Welcome to the very beginning of my blog series following my experience of laser hair removal on my legs! As well as doing blog posts I am also recording vlogs so you will be able to watch procedures and listen to my thoughts if reading isn't so much your thing. I have a feeling the blog posts will be more in depth as I may miss things out when talking on camera, but will be able to take more time in writing everything down.
I remember when I first talked about it with a friend and I sort of sniggered at being asked if I would get it. It felt as if I was being asked if I was overly hairy! The more I spoke about it though the more I thought about actually doing it, imagine not having to shave again! Now I'm not going to lie, I am lazy with shaving my legs, glamorous I know... When I do I often cut myself and it frustrates me how they are just prickly the next day! Also shaving gives me ingrowing hairs, I really notice the pores in my legs especially around my ankles where I can see little black dots of the hairs still. I've tried epilating, but again ingrowing hairs! It was also time consuming, not to mention it hurt! I've never gone near waxing, I'm a woose with pain! Basically I find removing my leg hair annoying and inconvenient, I obviously prefer being hair free, but doing it is a chore.
My initial thoughts on laser hair removal
When I mentioned it to people, or even said on social media I was getting it done, people said "It will hurt!" and this just made me so anxious! Starting to type it into google search brought up "laser hair removal pain". It seems it's the main thing on everyones mind. The constant hearing of it hurting just instilled this fear into me, I kept thinking that it's not going to be a good experience..
Differing accounts of pain were described. "Like having a tattoo" "Like an elastic band being pinged on your skin" "Like you're sunburnt". So I've had tattoos, and some parts of my main one hurt but most didn't. But then again, rib tattoos for sure hurt right! Some people even mentioned being burnt during the laser hair removal! This all just didn't help. Sometimes it's best not to just google things and accept what you read. Use it to research into where's best to go, not the cheapest!
What I'm having done
I'm getting my full legs done with the Soprano XL laser at The Doctors Laser Clinic
How to prepare
Research into where is best to go, try and find honest reviews, I found forums were good rather than companies websites. Book a consultation so you can have any questions you have on your mind answered. Before you have your treatment you shave the area so the hair doesn't sit past the surface of your skin.
I'm not sure if it's the same with all clinics, but where I went consultations are free, you aren't obliged to have to commit to come back and do the treatment. You could just request a consultation to see if it's for you, find out if it really does hurt or not as you have your test patch then. See if you think it could be worth the money and get all your questions answered.
So I asked straight away about if it hurt, I was reassure it wouldn't but I didn't believe them! The nurse told me there's different settings on the laser. There's a completely pain free setting (I cannot remember the proper name for it though) and there's the HR setting which is stronger I believe. Also for the HR setting there's different levels of intensity so it can be adjusted for the individual. Starting at 20, going up to 50. It was so useful talking to the nurse and I learnt lots I didn't know actually.
I popped on some glasses to protect my eyes from the laser, I had a test patch marked out on my leg. Ultra sound gel was applied on the area and off we went! The device was waved over my skin whilst the laser flashed and beeped away. I was surprised at how quick it was done. In my head I could have almost imagined them pausing over every hair, but as the laser flashes so many times a second it can be moved around.
How did it feel!?! It didn't hurt one bit! It felt like a warming sensation and I had a slight nip feeling as if a hair was tweezered out a couple of times, but that was really nothing. We then tried the HR setting. I braced myself thinking, okay, this one will make me feel something! Apart from it beeping and flashing it's little pink light differently, it felt exactly the same. I had level 20, she said for my next session I can try higher. Once the 10cm x 10cm-ish patch was complete she popped on some aloe vera and I was done. My skin looked no different, no redness, nothing.
We then pencilled in a date to start my treatment.
Things I learnt
- You can begin treatment 24 hours after your test patch.
- Test patches are to see how your skin reacts. There's been no cases of burns or bad reactions from The Soprano laser.
- I didn't realise that from the first session hairs are being killed, every session 20% of the hair is killed. The laser heats up the hairs and kills the stem cells so the hair won't grow back.
- It stops hairs ingrowing when growing back as it changes the direction of how the hair grows. For example in the bikini line the hairs grown flat, as it's also curly they can grow under the skin. After lasering the hairs will grow straight up.
- I won't notice the dots of the hairs under my skin around my ankles after awhile as the hair won't be there anymore.
- After your treatment the hair will carry on growing, but you can still shave it (cannot wax, pluck or epilate) then after a few weeks hairs will start shedding, falling out. After awhile hairs will grow back, you then shave and have your next treatment. Treatments are 6 weeks apart to let your hair have this cycle.
- The Soprano laser is one of the best in the industry and it's much newer than IPL (IPL is a cheaper and commonly known method of hair removal, it gets confused with laser hair removal but it's different. It's also often painful and can cause burns).
- The Soprano has a completely pain free setting, and a HR setting. These settings beep and flash differently (so from that I assume the laser works differently). The HR setting isn't used on more sensitive areas of the skin like the bikini line for example.
- Anyone can do IPL on someone, there are a lot of unregulated clinics out there so be careful.
- Lasers can be used on any skin colour (also tanned skin), whilst IPL can cause burning on darker skin tones.
- Cannot have laser hair removal over tattoos.
My thoughts now after my trial patch/consultation
All I could think was WHAT WAS EVERYONE ON ABOUT, IT DIDN'T HURT AT ALL! I was so pleased and messaged people back on instagram and tweeted about my pain free experience.
I guess people who felt it hurt have experienced IPL and not had it with a laser/ the Soprano. (I keep saying the Soprano laser as I'm not sure what other lasers are out there and what they might be like.) I feel as if everyone thinks laser hair removal hurts and it really doesn't have to. It's bad really that IPL has given it a bad name, hearing of burns etc! People often look for the cheaper option. For some going cheaper and having discomfort/pain is worth it, but upon reading online, people aren't always finding IPL works and so have wasted their money.
Now I've had my test patch and I know what to expect, although I had heard the Soprano laser didn't hurt I couldn't believe that until I had experienced it for myself. Hearing from so many that laser hair removal hurt made me think it would for me too. I didn't realise there were different hair removal methods though and that IPL is often mistaken as a form of laser hair removal.
I'm looking forward to the rest of my treatment and no longer anxious. I'm now waiting for my hair to start shedding, hmm sounds lovely, but would be good to start seeing the effect from it all. Am thinking of not shaving in between treatments (apart from the night before the next session) so can show the results better for you guys, showing it thin out over time and how much falls out etc. I was told if I did shave in between sessions I won't get to notice how areas shed, but you would notice you wouldn't need to shave as frequently over time.
I feel I've learnt a lot just from my test patch, talking to the nurse, experiencing it myself, hearing about others experiences. I didn't realise at first there was IPL and laser hair removal and also different lasers!
I feel laser hair removal isn't really talked about, I myself don't know of anyone who's done it so I had no one to talk about it to. But I want to be able to share my experiences and talk to people about it all. I think it's more popular than I realise, but not everyone is so willing to go round telling people they are getting it done.
I've had such a good reaction to this all on instagram, other girls keen to hear my experience, read my blog posts, watch my vlogs. Also girls had told me they've had it done and they are so happy with the results, some have had their under arms done, their arms, their legs, and other areas. Often legs aren't done as much as they are a lot more expensive than other areas.
So the next laser hair instalment should be in a few weeks after I start noticing a change!
Watch Part 1 of a mini documentary series following my experience here.
Disclaimer: I am having the treatment courtesy of The Doctors Laser Clinic but I am not being paid to do these blog posts/vlogs, nor being told what to write/say. All thoughts are truthful and are my own.