I mentioned last week in this post here that I was starting a course of laser hair removal at my local Sk:n clinic to treat my underarm hair. I’ve now had my first treatment so here’s a run through of my experience:
I initially had a patch test to ensure that my skin would react well to the laser and thankfully there were no problems so I was OK to go ahead with the course. I’ll be having six treatments in total, spaced out over six weekly intervals.
My practitioner (Dawn) explained what I should expect from the first treatment onwards; my hair will continue to grow, but should start falling out 10-14 days after the first treatment. The purpose of the laser is to kill off the blood supply to each individual hair follicle, so whilst there’s a chance all hair follicles could die-off during the first treatment, chances are there’ll be a few that’ll still be ‘alive’ which is why we continue to laser them during follow up appointments. However, the hair that does grow back will be finer and much less dense.
|The laser machine.|
I apparently have the perfect underarms for laser hair removal as I’m very fair, but the hair is very dark, which will mean that the laser won’t struggle to find the hair follicle. Lasers work by seeking out colour which is why, up until recently, it was virtually impossible for darker skins to respond well to laser treatment as it was too difficult for the laser to establish the difference between the hair and the skin. This is thankfully no longer the case as there are now two different types of laser available at Sk:n, both of which are equally good at removing hair, but which one you are treated with will depend on your colourings.
I was told to shave 24 hours before my treatment so the laser would stand a better chance of getting inside the hair follicle rather than hitting the hair on the surface. I laid on the couch and positioned my arm above my head and Dawn applied Aloe Vera Gel to my underarm. This is both to sooth the area and to allow the laser to glide across the skin. As I mentioned previously, I’d had a patch test so I had a a rough idea of what to expect. The laser itself is quite an unpleasant feeling; it feels a little like being poked repeatedly by a blunt needle, but it’s completely tolerable and very quick, I was actually very surprised by how quick the whole experience was and I’d say each underarm took less than two minutes.
You do actually feel the follicle pop which is quite a strange experience but that itself doesn’t hurt. You’re then greeted with the charming scent of burnt hair, which in any other scenario would be quite unpleasant, but in this one it’s another sign that the laser is working so it’s an oddly appealing addition to the experience!
|The laser itself.|
After Dawn had finished lasering, she wiped away the remaining gel (and a few hairs came along with it), sprayed the area with mineral water and applied the gel again. I was advised to make sure I applied plenty of Aloe Vera gel throughout the evening and to apply an SPF if I was going out in the sun. This might seem a bit strange to you (it did to me!) considering nobody really goes out into the sun with the intention of sunning their armpits, but it’s important that you don’t risk exposing the area to any sun at all, so this is why the SPF is important; you’re erring on the side of caution.
I had this treatment six days ago and there’s absolutely no negatives to report; my underarms didn’t feel uncomfortable afterwards, they didn’t swell or feel tender and there was no rash or reaction of any kind. I’ve just thoroughly inspected my underarms (as you do…) and the regrowth is definitely much, much finer. There’s a small, central patch of hair growing back (although much more slowly than it usually does) on the left underarm and on the right there’s a bit more regrowth but it’s a lot more sparse and spaced out. I could still comfortably get away with not shaving at all for a few days, but considering I’m not at at the 10-14 day point where the hairs should start falling out, I plan to leave it and see what happens as I don’t think any kind of hair removal is necessary at this point. It’s worth mentioning that I’m very funny about having any kind of underarm hair on show, so to not feel the need to pursue it’s removal at this point is quite something.
So far I’m really happy with the treatment and I’m excited to see how it pans out long-term. There are no real negatives to report, the pain is completely tolerable and very quick, the aftercare is virtually non-existent and the reduced hair growth is really obvious already. I’ll definitely update as I go along and let you know the outcome.
I’m having my treatment at the East Finchley branch of Sk:n (T) but you can find your local branch at the Sk:n clinic locator here.