I’m a bit of a shaving-addict as I cannot stand the feeling of scratchy and unnecessary body hair so I make sure that I strim everything off in the shower daily. My unwanted body hair unfortunately seems to grow back super fast and by late afternoon/early evening I can already feel my regrowth coming through which is always itchy, red and unpleasant to the touch.
I dream of silky smooth skin and ditching the cost, time and effort spent shaving everyday – not to mention the accidental razor slips and nicks and ingrowing hairs which leave me itching sand bleeding. Fortunately my boyfriend Freddy supports me in my body-hair views as he too dislikes his hairy chest; so together we’ve sought a more permanent method of hair removal by having treatment at Pulse Light Clinic, a high-end laser facility in London.
Despite shaving my underarms everyday I can never seem to get rid of the grey, stubbily shadow left behind from shaving as I feel cutting the hair off level with the surface of the skin leaves the dark hair still visible in colour just not in length. After having a patch test my boyfriend and I were confirmed as ideal candidates for laser hair removal and attended a join appointment to have our first treatments.
With laser hair removal all body hair must be completely shaved from the area to be treated and this process is suitable for ages 18+ providing incredible results for both men and women alike. The laser works by pulsing light in a concentrated area to selectively destroy hair follicles by targeting the melanin within them, this damages the follicle enough to significantly stunt hair regrowth without affecting the surrounding tissue.
People with coarse, dark hair and light skin respond best to laser hair removal, however dark-haired, dark-skinned individuals as well as those with light hair and skin can still achieve the same desired effects using a different form of laser or electrolysis which works by directing an electric current into each individual hair follicle and is slightly more time consuming. We are both suitable for the most common form of laser hair removal as we have light skin with dark hair.
After my armpits are cleansed and shaved the lasering itself only takes a couple of minutes to complete which eye protection is worn whilst the laser is in use. The laser admits a bright red light in pulses accompanied by a constant stream of cold air to cool and numb the skin making the treatment more comfortable. At most a small, very quick and slightly warm pinging sensation is felt across thicker darker hair with the majority of the treatment being unnoticeable as all I could feel was a cold puff of air and the smell of burning hair.
I also had my lower legs treated – from the knee down – where a white pencil was used got mark a grid onto my skin so that the lasering could take place in sections, ensuring all hairs are treated. I started by laying on my back to treat the front of my legs before turning over onto my front to treat the back of my legs. This treatment took around 10mins in total and was less noticeable than my underarm treatment as the only area that I felt sensation in was at the back of my ankles.
Following treatment the dead hair needs to come through and is typically shed within one to three weeks. During this time the hair will seem to keep growing, but after the second laser treatment this will become patchy in places as some follicles will have stopped producing new hairs. The skin treated is red but not painful immediately after lasering and can be raised and bumpy in appearance which is expected, this will usually subside within 48hrs. It’s recommended to keep the skin cool, clean, dry and free from tight clothing directly after treatment to avoid irritation, other than that we carried on with our day as normal.
The laser targets only hairs that are actively growing which is why multiple treatments are needed to catch all of the hair follicles at different growth stages. It’s recommended that you have between 4-6 treatments to each individual area with a 6-8wk rest period between treatments to allow the untreated hairs to grow out. Results can be seen in just a few weeks as hair becomes sparser and finer with the skin smoother and pores less visible.
I had also wanted to treat my bikini line with laser hair removal, however as I have my entire torso and thighs tattooed the laser cannot be used within 3-5cm of a tattoo or it will destroy the pigment of the ink within it. Therefore laser hair removal is not suitable on areas that contain tattoos, but you can treat the skin around it – something to bare in mind if you’re thinking of adding to your body art, wait until after you’ve finished your course of lasering.
Freddy’s treatment took the longest at around 25-30mins in total. The same white pencil method was used to draw a grid onto his torso which started at his neck down to his underwear line. Freddy has always been very hairy with very thick dark hair across the length and width of his chest which he frequently shaves but hates the itching and ingrowing hairs.
For the most part he sat comfortably throughout the treatment on his finer hairs, however he found the most noticeable parts were the very dense hairy areas at the middle of his chest between his pecs and just beneath his naval which he described as a 7/10 for discomfort compared to the 4/10 for the rest of his body. On the other hand as my hair is finer than his I would describe my treatments as 4/10 for the noticeable areas and 0/10 for the majority of the lasering as the cold air numbed my skin.
The most noticeable pictures that I can show you from our treatments are Freddy’s before and after directly following his first treatment. Whilst I never allow my body hair to grow for more than a day or to become long, Freddy usually trims his chest every couple of months to keep it manageable. His skin is dotted with red areas from the laser which is comparable to shaving rash in appearance but we didn’t find it noticeable, itchy or hot, just slightly red and raised in appearance which was hidden beneath our clothes.
Our results will continue to improve with time and we will post update photos here following each treatment that we have. We’re so pleased with our first laser sessions and were both in and back out shopping again after having our three procedures in under an hour. The staff at Pulse Light were so kind and professional, as well as the clinic bright, modern and filled with the latest technology to make our treatments quick, convenient and very discreet.
UPDATE: Second Treatment
As six weeks have passed since our first treatment, my boyfriend and I returned to Pulse Light clinic for our second hair removal session and are thrilled with the results so far. Seeing as we must shave off all hair before lasering the skin it may be more helpful to see the change in hair thickness and density on my boyfriends chest from before and after one treatment.
It took almost three weeks for any chest hair to come back at all and when it did it was much finer and more spread out than the strong thick black hair that was there before. By the time six weeks had passed since the first hair removal, the middle picture here shows his results which is a huge difference. Because the hair is weaker and less dense my boyfriend found his second laser treatment much more comfortable than the first as the hair follicles aren’t as strong as they once were, this will continue to improve with each session.
I also had my underarms and leg hair layered for my second treatment and love how smooth and soft my skin is. I would normally have shaved everyday before lasering but now I’m going three or four days at a time without any hair, and the fine light hair that does come through isn’t half as noticeable as it was before treatment.
I no longer have scratchy dark stubble at the surface of my skin and because of this I can’t stop touching my bare legs – it feels amazingly uplifting and freeing as it’s something I’ve always been so self conscious of.
I wanted to share this picture of my leg directly after laser hair removal treatment which is marked with a white pencil to ensure each area of the skin has been treated, followed by small red dots where the treated hair follicles have reacted – don’t panic, it’s a sign that it’s worked!
Much like waxing agitates the skin and causes redness and bumps, lasering is very similar. After the treatment aloe vera is massaged into the skin and it doesn’t hurt or itch at all, it’s just stays a little red for the rest of the afternoon before fading back to my normal skin tone. It’s important to wear loose clothing after lasering so as not to agitate the treated area unnecessarily for which my jumpsuit was perfect.
Whilst I wouldn’t want to try to grow my leg hair to show a before and after picture of my weakened hair, just seeing and feeling how smooth my underarms and legs are after my first two sessions is incredible. The time left between shaving will get longer and longer the more treatments that I have until I no longer have to shave at all!