Platinum):
Chin, lip, sides: Starting 30/08/13 1420 minutes
Tummy: 1 hr 21/09, 1 hr 30/09/13, 1.5 13/01, 1.5 08/04, .5hr 26/06, 1 hr 17/11/14,.25 hr 09/03/15, .25 31/07/2015
Chest/underarm: 2 hr 12/10, 1 hr 21/10, 1.5 hours 12/12/13, 1.5hours 11/02, 1.5 08/05, .5hr 26/6, 1hr 05/08, 1hr 17/11/14, .75hr 09/03/15, .5hr 13/07/15

Most recent: 45mins 08/10/2015, 30mins 02/16, 1hr 24/06/16, 1hr 11/10/16, 45 mins 18/09/2017

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#109235 - 09/20/13 10:54 AM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: emilily]
Rickenbacker15 Offline
Contributor

Registered: 09/18/13
Posts: 21
Thanks emilily!

It sounds good! And yes I see that the waiting in between does have benefits. To be honest, even if I didn't have this skin problem I may have looked into LHR anyway, my beard is so thick and grows very fast that I have constantly got a dark shadow, even straight after shaving (which I don't do any more)I'm told I look my best when clean shaven, but simply can't do it.

So, even a reduction would change my life significantly, as I'd imagine it would both reduce these bumps and the thought of having finer hair that doesn't need shaving every day and doesn't cause a black shadow would be incredible!

P.S. seen as though my face is never free of an infected bump - how would the technician go about treating these areas? as there is always a hair in the middle of the bump...

Thanks!

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#109334 - 09/24/13 07:23 PM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: Rickenbacker15]
adrien_sanchiz Offline
Top 20 Contributor

Registered: 08/02/13
Posts: 288
Loc: France, Spain
Laser treatment helped me to get rid of ingrow hairs and bumps. I don't have to shave my face every day, just every 3 days (after 3 treatments).
The results depend of each person obviously.
_________________________
Licensed electrologist and esthetician.
http://adrien-sanchiz-electrolysis.blogspot.fr/

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#109339 - 09/25/13 08:51 AM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: adrien_sanchiz]
Rickenbacker15 Offline
Contributor

Registered: 09/18/13
Posts: 21
Hey Maiakochka!

Just a few questions

1) After your 3 treatments have you had any patchy regrowth?
2) What laser was used?
3) What is your skin tone and beard density before treatments?

After reading as much as possible on laser beard removal I'm admittedly unsure of what to expect, yesterday I read a big thread where the guy basically said it's "all or nothing" when it comes to the beard....alluding to the fact that men should really be having the full 8-10 treatments.

I would actually be happy with a significant reduction (like Maiakochka) where I no longer have a shadow immediately after shaving, and can go 2-3 days in between, and of course without patchiness.

So far I'm thinking 4-5 treatments may achieve this, is this a reasonable prediction?

I have realised these mutant hairs I have are randomly scattered around my beard, you can actually see them up close in a mirror as they look like big black dots, these are what are causing the infected bumps, so I guess no medication is going to help and LHR is the only answer to eradicating them.

Thanks again!

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#109351 - 09/25/13 07:04 PM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: Rickenbacker15]
Rickenbacker15 Offline
Contributor

Registered: 09/18/13
Posts: 21
Here are a couple of pictures.

The first one is the left side of my beard, a few days growth, the reason the chin area looks ALOT thicker than the rest is that i use an electric shaver on the cheeks and a beard trimmer on the chin area, although it is alot denser anyway. You can see the red boils and several bald patches.

http://i882.photobucket.com/albums/ac22/GeneralDread15/image.jpg

The second image is what pops out of these bumps / boils that i get. Bundles of hair that exit from one follicle, the hair on the top right you can see the white substance in which the bundle is wrapped in, the hair pops out straight and thick, it's only when you roll the bundle in your fingers that it starts to unravel.

http://i882.photobucket.com/albums/ac22/GeneralDread15/image-1.jpg

So, given the stress, pain, and confidence issues this causes me, would you all recommend i go for LHR? No meds can cure this.

Thanks again!

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#109404 - 09/27/13 04:43 PM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: Rickenbacker15]
Rickenbacker15 Offline
Contributor

Registered: 09/18/13
Posts: 21
Another quick question...

I called my dermatologist's secretary earlier to ask if i needed to shave before my test patch on wednesday...

She said that i shouldn't as the derm needs to see the hairs...is this right?

Everything i have read so far says it's better to shave beforehand, I may just use a beard trimmer...

Thanks

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#109405 - 09/27/13 05:01 PM Re: Laser beard removal for rare chronic folliculitis [Re: Rickenbacker15]
Brenton Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 06/09/11
Posts: 721
Loc: SoCal
Yes you absolutely need to shave beforehand (I usually do it the evening before, and then get any hairs I missed in the morning)... your beard is thick enough that I don't know how in any way, shape, or form she would miss those hairs.

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