I’m creating a new series of posts with your direct input. BreBeauty readers that have firsthand experience with various skin treatments and procedures will be featured Q & A style. If you have experienced any treatments or procedures firsthand e.g. dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser skin rejuvenation etc. I would love to hear from you! Contact me with an e-mail and you can be featured in a post (you can always choose to remain anonymous). This is the first installment, please let me know what you think in a comment.
What made you decide to choose laser hair removal? Was there a specific moment where you were like, “That’s it. I’m getting lasered!”
A lot of my relatives have had laser done. Once I saw their results, I was amazed and consequently, quite envious.
Did you do any research regarding laser hair removal?
Tons. There’s a wealth of information regarding laser on the internet. Doing your research is important, because there are different lasers for different skin and hair types. Laser is more effective on certain skin and hair types. The best candidates have very fair skin and very thick, dark hair.
What areas of your face or body did you choose to have lasered? Why?
At first, I bought a package for my underarms and bikini area. A year or two later, I started laser on the full leg. I’ve been going for about 3 years.
How did you find your dermatologist/laser center? Internet? Friend referral?
I had several consultations with clinics that offered laser that were close to home. After the clinic I was going to near home closed, I started going to a clinic in DC. One of my relatives lives there, so I can give her a visit and see her laser specialist all in one trip. For me it’s worth the drive, because the laser specialist I currently see is very professional and has had decades of experience.
Did you do any research or background checks prior to your doctor’s visit?
Yes, I believe it’s important to do your homework before getting laser. The technology is constantly evolving, and again, there are different lasers for different hair and skin types. Finding a laser specialist is one thing, but it is another to make sure they have the right type of laser that you need.
Take us through your consultation with your dermatologist/laser hair removal specialist. What happened? What was discussed?
The laser hair removal specialist will ask which areas you find problematic. She will examine the hair for thickness and pigment. You will go over the risks (remember the long term effects of laser are not known) and benefits (oh, the time you will save).
The laser specialist should explain that the hair loss occurs gradually. After the procedure, the hair will slowly grow and fall out over the course of 2 weeks. Several treatments are needed to make the hair disappear completely. It will gradually get finer and finer until total hair growth is stunted.
Treatments are usually purchased in packages of 5-7 sessions. You must schedule appointments 6-8 weeks apart.
Were you told you were a candidate for laser hair removal? How so?
On one hand, my skin is medium-dark toned (although the areas in which I get laser are comparatively lighter than my face and arms). On the other hand, my hair is thick and dark (or at least it was). So even though I am not the ideal candidate because of my deeper skin tone, laser has still been a good option for me and has been extremely effective.
Were you at all nervous prior to your first laser session?
Yes- mainly because it can be quite painful in the beginning and also because you have to be bottomless for the bikini area to get done. Once the hair becomes finer, the treatments become less painful. Moreover, you have to remember that the laser specialists have seen it all and so, there’s no reason to be self conscious.
Did you do anything to help alleviate the pain prior to your appointment? Advil? Shot of tequila? Prayer?
I usually take some Tylenol. Drinking a lot of fluids also helps. Try not to consume a lot of caffeine or sodium. For some reason, these suggestions make a world of difference! You can also purchase a topical anesthetic.
What does the laser feel like?
When the hair is really thick, it feels something like getting snapped by a rubber band. Obviously, the bikini and underarms are more sensitive than the legs. Once the hair grows finer, the treatments will become less painful.
What was the pain or discomfort level on a scale of one to ten, with ten being tears?
Not going to lie, the most painful sessions (the first few) can get up to an 8 on the pain scale- and I have a fairly high tolerance for pain.
How long does a laser hair removal session last?
For a full body session, 45 minutes to an hour.
How many sessions did it take for you to notice a visible improvement?
You’ll notice visible improvements with your first treatment. But to see an 80% reduction, you’ll need at least 5-7 treatments. And everyone is different- I’ve been going for 3 years and have about a 90% reduction.
Are the effects of the laser permanent?
I don’t know about permanent. I’ve been getting laser done for three years, and I’ve experienced significant hair reduction. Only time will tell if it’s permanent. So far, so good.
Do you still need to shave/wax/tweeze? How about in between lasering sessions?
NO waxing or tweezing, as pulling hair out from its root stimulates more hair growth. Both of those methods of hair removal will completely undo what the laser is doing, so make sure you avoid them. Otherwise, you’ll be basically wasting your hard earned money.
I shave about once a week- but it’s only to remove 10-15 quarter inch long stubborn guys.
Are you still going for laser hair removal? If so, when will you no longer have to go?
Yes. I still get touchups when I feel like I’m getting more hair growth than normal. I don’t know if I’ll ever completely stop going. I’ve been thinking about quitting and just getting electrolysis done on the few, stubborn hairs that seem impervious to the laser.
Would you recommend laser hair removal to a friend?
Yes, yes, yes. I would recommend it for everyone. Not only will it save you money in the long run, the time you save not having to shave is astonishing!
What would you say to anyone reading that may be considering laser hair removal? Any advice/tips?
Do your homework. Research as much as you can.
Make consultations with several laser specialists before picking one for good.
Avoid caffeine and salty foods 24 hours prior to your appointment.
Thank you so much for your wonderful answers Raeesa! You can read more from Raeesa on her blog, Eye of the Beholder.
Have you ever tried laser hair removal?