Does anyone have experience with laser removal?
April 18, 2010 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience with laser removal?

Specifically, I’m considering a Brazilian bikini procedure. The idea of pointing a laser down there isn’t exactly appealing, but I’m sick of the ingrown hairs that come with waxing.

Also, specific recommendations of places in the Boston area would be appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've been getting laser treatments for facial hair and so far so good. I've had 5 treatments out of a course of 7 and it's definitely had a big impact on the target population, so to speak--the dark hairs that have contrast against my fair skin. I've also had electrolysis for finer/pale hairs that won't be affected by the laser and I'm happy with how they've been beaten back too.

Obviously this isn't the long-term perspective--no idea how I'll feel a year from now--but I'm glad to just not have to worry about it anymore, at least for a while...

I've been going to Sherry Broumand at Elite Skin Therapy in Newton Center, one block from the NC stop on the Green D line. She's terrific and I recommend her without reservation.
posted by Sublimity at 4:16 PM on April 18, 2010

A friend of mine had her underarms, bikini area, and legs lasered and she thinks it's the best investment she ever made. She finished treatments about a year and half ago and she said she hasn't seen one hair crop up since. She's Japanese, so she has--had--very dark hair.
posted by HotPatatta at 4:38 PM on April 18, 2010

I've answered this before but word on the street is that is grows back post-pregnancy.
posted by k8t at 4:42 PM on April 18, 2010

If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) most of the hair will grow back.
posted by pluckysparrow at 4:52 PM on April 18, 2010

I had it done about 10 years ago, on my bikini area (not Brazilian, though) and underarms, since I used to scuba dive a lot.

I am very white with relatively fine, brown hair. I've had about 4 or 5 hairs show up in my armpits and 2 or 3 in the bikini area. It's so few, that to me, it's a non-issue. Every 4 or 5 months, I'll do quick swipe with the razor while I'm shaving my legs, but could probably just leave them be. I've never been pregnant or had PCOS , so I can't speak to that.

The lasering process was fine - didn't hurt that much during (like a rubber band snap, is how I've heard it described, and I'd say that's accurate). Felt like a mild sunburn for the rest of the day. I had some temporary darkening of the skin (like a blotchy tan, most noticeable in bikini area), but it went away. I had maybe 6 or 7 treatments total, but it was quite effective right away.

I am very pleased with the outcome and would recommend it whole-heartedly. No razor bumps, razor burn any more.
posted by j at 5:41 PM on April 18, 2010

I wrote an AskMe a while back about survival tips for dealing with the excruciating pain of laser hair removal. The one constant I got from that whole experience (and responses here) is that every human deals with and perceives pain differently. I wish to God that it felt like a rubber band. YMMV and I wish you the best of luck with that!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:51 PM on April 18, 2010

I had it done on my bikini area and underarms a couple years ago. Definitely worth it. I didn't have Brazillian - yipes! - just enough so that I don't really have to do think before I put on a swimsuit. I'd say it's about 90% effective. Hurt more on my underarms than bikini area. I didn't have all of the necessary treatments on my underarms (blame Hurricane Katrina) but even with the ones that I did have, I only have to shave half as often and my razor burn is so much better.

I recommend getting some lidocaine cream and putting in on the area about an hour beforehand. LMX-4 is available OTC, but you usually have to ask the pharmacist for it.
posted by radioamy at 5:55 PM on April 18, 2010

I had laser treatment on the same area you are considering about 4 years ago. I had about 6 treatments done over the course of a summer. The discomfort was managable with some lidocaine cream applied about an hour beforehand.
I was very pleased with the result. Some regrowth over the past 4 years (maybe 5 % at most) but I had planned to have one last session, maybe this winter. It was definately worth every penny in my opinion.
posted by Rapunzel1111 at 6:10 PM on April 18, 2010

I have PCOS and had laser hair removal on my chin, upper lip, and neck several years ago and none of it has grown back, but even if it did, it was so worth it I'd just have it done again.

I've been thinking about getting my bikini area done too. The pain was not a factor for me on my face. This may sound weird, but knowing that every zap was destroying a hair I hated made the pain kind of satisfying. Maybe I've got a masochistic streak I didn't know about, though, who knows... Regardless, it didn't bother me.

If you do think you'll have a problem with the pain, you can get a prescription for a lidocaine numbing cream (most places that do lasering that is supervised by a doctor will offer) that takes the edge off. You just apply it 30 minutes or so before your appointment. As I said, though, the pain didn't bother me at all so that wasn't something I needed.
posted by cecic at 6:27 PM on April 18, 2010

Laser hair removal is the best thing I've ever done for myself.

I have had it all over my body. I have also been pregnant in the midst of my treatments. My experience was that only the hair on my chin really "came back." Everywhere else stayed hair-free. And now that I'm post-partum, the chin hair has receeded.

My sister has PCOS and has also had excellent results with the same all-over removal.

When selecting a laser shop, I think it's important to choose one with some type of medical supervision. The one I went to was supervised by a physician who was there on-site every time I had an appointment. I was serviced by RNs, PAs and laser techs. Side effects included slight swelling and redness, but always went away by the next morning. This could have been more pronounced in me because my skin is very fair, like see-through white.

My pain was managed best by a combination of ibuprofen and tramadol. It wasn't bad until the 4th session on (out of 8).

There are several different types of lasers with different purposes. If the shop you go to has a "one size fits all" approach, turn around and leave. The laser they will use on you will depend on the hair color, your skin color and the type of results that you want.
posted by FergieBelle at 6:12 AM on April 19, 2010

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