This was it. The day had finally arrived for the start of my treatments for laser hair removal! I had waited so long for this day that I practically skipped through the carpark and into the salon (it was more like a power walk because I was running slightly late!) In all fairness, I hadn’t actually waited that long. I’ve spent a life time wishing away my body hair, so the turnaround time from booking my consultation and patch tests (you can read all about that here), to walking in for my first set of treatments had been around 2 weeks – nothing compared to a lifetime.
I began my treatment back in April and so far I’m half way through my course of treatments (3 out of 6) and although I noticed a difference after my very first session, I wasn’t until I looked back at the images that I took 6 months ago, that I realised just how much these three sessions have helped me! My skin is clearer, the reduction in hair growth is so noticeably different I could cry! It’s boosted my confidence 10 fold and where I used to spend hours each week grooming myself, I’ve gained.
Laser hair removal works by targeting the the hair follicle and heating it to a high enough temperature to actually permanently damage the hair follicle, whilst not damaging the skin. This is what stops the hair from growing back. Usually, the darker the hair, the better result as the laser can easily identity the hair, zap it and kill it (yaaaay!) – which for dark haired ladies like myself, is a bonus! This does unfortunately mean that fair haired people are unable to get the treatment, as the laser wouldn’t be able to safely pick out the hair against the skin, thus putting your skin at risk of damage.
You’re also unable to get the treatment if you’ve been sunning it up on holiday and got yourself a nice little tan. This has been the biggest issue for me over the last 6 months and exactly the reason why my three treatments have been spread out over 6 months instead of 3 – 4 as normal. I tan super easy, even in the British non existent Summer sun – my skin tans like you wouldn’t believe! I have a permanent watch tan line on my arm to prove it! I’ve had to wait until my tan fades before receiving treatment again as otherwise I could potentially be left with scarring. And to have scaring instead of body hair, isn’t what I signed up for! The issue with having a tan (fake or real) is that the laser reads a false skin tone and therefore emits a different type of laser onto the skin which isn’t actually suitable and this is what can lead to scarring.
Does it hurt?
I think the question, or worry for that matter, which seems to be at the top of peoples list is ‘But, does it hurt?’. In short, no. On my very first session I barely felt a thing. The settings are more on the tame side for your first treatment (each practitioner and what setting they use will be different, so please bare that in mind) and if I felt anything at all it was a very very mild sting. I found my bikini area to be a little on the painful side on my first treatment, but thank fully, it was only the first few zaps around the bikini line that stung – quite surprisingly everywhere else was virtually pain free!
On my second treatment, Amanda (my lovely practitioner) cranked up the laser a few notches and this time round I really felt the laser at work. Again, it wasn’t an unbearable pain, on a scale of 1 – 10 I’d say a solid 5. This was around the lower leg area due to it being on the bone and the top of my bikini area, but I had been pre warned about these areas being sensitive. The laser treatment in itself is quite quick. If an area hurts, its not long before another area is being treated.
Before receiving my third treatment, I had to wait almost 2 months for my tan to fade, meaning Amanda couldn’t crank the laser up a few more notches (thank God) as my skin wouldn’t be able to take it like it did on my second visit. I was back to the laser level I received on my first treatment and so the pain was virtually non existent. I may have a higher pain threshold than your average Joe, but I personally wouldn’t let a little pain hold you back from an invest towards freedom.
With laser hair removal treatment, the hair needs to remain in the follicle, but be as close to the skin as possible for the best results. This means no waxing, tweezing or threading for at least 4 weeks prior to treatment. That hair needs to stay put! This leaves you with one option. Shaving. As I’m receiving treatment all over, yes you guessed it, I have to shave all over.
Before I started the treatment, I was slightly worries about this because when I was younger, I suffered with mild acne on my back for a few years. I had previously read online that having laser hair removal, can cause acne to flare, because of the shaving aspect not from the treatment itself. Can you guess what happened? Yup, I had a breakout of acne on my back – wooo! If I wasn’t so self conscious enough already, I now had acne and over pigmentation from the acne to worry about. It was pretty bad the first time I shaved and I was honestly, so disheartened by it. It took me back 10 years to when I last suffered with it, but I didn’t want it to stop me from getting the treatment.
