Laser treatment for female facial hirsutism: are quality-of-life benefits sustainable?

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2016 Apr;41(3):248-52. doi: 10.1111/ced.12775. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


Background: Facial hirsutism in women impairs quality of life (QoL). Laser hair removal (LHR) has been shown to confer significant improvements in QoL for up to 6 months after treatment, but the longer-term benefits have not been investigated.

Aim: To assess the sustainability of LHR benefits to the QoL of hirsute women up to 30 months after treatment.

Methods: Hirsute women about to undergo National Health Service (NHS)-funded LHR in 2010-2012 (n = 142) completed proforma questionnaires quantifying the burden of hirsutism on their QoL. These included: the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) (assessing functional impact on QoL), the number of days spent removing hair per week and a 10-point scale assessing how much their condition bothered them (emotional burden on QoL). Postal questionnaires recorded QoL changes up to 30 months after LHR. Improvements in QoL scores for each woman were compared. Responses were then grouped into periods of 0-6, 6-12 and 12-30 months post-treatment, and the magnitude of change between these time groups was compared for each QoL measure.

Results: In total, 63 women responded to the post-LHR questionnaire. QoL was severely affected, but improved with LHR. The number of days spent removing hair reverted to baseline at 12-30 months post-LHR, and a significant decline was seen in the magnitude of improvement in emotional burden on QoL over time (P = 0.04). However, no significant difference existed between improvements in DLQI scores (P = 0.12).

Conclusion: LHR supplies some functional QoL benefits up to 30 months post-treatment. Emotional benefits are less sustainable. Further LHR treatment is required to maintain QoL benefits.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Face
  • Facial Dermatoses / psychology
  • Facial Dermatoses / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Hirsutism / psychology
  • Hirsutism / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires