All You Need To Know About Laser Hair Removal
To laser or not to laser, that is the question. As a life-long waxer (bikini) and shaver (underarms and legs), I was suspect of the laser movement. I mean, I had literally just become comfortable with someone waxing my lady parts! But everyone was doing it… and loving it (laser, I mean), and so I decided to see what all the hype was about. After all, I absolutely loathe shaving — and if there was a service that could provide me with hair-free legs, bikini, and underarms, well, what did I have to lose?
Off of a referral from a friend, I enlisted the ladies at Sev Laser Aesthetics, a favorite of Kylie Jenner’s, to get me to that hair-free happy place. They said it would take between 6-8 sessions, every 4-6 weeks, and I had to come religiously to see results. In other words, no skipping a month. I could get on board with this. They also said that yes, it was uncomfortable, but with each visit, the hair would decrease so the pain would lessen as well. So, basically, I just had to get through the first few visits and then I’d have less hair. But how much does it hurt? We’ll get to that in a moment.
First, the facts:
What laser did I use? I was treated with a Cynosure Apogee Elite laser which has both ALexandrite and Yag. “Alex laser is the fastest of all the laser types. It’s good for treating larger body areas among patients who are of light-to-olive complexion,” explains Sev, owner of Sev Laser Aesthetics. “It is one of the most widely used hair removal lasers.Yag wavelength is universally agreed upon to be safest for ethnic skin individuals where hair laser removal using Alexandrite wavelength is thought to be the superior among the current technology. With Cynosure’s Elite, you will be able to achieve the best of both worlds.”
How many treatments will I need? According to Sev, it takes about 6-8 treatments, but it’s different for each person and body part. Legs are usually the first to stop growing and areas like the face and back need more treatments. You’ll want to continue touch-up treatments for patches of hair that continue to grow. If you become pregnant after doing laser, you may have to return to full laser treatments as pregnancy can cause new hair to grow from the roots.
What’s the prep? “The areas being treated must be completely shaven before your appointment because we are targeting the root of the hair and not the hair that’s out,” explains Sev. “You can not wax prior because waxing pulls the hair out by its root and we are left with an empty hair follicle which means there is nothing to burn and you would be wasting your time and money.” You can not be on any kind of antibiotics and you need to stay out of the sun for 10-14 days before your treatment, this includes tanning beds and spray tans. Finally, don’t exfoliate the area seven days before treatment.
What’s the post? “Always wear sunblock on treated areas,” says Sev. “No hot showers, saunas, steam rooms, or workouts immediately after treatment. And no sun exposure for 10-14 days post laser. Shave the treated areas 10 days after treatment. It will help to pull out all the dead hair.”
I’m going to start with the cons of lasering, as they are few but important. Firstly, it does hurt, and anyone who tells you differently is lying. On dark, tough, rooted hairs it feels like someone is smacking a rubber band directly onto your skin. On less hairy areas, it’s more of a constant stinging feeling, like micro-needling. The latter is tolerable, the former, not so much. I had to squeeze a roll of paper towels and use a lot of curse words to get me through the 45 minute treatment. Bikini and ankles hurt the most (and continue to be rather painful), underarms and upper thighs aren’t so bad.
Another con is that you have to stay out of the sun entirely. So I’d suggest not starting your laser treatments during summertime. I’m not a huge sunbather anymore so this wasn’t as annoying for me as it may be for some, but even wearing shorts in the days leading up to your appointment can wreak havoc on the procedure. Basically, ideal lasering conditions are when your skin its its palest and your hair is its darkest. Hence, the zero sun thing.
When the laser is working its best, it smells like a mixture of burning hair and skin. The scent can be pretty intense, although I didn’t mind much because I knew it was working.
I’ve completed 8 full treatments and am onto my second touch-up and I am happy to report that I am 95% hair-free! The laser worked the fastest on my underarms, then bikini, and then legs. Due to melasma, I cannot laser my face (insert sad face here).
Lasering makes skin feel silky smooth – this isn’t why you laser, but it’s definitely an added bonus, especially when a man’s hands run up the side of your leg.
After my very first laser treatment, the hair on my bikini line grew back and then fell out and I was hair-free up until my next treatment. My leg hair definitely grew back and needed to be shaved in between treatments, but now it only comes back in patches around my ankles, knees, and sporadically on the bone. I haven’t had to shave bikini or underarms in between treatments since after the 5th for underarms and the 6th for bikini, and the hair on my legs is so thin that I don’t even bother shaving between touch-ups.
For me, bikini waxing can be pretty painful and expensive and hair grows back within a few weeks. Lasering is painful, but it’s almost the same price as waxing and the hair grows back way slower and less thick. So, it’s not even a question: I’d choose laser over waxing any day of the week.
For me, lasering was 100% worth it. The pain pales in comparison to the results: smooth, hair-free legs, bikini, and underarms. I never have to worry about whether I can show my legs or not because (gasp!) I forgot to shave. My legs are always ready to be seen. I can wear a bikini year round, without having to book a waxing appointment or jumping into the shower for a quick shave and getting gnarly in-growns. Every day I am summer – and sexy-time – ready. What a f*&^ing relief.
Laser all the way to smooth, hair-free skin!
*Sev Laser is located at 8428 Melrose Pl, West Hollywood, CA 90069