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