I began trying to remember what treated it when I was younger and found that using cleansers on my back each night in the shower helped remove dirt and clear out my pores. I tend to not sleep until I’ve showered as the bacteria from the day, breeds overnight and I was waking up with fresh spots – gross! What I also found that has been working wonders is the Pixi glow tonic. I use it every morning and night and it has been amazing for removing any final bits of dirt and it’s also an exfoliant too (would highly recommend this product, it’s saved me!). And then finally, I’ve been using a little bit of BioOil on my my acne scars to help them heal and hopefully not stick around.
After my second treatment, I also reacted quite badly with heat spots. This was most likely due to the laser setting being turned up and is quite a common reaction from the laser as it’s so hot. This only appeared on my lower legs (were it was most painful) and were a little itchy and sore. They lasted around three days before fading completely. I soothed these with Aloe Vera gel which seemed to help.
I also found post 2nd treatment that a scar I have on my left ribcage became a little inflamed and itchy. The laser is never placed on scars, but I found the heat from around the area affected it a little and caused the inflammation. This also settled after a few days.
I was absolutely stunned that I was able to see a difference in my hair just after one treatment! One! Your body goes through a ‘shedding’ stage after treatment, where I found you literally pull the hairs out of your legs and they just slide on out. This is because the hair follicle has been damaged and theres nothing holding it in place anymore. It’s almost like a little trick your body plays on you because after your treatment because for a solid 2 weeks I was virtually hair free everywhere! I Couldn’t believe it – I was stunned! I frolicked around the house, showing all my friends and family and flashing my arms and legs at every chance I got to show them just how nice my legs looked! It was strange for me, because I had never seen my legs so clear and smooth. Even after shaving I was always left with dark hair you could see under the skin and it stayed smooth for around half a day for the stubble started to creep out.
After three treatments I’ve found the areas to have the best results are my underarms, lower legs & bikini area. I would love it if my face had better results by now, but as warned, the hair on your face reacts differently to other parts of the body and can be quite stubborn – so this was to be expected. I was having to remove the hair from my face everyday before applying make up before I started my laser hair removal journey – to now – where I’m able to leave it almost week before needing to groom – A huge improvement and confidence boost from where I started from 6 months ago.
I used to spend hours each week removing my body hair, so when Amanda had mentioned I’d soon forget about needing to shave, I didn’t believe her. For someone like myself, where shaving is always at the forefront of my mind, how could I ever forget? But of course, she was right! A coupe of weeks will go by & I’ll have to remind myself to check to see if my legs need shaving – it’s honestly such an amazing feeling! I have at least a week of soft, smooth legs before needing to dig out the razor! I’m excited to see how the next three session prolongs my shaving habits!
Although I have a total of 6 treatments, I’ve been advised that this won’t be enough to completely get rid of my hair once and for all. The results I’m currently seeing are a mixture of the shedding process and the laser slowly killing my hair follicles. I find when I’m due for my next treatment, it feels like the results have vanished and that my usual hair growth is back. This isn’t necessarily the case. It’s simply the hair that hasn’t been damaged by the laser yet, finally peaking it’s way out. From looking at my images, I can see the difference clear as day and I just love the results – I’m so excited for my next three sessions!
Yes, the image on the left really is how my legs looked just 2 days post shave. As mentioned in my previous post (which you can read here), my hair grows at a ridiculous rate. Although this is great for the hair on your head, it’s not so fabulous when it’s on the rest of your body. If I was ever on holiday, I was always having to shave every day. Stubbly legs on the beach is a total no no.
Fast forward to the image on the right and this is what my legs now look like after just three sessions. I had shaved around 5 days prior to this image being taken. My legs are much smoother, theres no grey shadow from the dark hair sitting underneath ready and waiting to poke out the very next day – it’s amazing! I’m still getting leg hair, don’t get me wrong, but I’m only half way through my course of treatments and these are the results I’m getting? I couldn’t be happier!
If you’re thinking about getting laser hair removal yourself, I couldn’t recommend DestintionSkin enough! I’ve been visiting the Manchester clinic, with each and every visit being just as amazing as the last! My practitioner Amanda, has made me feel so comfortable throughout the whole process and with being body conscious, this was a huge issue for me! They’re also insured (which is super super important!) and their prices are reasonable too!
Feel free to fire over any questions you have about the treatment in the comments, or tweet me at @FashernablyLate & I’ll be moe than happy to answer your questions!