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Laser Hair Removal: Bikini Line Pain

All About My First Laser Hair Removal Treatment

So! As previously mentioned, I am embarking on a months-long journey of laser hair removal. I'm doing the bikini line and underarms, and now that I've had my first session, here's the update.

My laser technician (who's much nicer than Vader here) doesn't use topical anaesthetics; instead, she prefers to use ice packs. Gulp. Therefore, I took an over-the-counter painkiller before the appointment. Now, here's the thing with LHR: you need to shave before the treatment, but you can't wax. This is because the laser targets the melanin in the hair follicle, so the less stubble you have, the less pain you'll experience. For the first time, I came in all hirsute to let the technician see just what kind of hair she'd be dealing with. She then whipped out some medical clippers and shaved me, which — let's be honest — was a little awkward.

To find out if the pain was as bad as people say it is, keep reading.

After the shaving, I was given ice packs to numb the skin. By the time my armpits were chilled, I was sweating everywhere because I was worried about how much it would hurt. "Do you find that men or women generally handle the pain better?" I asked.

"Oh, women for sure," my technician said. "I don't know if it's from our monthly cramps or what, but women tend to be able to bear it more. Men often need more breaks."

I donned a pair of dorky sunglasses, and then the zapping began. (The technician used a Cutera ProWave, if you care about that thing.) She started on my underarms and went down the skin in four vertical linear movements, pulsing the laser every inch or so. As for the discomfort, I will not lie: it hurts. Some people say it's like the snap of a rubber band. That is horse dung, unless we're talking about being snapped by a thick, scalding, electrified rubber band. I'd say it's slightly more painful than waxing, but if you can handle that, you can handle this — plus, it's over quickly. Numbing with ice is mandatory as far as I'm concerned; the laser hit a not-yet-numbed spot and it hurt like a mutha.

The appointment lasted just under an hour, and I'm to return in four to six weeks. The hair started to fall out about a week and a half afterward, leaving smooth skin behind. Hooray! The underarm hair is disappearing much faster than the hair on my bikini area, which is something to keep an eye on. All in all, though, I'm so glad I decided to do this. Will keep you posted on further developments and longer-term hair loss. Let me know if you have any questions!

