After reading about it thoroughly, debating all the pro's and con's of laser vs. electrolysis, I have finally begun facial laser hair removal. I made my decision based on the fact that most of my facial hair is still very dark without much gray. I figure I will start there and see how it goes, then do clean up work with electrolysis afterwards.
I made the decision to have my treatments done at a local physician's office who has started doing laser. I am in the healthcare field so I know about all the pros and cons of a physicians office who is using laser as an income supplement vs. other laser only places, and still felt comfortable going this route. I am paying $400 for six full face and beard clearing sessions. The office uses a Candela laser.
Going to my first session two weeks ago, I didn't know what to expect. I shaved close as I could at 7:00 a.m, but my session wasn't until 11:00. Mistake, I should have shaved immediately before going to the appointment, as my beard was fast growing and I usually had a decent 5:00 shadow every day. So if you are going for your first one, you may want to take note.
She told me what to expect, I put on the metal goggles so I wouldn't risk eye damage from wayward laser rays, and off we went. She told me she would be starting on my right side burn area, and working down and over, with small areas (perhaps 20mm wide?) areas at a time. At the first "zap", WOW, HOLY COW. That hurt! It was like getting an electrical shock on face. I should say that she set the laser to 22 for the first few, then adjusted to 20. But either way, I was not prepared for how much each zap hurt. I understand that can be a good thing because it means it is working, but again, each zap hurt! After each zap there was a few seconds of discomfort after, but then the pain subsided. But then I was zapped again. And this went on for about probably 50-60 zaps to do my entire face. After she would do maybe 10 in a row, the laser would need a resting period, so she paused and I could recover from the pain a little. The waft of burning hair was a little unpleasant, but not overwhelming. It was the pain I wasn't prepared for. And I usually have a decent pain threshold.
All told it took about 30-40 minutes with the breaks included to do my face and beard. Afterwards she applied an aloe gel with a little lidocaine and I was pain free from then on.
What I didn't really know was what to expect after, and which is one of the reasons I am writing this blog, so others may know. Nothing bad, I just had no idea.
I stayed out of the sun and went camping and hiking that afternoon with my kids. My face felt different, but it is hard to explain. It felt rougher. The hair seemed to still be growing the first few days after, and it was difficult to get a close shave because it felt like there was still a lot of stubble after shaving. The face felt a rough too. My neck looked a little splotchy the first few days. The first 4-5 days or so I continued to shave every morning, and I honestly wondered if the laser had worked. Then about day 6, my face felt felt different. The expulsion of the hair had apparently begun to wind down, which is what I presume was taking place the first 5 days. The body still pushes out the hair follicles. Around day 6-7 I noticed that my "growth" was slowing down". Days 8 and 9 I noticed my skin softening. Days 10-11 I noticed that I could go almost all day without noticing any "growth" in my beard and my skin was softening even more.
I am now on day 12 after the first session. I shaved this morning and hardly had anything to shave at all. My skin is softer than it has ever been on my face. It is a wonderful feeling. I will probably be able to go two days without shaving now, and probably longer,which is amazing considering I couldn't go one day without a serious 5:00 shadow before. I love the feeling of my soft face, it is so wonderful.
I will update on how things go down the road, as I have my second appointment in a few weeks (5 weeks in between). But I hope this may help those that wonder what it feels like during the session and what I experienced in the first two weeks after. Despite the pain (let me say it again, it hurts!), it feels wonderful.