I've talked about my experience with laser hair removal on Twitter and Facebook a bit in the last few months and always seem to get a ton of questions and comments. So, I'm answering your questions today (The best I can, remember, I am not a doctor and this these are just my opinions.).
I started getting laser hair removal right before my wedding in May of 2012. I began with the under arm area (I have one treatment left in October) and just had my first lower leg treatment done this past Wednesday. I have been extremely happy with the results and I'm super thrilled to not have to shave anymore (me = lazy). I get my laser hair removal treatments done at White Pearl Medical Spa in San Antonio, Texas and they are the shizz. All the technicians are former nurses or have some kind of fancy-schmancy medical training (it's not just anybody off the street zapping you with a laser).
Your Laser Hair Removal Questions
Image Courtesy of: Skin Laser
What would you rate the pain level as?
It's just like getting a tattoo. It varies from feeling like getting snapped over and over again by a rubber band and up to burning. It definitely hurt me more in the inner part of my armpits and on my ankles. Think of it this way, whereever there are nerve endings or the bone close to the skin – it's gonna hurt more.
To help with the pain, they rub a cooling gel (it doubles as a lubricant between the skin and the laser) all over and also, for my armpits, have me hold a blower thing that shoots cool air right on the lube. I also get little squeezy balls to hang on to and that actually helps more than you'd think.
Also, as with any kind of hair removal or skin treatment – try to schedule it when you are not pre-menstral. All those extra hormones only make things worse. For more information on prepping for your laser hair removal treatments, here's a great rundown of things to do.
How many treatments do you need to have done? How long does the hair stay gone for?
I'm getting six treatments for my under arm area and will have six treatments for my lower leg (I guess six is the make "hair going away" number?). The first couple of treatments really didn't do anything though the hair grew back in finer. But after the third? I noticed whole areas that were bald and only shaved once in the six weeks between my next appointment. Apparently, this is the normal cycle of these treatments and lots of people stop going after their third one. But don't stop going! Hair grows in cycles and it's important to do ALL the treatments to truly zap all hair growth in the follicle. And after your full six treatments – the hair is gone FOREVER.*
*With a few exceptions. The ladies at White Pearl Medical Spa told me that knees are frustrating because they are a frequent "hair grows back no matter what" area. It has a lot to do with your hair growth and complexion so talk to your doctor before undergoing any treatments.
Did you have any weird/bad reactions to the treatment?
Nope, not really. I am the ideal candidate for any kind of skin treatment though (Holla to my ghostly white peeps!). The fairer you are, the easier it is. However, I have noticed that my skin gets a little itchy in some places for several hours after each treatment. Nothing horrible – mostly it's just annoying.
How about the "No No" thing-a-ma-jigger?
Are you asking about this? I've never used it before and have no idea if it actually works. Anyone else?
How healthy can it be zapping your skin with lasers? Will it damage your skin and in 10 years be wrinklier than it should be?
According to Dr. Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD, "There is no scientific evidence that laser hair removal can cause skin aging or wrinkle formation. The wavelengths of light used by these lasers do not cause skin alterations that can lead to photodamage and skin aging."
What I found really interesting in my research was that the same technology used to remove hair is also used to treat wrinkles (read more about it here on the FDA's website). I also found out that lasers are used to remove stretch marks, whiten teeth, and in surgery to lessen the effects of scarring. Pretty impressive but I would absolutely recommend that you discuss this further with your doctor if it concerns you at all.
How much does it cost? I've thought about doing it myself, but I think it's pretty pricy isn't it?
Yes, it is. But if you think I paid full price… HA! All I can say is God Bless Groupon and LivingSocial. Because laser hair removal is SO expensive and a luxury item, it is an ideal candidate for those super discounted deals. I know that here in the San Antonio area, I probably get about 2-3 offers a month for it through Groupon and/or LivingSocial. And the really cool part? Most of those places want you to come back again so they'll offer you another discounted package once you start your first treatment. Here's how it went down with me:
I bought a "medium area/6 treatments" deal (ALWAYS, double check what area/area size and how many treatments it includes before buying the deal. Some deals are better than others so do your legwork.) on LivingSocial and booked my appointment. I was so happy after my first three treatments than when White Pearl Medical Spa offered another discount on Groupon for lower leg treatments, I bought it. When I went in to redeem it, they offered me a special in-office deal to do my whole leg (unfortunately, it was still out of my post-wedding budget but it WAS a great deal!). So ask. It can't hurt.
I paid the following:
- 6 Under Arm Treatments – $99.00
- 6 Lower Leg Treatments – $149.00 (*was offered an additonal 6 Upper Leg Treatments for an additional $250.00)
$248 for hair-free-for-life armpits and lower legs? YES, PLEASE! Think of it another way, for $8.49 you can get a Venus razor two-pack which lasts (if you shave everything) about a month. That comes to $101.88 a year. BOOM! You've already paid for your underarms. Math = Beauty Logic.
Image Courtesy of: Great Expectations MediSpa
Phew! So. Much. Information. Anyone have any more questions or concerns that I could try to address (please remember, I am NOT a doctor – these are all just my opinions)? Are any of you getting treatments done and have another viewpoint or your own experiences to add? Fire away! I'm here all night… ish. At some point I'm having dinner with my husband…