Source: Flickr User Big C Harvey

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tatsauce tatsauce 5 years
Thanks BellaSugar! I'm still bitter about not inheriting my mom's non-hairy genes.
trendyindc trendyindc 6 years
I had laser hair removal done on my face (i'm really particular about my hairline and I have to wear my hair back all the time). WORST DECISION EVER. Not only did I blister and peel as if I had a horrible sunburn, but the hair grew back thicker and darker. It took a full year to get it under control so my skin wasn't damaged.
goddessru goddessru 6 years
Hi Bella! I'm not sure what Prowave is, but the place I go to uses Soprano. http://www.renudc.com/laser-hair-removal.html
MarleneM MarleneM 6 years
I had a few treatments on my underarms and it didn't hurt at all. But the woman used an IPL (intensed pulse light) for removal, other than a little heat it was fine. Noodle78: Your hair grows in cycles and is affected by your hormones. That's why you have to go in for several sessions for best results. They tell you that hormone alterations like pregnancy and menopause can definitely cause hairs to grow again that weren't zapped in one of the earlier cycles. It's the reason why it's not really recommended for teens to get laser hair removal or young girls who haven't really finished going through puberty. To be honest, it's deterred me from getting more done. I just got a great rate to do the bottom half of my legs but I am kind of worried I'm just wasting my time and should wait until after I (maybe) have kids one day. Just incase, I will prolly stick to the underam/leg treatments and do other places after having kids.
runningesq runningesq 6 years
I'd love to get my armpits done ! I don't mind shaving my legs, but it's hard for me to get a really good, close shave without irritation for my pits. Hey, Bella, what about a post/ article on the best shave creams/ gels and razors ?
Beauty Beauty 6 years
Tatsauce, this Bella is quite pale, with cool undertones. (This is me.) In general, the best candidates for LHR have pale skin and dark hair. Not all lasers can be used on olive skin, but I believe Nd:YAG lasers can. I'd ask a professional about it to be sure, and I'd also ask about his/her experience treating people with your skin tone. Samantha B, you only pluck now and then? Nice! The whole thing still blows my mind. The cats probably think I'm crazy because I keep touching my armpits.
tatsauce tatsauce 6 years
Question!! What is your skin tone BellaSugar? I'm in the olive/tan family, do you think this would be good for me? I hope the answer is yes because being a hairy gal is not fun. :(
Beauty Beauty 6 years
Thanks for commenting, DutchShoes. I'm doing my legs at home with Tria and have been pleased by the results so far. If the underarms/bikini keep going well, I'll agree with you — worth every penny. Noodle78, that's interesting. I've had pregnant friends say that they grew hair in new places. Hormones do interesting things. Chicalaca, thanks for all of the tips!
DutchShoes DutchShoes 6 years
Just thought I'd add my two cents: I had my whole legs done (hairy lady with the worst combo: dark hair & pale, pale skin) about 3 years ago and I have to say that it is the best money I ever spent. As to how well it holds up over time: so far very well. The laser only promises an 80% reduction in hair growth on any particular area and I would say that that's about right for what I have left now. Yes it was painful, but now I can wear skirts and not worry about hairy legs, or ingrowns (I can easily get away with shaving what is left only once a week - a far cry from my once a day necessity before). I'm saving to do my underarms and bikini next.
Beauty Beauty 6 years
I've heard that tattoo removal hurts like CRAZY. It made a noise? Mine just beeped, but obviously two different procedures. I hope the removal goes as smoothly as possible!
SanDiegoLove SanDiegoLove 6 years
I'm currently in the middle of a three-session laser tattoo removal treatment. That laser hurts but the tattoo being removed is on my shoulder blade, which contributes to the pain factor. Does the hair removal laser make a snapping sound like the tattoo laser? That was a little off-putting....it sounded like a HUGE snapping rubber band every time the laser made contact with an ink molecule.
Beauty Beauty 6 years
Anonymous, it depends. I think it's around $120 a session where I live. Not sure, though, because they threw it in gratis since I bought a bikini line package. (And no, they do not know that I edit BellaSugar, so it's not like they were hooking me up because of that.) Goddessru, are you using the ProWave? I also get gel on my skin. I should have mentioned that! I also love not thinking about shaving. I was just in Belize for 10 days and didn't shave once. Sourcherries, I read that Ru Paul quote too. I have heard that electrolysis is quite painful, and having had decent results from the Tria laser device, I had an idea of what to expect with laser. Plus, it's quicker. So I didn't even look into electrolysis. I'll be interested to see how LHR holds up over the next few years... it doesn't promise permanent hair removal, just permanent growth reduction, so we'll see.
sourcherries sourcherries 6 years
Thanks for the update, Bella! I just read that RuPaul recommends electrolysis over laser (not that he's expert, just that I read that article). What made you choose laser over electrolysis--was it expense or pain factor, or both? Thanks!
goddessru goddessru 6 years
I'm getting my underarm lasared, 1st off- it's probably the best thing I ever did. I have very sensitive skin and hated shaving. Waxing hurt a lot and made me bleed. Creams irritated me. The place where I'm getting it done has a newer machine that is virtually painless and safe for darker skin tones. The lady just puts a cold gel on me, then moves through the area in strokes. I feel like someone is plucking, but it's not really painful- just uncomfortable. You have to be cautious of when you are doing the treatment- don't do it the week of your period because you are so sensitive to pain everything hurts more. I received 6 sessions for $850, which I thought was decent. It's worth it if I never have to shave again. The results are great too- can you imgine not having to worry about wearing a tank top twice because you forgot to shave. The hair becomes finer and softer, and eventually the growth decreases dramatically. The irritation from shaving on my skin has gone down. During the 2-3 weeks after a session, you are literally hair free. Then very little stubble grows, but thats all that grows. During week 3-6 you might shave once a week. Over time hair grows less, slower. If you live in a big city I'm sure you can find a place that has these newer machines. I'm telling you, virtually painless and 15mins for my underarms.
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