They bad thing about having strong and fast-growing hair is having strong and fast-growing hair everywhere. I have been getting is lasered off in the past couple of years. It was a bit different than what I expected, yet I'm really satisfied.
I got my armpits and the bikini line done. The pain is similar to someone snapping an elastic band against your skin.
Body image disclaimer:I'm not saying everyone has to go and remove all body hair. If you prefer to keep body hair, that's fine. If you prefer to remove (some of) your body hair, that's fine too. This post is intended to provide some useful tips for those considering laser hair removal.
So, did it work?
Yes, but. I was expecting the hair to be completely gone after a couple of sessions, but that didn't happen. After four sessions of bikini lasering there is a bit of fine hair left, but it doesn't come grow out stubbly and doesn't show much. Also, NO INGROWNS. I had to write that in capitals because that is the best part. Also the skin on my underarms used to be permanently bumpy, now it's smooth like a baby's.
Already after the first session the remaining hair was much easier to shave off and I stopped getting irritated skin and those bumpy follicles, so it was totally worth it.
Of course I could also invest in a couple sessions more, but it seems to be a Zeno's arrow thing. The laser zaps only the hair which are in a specific stage of their life cycle, which is probably like one-third to half of the hair at any given time. Interestingly one beautician told me that women who have always shaved have hair that is more in sync, while those who have waxed / epilated have hair all over the place when it comes to the growth cycle.
Also the hair tends to grow back a bit, one or two sessions each year are necessary for maintenance -- I'm not sure if I'll be doing that because I'm cheap.
Another tip: one beautician told me that lasering the upper lip is usually not worth the money as the hair is comparatively fine and hard to zap.
How to get the best out of your laser hair removal:
First, check exactly what kind of laser the studio has, as they are not equally effective. The studio website usually mentions the laser type, you can google that. You'll need less session with a strong laser than a weak one. On this note, IPL is no real laser and it's not even permanent.
You need to stop waxing or depilating and only shave for at least three months in advance. Cream hair removal should be avoided a couple of weeks before laser.
If you'll be getting any sun at all, invest in a good SPF50 cream, and keep the area covered.
You need to plan your appointments around days when you won't be a) sweating, b) going out in the sun, c) taking antibiotics d) swimming / sauna. All these things can cause your skin to either get discoloured or inflamed.
If you're getting your underarms done, remember that you can't use deodorant that day. Baby powder can help keep things fresh.
Don't pick on the scabs that form after the hair removal session.
When (not) to get laser hair removal:
You need to pick a period where you won't be on the beach as the sun can cause a lot of damage to freshly lasered skin. Apparently if you travel to somewhere tropical, not even clothes and sunscreen can protect lasered skin.
You also need top wait a couple of weeks after using depilatory creams, fake tan, or getting a real tan.
Wait till your tan has completely faded, the paler your skin the better the laser will work. The best time is late autumn or winter, as you don't have to worry about sun damage. The exception here are the armpits, they can be lasered even in the summer because you don't walk around with your arms lifted up.
If you are a woman and plan to have kids any time soon, wait till you are done unless you have money to burn. Pregnancy hormones often causes the hair to grow back.
You can't do laser hair removal if you are taking antibiotics, as they make the skin very susceptible to damage. If you do fall sick and have to pop some, you need to postphone your next session by at least 2 weeks.
Medications such as certain antibiotics, iron supplements, St John's Wort or sleeping pills can make you susceptible to a phytotoxic reaction. If you have been taking any, you need to wait before your laser appointment.
Here is an exhaustive list of the contraindications, including skin issues, birth control and medicaments.
Groupon makes lasering affordable:
Around spring Groupon usually has deals on laser hair removal. Around here it came down to ca 20€ per session (doesn't matter which body part). Do you get what you pay for with Groupon? One of the studios I went to was really amazing with a really modern laser machine, they were on Groupon because they just opened and were looking to attract customers. The other one wasn't that great, they didn't give me all the information about contraindications and after-care (thankfully I had researched online), also their laser was a tad weaker. The place where I lasered my underarms was much weaker, so even after 8 sessions there is a bit of hair left.
It makes sense to buy at least 4 sessions on Groupon, that is the minimum it takes to clean up an area.Apparently the laser patent will be expiring really soon, which should make lasering much more affordable.
So, you can let me know if you have any questions. Or maybe you've had a laser hair removal and would like to share your experiences? Comment below!