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Published on: 18 May 2009 by leirah
Perusing support forums I often see women--particularly young women--asking about laser hair removal. "Should I do it?" "How much is it?" "Does it work?" There
have got to be a lot of girls out there wondering what it’s like and if
it’s worth the money. Now before you read this post, allow me to insist
one more time that each lady is different and may get different results.
It seems to depend on the root cause of your hypertrichosis. Mine is
yet unknown. But hopefully my experience will help you to make a
decision you can feel good about.
Now, in 2004/2005 when I
finally decided to try the procedure, there weren’t any of those
commercials you now see on TV. Not for hair removal. It was all scar
and cellulite reduction. I originally went to my family doctor a couple
of years before that and said, “Look, I’ve got this hair in places I
shouldn’t. What’s up with that?” He referred me to a dermatologist, who
in turn referred me to a laser clinic in the same building. A laser?
For hair removal? How was that going to work?
was a nice-looking place, almost spa-like, and the consultant was sweet
and sensitive. She gave me some publications and tried to describe the
process to me, and what I would be expected to do, and how it was
supposed to feel. "Like an elastic snapping against your skin,
at most," she said. She even offered to zap my inner elbow once so I
could see what it felt like. Now, I’m terrified of needles, and her
putting a mysterious machine in the same spot you get pricked for a
blood test intimidated me far too much, and I gave a nervous laugh and
declined. But she zapped herself in the arm like it was nothing, which
heartened me. Still, I said I’d think about it.
But I was
getting sick of shaving, and I was getting older. I left high school;
met a guy. Well, I met a few, but one of them was particularly special.
In my second year of college, I started thinking about living life as a
couple--even though the relationship didn’t work out, it awakened in me
the awareness of that eventuality. Was I going to have to sacrifice
half an hour of each day for the rest of my life to this? Besides, how
much easier would it be to tell a boyfriend about my hirsutism if I
could refer to it in the past tense? I knew there were no guarantees on the permanency of laser hair removal, but I was finally willing to try.
got another referral. I met with the same consultant. She commended me
for the effectiveness of whatever hair removal method I was currently
using (shaving and slathering on the make-up)--said I was very good at
hiding it compared to some of the women she’d met. It was a welcome
tonic, but my eyes welled at the possibility of waking up one day and
not having to spend half an hour in front of a mirror
shaving/bleaching/plucking before doing anything else. We went over the
procedures together once more, and I booked my first appointment.
I won’t go into how laser hair removal works here, because plenty of places already do that. Like here, for instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_hair_removal
There were a few stipulations before treatment. I had to avoid the sun for 4-6 weeks before and after treatment,
and use a sun block of SPF 30 or higher even for short trips out of the
house. I started treatments in September, so that was not a big deal,
but I’m extremely fair skinned, so I wore SPF 45 all the time. Darker
skinned women might have to begin a bleaching regimen 4-6 weeks before
treatment can begin, which may be more of an imposition. And
if I’d had cold sores, I would have also had to take a course of
anti-viral pills starting the day before treatment and for one week
Also, there was to be no bleaching, plucking or waxing for six weeks prior.
I was at a shaving stage of my life then, so it made no difference to
me. This may freak a lot of girls out, but it’s for the best. If you
remove the hair from the root or lessen its pigmentation, the laser
can’t get at it to damage the hair follicle. The area to be treated had
to be shaved 24 hours before treatment, and no later.
was also told that after treatment, I could continue with my day right
away. There could be some redness and swelling, but makeup could be
used immediately. She recommended not using hair removal products like
depilatories that could aggravate the area afterward, but I was allowed
to continue my shaving regimen as normal.
I bet you’re curious
how much five courses of this was supposed to cost. Keep in mind, these
quotes were rough estimates, in Canadian dollars, and given to me four
Sideburns and chin: $500
Lower back: $1200
those are the only quotes I have. I don’t have quotes for chest, arms,
or legs written down anywhere, but assume the larger the area, the more
expensive treatment becomes. Now for a girl who went right into college
after high school, completely funded by scholarships and student loans,
how was I intending to pay for it all? Well, having the cushion of the
student loan made me feel more confident in parting with so much money
all at once. I went for the sideburns and chin only, which would eat up
all the money I had ever earned in my life--from baby-sitting in high
school. When you’re young, $500 seems like a lot of money to pay for
any one thing. That, I think, was the most difficult part of the
To be continued.
Originally posted November 5, 2008 in All Kinds of Fur: Confessions of a Bearded Lady - http://allerleirah.blogspot.com