Laser Hair Removal
Thick, dark hair on my body has always been something I’ve had ever since I was about 11 years old. Shaving is too long and waxing is to much of an inconvenience (and expensive over time!). When I was around 15 or 16 I discovered laser hair removal and I wanted it instantly. Unfortunately, you have to be 18 to use the lasers, so I had it on my future birthday list ever since. My 18th birthday rolled around in September of last year and I didn’t waste any time getting an appointment – I went for a consultation and patch test the next day.
What is laser hair removal?
I’m sure you know how other types of hair removal work; shaving – cutting the hair but not removing it and waxing – ripping the hair follicle from under your skin. Put simply, laser removal targets the hair follicle and destroys it, which prevents it from producing anymore hairs. Be warned, laser hair removal works best on those who have thick, dark hair on their body – it won’t work on those with blonde hair. This is because the laser targets the pigment in the hair, therefore meaning it won’t detect the blonde. Another note is that you’ll need several sessions of laser removal to destroy all the hair follicles. Your hair grows in different cycles and the laser only destroys the hair follicles that are actively growing. The recommended amount of sessions are 6-8, but your consultant will advise you on how many you’ll need.
What’s the process like?
I’ve had three sessions so far and haven’t had any issues; though I have been following the rules. Prior to your appointment, you’ll need to shave the area you’re getting lasered and make sure your body is free from lotions and deodorant. And most importantly, no fake tan! This is probably the biggest no-no because the laser will then target your skin and then burn it off. If you’re a big fan of fake tan, you’ll want to be aware that this process will take up to a year or more. This is because you have to wait 6 to 8 weeks between each session to let the hair grow back fully. Upon arrival at the clinic, you’ll enter a room looking like this for the treatment:
Both you and the laser technician will have to wear goggles during the treatment. Not very fashionable, but for safety! The towel is just for modesty (Although, I had my entire bikini area lasered, so I’m not sure the towel did much). You don’t need do anything except lie down and the technician will do the rest. They will probably dry shave you initially to make sure that they get all the hairs off before they start the process. This might cause a bit of bleeding as you might know – we’ve all been there. Then, if the area is quite large (e.g. legs), they will section it off with a white pencil. Once the lasering begins, the machine will blow out cold air to cool down the area and to supposedly make it less painful. I won’t lie though, it does hurt quite a lot, especially on sensitive areas like the underarm and bikini. My technician is really lovely and chats with me to try and take my mind off the pain! Here’s what my legs looked like straight after:
The redness may look like they’ve botched my legs, but I promise it’s a good thing. Just a note that the red mark on my right knee is a scar and not caused by the laser! After the treatment is finished, you’ll be told that you’re not allowed to exercise, go to the spa/sauna or have a hot shower for 48 hours. This is because the laser will have heated up your skin and you want it to cool down – so have a shower before you go. The technician will then leave the room for you to get dressed again and will wait for you by the reception to book your next appointment; she’ll also advise you on how many weeks to wait before the next treatment. There are a selection of gels and creams to put on afterwards that you can help yourself to as well.
What are the results like?
Before I had done my research about laser hair removal, I thought it was just one session and your hair would be gone forever. Put simply, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Whilst I did see a big reduction after my first session, all the hair definitely wasn’t gone. On areas that are especially large, like the legs, I still have patches of hair that grow normally as it’s quite hard to get every little bit in a session. After having three sessions, the only hair that remains are really fine bits of hair that you can’t really notice. Each time you go for a session, they increase the power of the laser to try and destroy every hair follicle. As I have 5 more sessions left, I’m very happy with the results so far.
After my first appointment, I was warned that after around 2 weeks I would begin to itch quite badly and would then need to exfoliate. This is because of the dead hair coming through. Luckily, I haven’t experienced much, or any, itching. Probably because I was quite wary of this and exfoliated a lot after treatments. The dead hair appears almost shrivelled and you can squeeze it out of your skin too. Not the most glamorous way of going about it but definitely interesting!
On my second appointment, I had some surprising results that were quite different to what I had originally experienced. I had a lot of fine hair that was quite visible grow back. Definitely not as thick as before, but definitely visible. I wasn’t angry or upset, I just trusted that this was part of the process. When reporting back to my technician on my third session, she advised that I wait 8 weeks, instead of 6, for my next appointment to make sure that all the hair has grown through. She had suspected we had probably missed the second growth cycle of the hair which is why the laser wasn’t able to destroy those hair follicles.
Verdict (so far)
As you can probably tell, I’m very happy with the results and the service at Pulse Light Clinic. All the staff are really friendly and very experienced (I think that’s important to add!). The clinic is opened until 8pm, which makes it handy for going to after work instead of having to travel on the weekend. They have three clinics based in various areas of Central London, the one I currently go to is the one in Bank. My next appointment is in two weeks and I’ll be writing another post on my updated experience and the aftercare once you’ve completed all eight sessions.
More can be read on the Pulse Light Clinic website.