Laser hair removal – how it REALLY is

Ever walked around during summer with your pretty dress/top on and upon lifting your arms suddenly realize you forgot to shave…or on your way to the beach? (only me? Eish…)

A while back I started on my laser hair removal journey. I have dark hair and decided to have my underarms lasered. It’s just easier and it’s a small area (and generally cheaper) to start with.

Pricing is obviously something to consider when looking around, almost all beauty salons / spas offer laser hair removal now.

I decided on The Laserlab in Stellenbosch, as they were having a great special at that time. You can check out their website here.

Capture3Gina, the owner, is super friendly and a dream to work with! She uses the eLase with Motif, the benefits of which are:

  • Fast, virtually Pain-Free Hair Removal
  • Highly Effective. Safe on All Skin Types. Maximum Treatment Options
  • eLase is the fastest 810nm diode laser platform to deliver safe and effective treatments on the widest variety of skin and hair types.
  • The NEW Motif LHR hair removal modes are both effective and comfortable with increased patient safety and reduced treatment times on All Skin Types.

You might have heard of IPL hair removal and seen that it’s cheaper than “true” laser. So, what’s the difference?

What is the difference between 810nm Diode laser vs IPL Laser Hair Removal?
When you book treatment to have unwanted hair removed, you expect to achieve amazing results and suffer as few side effects as possible. Understanding the technology used for hair removal can be difficult and often misleading, making it hard to know if you’re getting the best value for your money. The most important thing to understand before you book laser hair removal is the difference between IPL laser and diode laser technology.

The Diode Laser Difference
IPL laser (intense pulsed light) is often referred to as laser hair removal but in fact, it is not. A true laser, such as the diode variety, travels along a single, focused wavelength and is able to penetrate the skin deeply to destroy the root of each hair. IPL machines use strong broad spectrum light that does destroy hair roots, however since there are many wavelengths, penetration is not as deep, resulting in uneven results. Also, IPL heats surrounding skin which can lead to greater tissue irritation.

Another major difference between diode laser and IPL laser for hair removal is that laser therapy works on all hair and skin colours while IPL is best-suited to light skin and darker hair. Since IPL lightens the pigment in hair, it can render itself useless over time. Clinical research has proven that diode laser hair removal is more effective and lasts longer than its IPL systems.

If you have any other questions you can have a look at the Q&A page.

So how was the treatment(s)? What happens?
As I did my underarms I had to remove my shirt and lie with my hands behind my head. Special eye protection goggles are used. Gina cleaned the area (which you must shave beforehand!) with a wipe and applied ultrasound gel to the area (this helps with conduction). She moves the laser quickly from side to side and upwards and downwards (criss cross motion) over your skin for a set amount of time (while the machine emits these crazy beeps with each shot). Then onto the other arm. She wipes off the remaining gel. Quick quick and you’re done. Sessions are scheduled 4-6 weeks apart.

Does it hurt?
Probably the thing most people want to know. Yes, it does. But not a lot. Not nearly as much as I thought it would. You can totally handle it, promise. It’s a sensation that’s difficult to explain. As the laser head is sort of pressed into your skin to ensure good contact you feel that pressure. The laser itself causes your skin to heat up, so you feel some heat, maybe even some tingling. Because the laser is moved across your skin so the sensation is dispersed over and area and not intense. It seems that where the hair is darker (more pigment) it “burns” a bit more as the laser targets the pigment in the follicle. The laser machine also has a cooling function, so the tip turns ice cold and cools the skin before the next round of (heat) shots if things get uncomfortable (hope this isn’t tmi, but I also have the nether region lasered and that hurt more than you can imagine. I get tears in my eyes even thinking about it. I thought about doing a post about it, but if you want the details on that send me a message/email and we can discuss more privately).
**please note that everyone experiences this differently. Don’t come yelling at me that I said it wouldn’t hurt that much and then you felt it way more than I did**

Is it worth it?
I barely have any underarm hair left after 6 sessions and those that do come out are thin and light (as I’ve said earlier I have dark hair, so generally more sessions are needed to get a good result). I still have 2 sessions to go. Idiot me didn’t take a before picture. Ffs. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Remember that laser will not be a suitable option for everyone. It’s not effective on grey, red or white hair. Blonde hair may need more sessions than usual.

So it you were ever in two minds about doing it, just do it. It’s an expensive investment, but it’s worth it.

You can contact The Laser Lab on: 072 493 5701 | thelaserlab1@gmail.com | 26 Piet Retief Street, Stellenbosch | Monday to Friday – 8am to 8pm | Saturday – 8am to 1pm.

There is also a branch in Durbanville: 079 461 9103 |Aurora IPIC Shopping Centre (inside Bekker Dental).

Please comment and tell me how you experienced laser hair removal if you’ve had it or if you have any other questions!

*UPDATE: I’ve since had hollywood (nether region…) sessions at a different company that uses the same machine and it was so much better than my previous experience with old technology! Go for it!

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