In 2019, I started getting professional Laser Hair Removal treatments. Yes; even though I at one point purchased a Silkn Flash & Go device, I splurged on the real deal as a birthday gift to myself.
In short? I’m glad I did.
I started with underarms and brazilian laser hair removal treatment, and added lower leg about six months later.
Myths & Realities
It only takes 5-6 Treatments
You may experience a solid reduction in that time, but those cases are probably statistical outliers used for the benefit of marketing. Many cases do take longer going to get the results you want (significant reduction/removal) in that time.
I’ve been going for about a year and have maybe 5 active follicles remaining for my underarms. Brazilian is not quite as an aggressive reduction yet, but that can be owed to the thoroughness of the esthetician (comfort levels vary); and I get it.
If you’re considering laser hair removal, ask providers about average results and what to expect fee wise if treatment takes longer than the 5-6 that are so commonly touted. In my case, buying what equates to the cost of 5-6 treatments (‘a full course’) entitles me to however many I need over a two year period to get the job done.
Laser Hair Removal is Painless
It isn’t universally painless. There are many variables that contribute to discomfort that you might feel. To name a few:
- Follicle density in a treatment area
- How well you adhered to prep instructions
- Pain tolerance (women’s tend to vary because thanks, hormones)
- Machine settings (i.e., higher intensity wavelength may be more uncomfortable – but also more effective)
- Color of treated hair and its contrast with your skin
Overall, even at the most painful I’ve experienced, I think it hurts less than waxing. The discomfort, when felt, exists for an instant and doesn’t tend to leave you stinging for (potentially) hours. It also definitely hurts less than the chemical burns that can result from using depilatory products like Nair.
Only Light Skin Tones Can Get Laser Hair Removal
While this was unfortunately the case when the technology was emergent, it isn’t so now. This isn’t a case of nasty behavior, but of safety; early generation lasers would ‘attack’ pigment in the skin and cause harm or injury to deeper skin tones. Obviously, we don’t want people sustaining actual injury for vanity.
Fortunately, advances have been made in lasers that deeper skin tones can be safely (and that is the key here) treated. There are devices and settings that can be used to perform laser hair removal treatment on deeper skin, which is great.
Caveat – if you are a person with a lighter skin tone, you need to lay off sunless tanning prior to treatment. A good treatment provider will warn of you this and have you sign a form acknowledging it. If I’ve been using tanning products recently, I don’t apply the week I’m getting treatment, and I exfoliate beforehand to keep myself safe. You can always reapply later.
Slightly over a year later (with 1-2 planned treatments disrupted due to CoVid-19), I have very few follicles on my underarms. I’ll reach for my razor in the shower and realize I don’t need it. It is awesome. It’s nice being able to wear something sleeveless, particularly in the summer without really thinking. It’s also nice not having to deal with uncomfortable outgrowth; my skin was sensitive enough that shaving them daily was folly and a recipe for irritation, so it was a 2-3 day job, which meant poking and annoyance. GONE. Worth it.
I do still need to shave the other areas, but not as often and the density isn’t what it was (which is a nice way of saying overall, it’s patchy). My razors last three times as long (at least) which is awesome. I ended up canceling my Billie subscription (review); I love the product, I just don’t need them as often and I have a good stockpile.