Since April, I've been getting laser hair removal. Hey, I'm half southern Italian- don't judge me.
I spent a long time considering laser hair removal because I really, truly hate shaving. Don't get me wrong, despite my love of making Italian jokes about myself, I'm actually not a particularly hairy person; I just freaking hate
shaving. Like, a lot. In fact, for the two years prior to starting laser, I had been a regular at the local Brazilian waxing place, because there's literally nothing I hate shaving more than my bikini area (why remove the hair at all? Because I prefer it that way
When I first looked into getting laser, I was immediately turned off by two things: the price and that, apparently, lasers don't work on people with my complexion. As it turns out, older
lasers only worked on white people with dark hair, but newer lasers are perfectly effective and
safe on people with darker skin (so, if you're like me, make sure you find out that your office has the safe kind of laser for your skin-- nobody wants to get burned up!). The money issue was a bit more complex to address. You see, in California, laser must be administered by either a registered nurse or a doctor and because of this fact, prices are pretty staggering. For instance, most places sell laser sessions in 6 session packages (you'll see this a lot on Groupon)-- it's my understanding that most folks will see a 70% reduction in hair after 6 treatments, but to get over 90% hair reduction, you need 12 or so treatments. And let me tell you, those 12 sessions come at a princely sum---- at local doctor's offices (mostly plastic surgeons), a full Brazilian for 12 sessions was going to run me something like $5000! FIVE THOUSAND
Hell to the no.
But then I found a place out of Las Vegas that has a really interesting business model. See, in Nevada, any-ol-jokester can administer laser, so most places (including where I go) have licensed estheticians with thousands of hours of laser training do it. Where I go is in an actual doctor's office, but the work is done by an esthetician. What makes this company so different, though, is that they run their lasering sort of like a tanning salon membership. Hear me out. You sign an 18 month contract and for that period, you get unlimited laser treatments (though they suggest coming in every 6 weeks) and free lifetime touchups. Price is monthly based on what areas you want done--- my full Brazilian is $50, my under arms are $12, and my upper lip is $10. Right now, though, they are running a special with FULL BODY laser for $99 a month-- insane. Anyway, I can either pay $72 a month for 18 months OR pay upfront and get a 20% discount (which I did). So, all said and done, I'm paying $1037 for all my laser.
I was absolutely blown away by the difference that just one treatment made- seriously
. After that one treatment, everything started growing much much slower and much more fine. As of right now, I'm seven treatments in and I would say I have just over a 50% overall reduction in hair-- there are patches, but everything is growing much slower and lighter.
After a few treatments, your crotch will bear a striking resemblance to one of those Chinese Crested dogs that frequently wins Ugly Dog contests.
Allow me to address the elephant in the room: pain
. Ok, I have a freaky high pain tolerance--- everyone comments on it. I can get a Brazilian wax and not even flinch; in fact, I regularly have jolly, cheerful conversations with the lady waxers. So, the first few laser treatments felt like absolutely nothing. The laser technicians would all ask me if I could even feel it and, while I could, it wasn't anything more than a mild sting. If you have tattoos, think of the sensation of tattooing (which I don't think hurts particularly much either), but dialed back about 95%.
And then my world came crashing down.
Somewhere around session five, things started to hurt. You see, each treatment they turn the laser up higher and higher, so apparently my threshold is five sessions in. I can't fully put into words how terribly this hurt, but just imagine hot needles stabbing your upper lip area and that little crease at the bottom of your nose. Then imagine your inner labia (if you have labia, that is). Yeah.
Session six involved me having a mild panic attack in the car on my way over. My heart was beating fast, I was breathing super fast, and I was scared. In fact, when the girl went to laser my face, I instinctively (and violently) flinched away from her. I apologized, but I couldn't stop myself-- it was completely involuntary.
About this time, I realized I needed to find some sort of solution for pain management. You can get topical numbing cream via prescription, but I don't have insurance, so I'd have to go pay at the urgent care, then pay full price for the 'script. Lame. I mean, I'd do it if that was my only choice, but I'd rather keep the $200 in my pocket, you know? So, I investigated and talked to people. One of the laser techs said, "I know it sounds CRAZY, but my manager SWEARS by it." What was it, you ask? Anal-eze. Yeah.
So, this is what I now do to manage my laser pain. Honestly, the last treatment I couldn't feel anything, despite the machine once again being turned up.
- One hour before my appointment, I pop 800 mg of ibuprofen
- 30 mins before my appointment, I rub Anal-eze all over any of the areas to be lasered.
- When I get to the appointment and get undressed, I again rub Anal-eze all over the areas to be lasered .
- During the lasering, the technician uses ice packs on the areas. The ice is a MIRACLE. I really believe the ice is the biggest thing causing me not to feel anything.
And that's that. I can't feel a damned thing anymore and it is wonderful.
If y'all have any laser-related questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them :)