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I'm Chargin' Mah Laser

Guest i is Sam :-)

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Guest i is Sam :-)

Ok so I'm just back from my first laser session, so I thought I'd tell you all about it in case it can be of some use to you ladies out there that haven't started yet.

Firstly, it's not technically laser, at least not yet, this is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) this is essentially a very powerful flash gun, like you'd have on your camera, only brighter. It's not quite as powerful as laser but the benefit is that you can treat a much larger area with it, the largest block, which is what she used on about 95% of my face was about 8mm by 30mm, i think, i'll have to remember to pay more attention next time. If you're trying to work out roughly how many zaps it will take to do your hair, you need to add in that they overlap it slightly each shot.

The place I'm using do also have a laser, so once I've had a few sessions, if there are any really stubborn hairs, they can kill them with the laser with pinpoint accuracy.

I had a patch test last week which cost £25 ($40) in order to make sure I wouldn't react badly and to find the correct power setting to use, she was looking for a crackling sound and the smell of buring hair, and then she asked me if it felt ok or was too painful, this first setting she tried was perfect. I was fine with it I wasn't even really saw afterwards and I didn't even go pink. I thought it would give me an idea of how much it hurt, which is sort of did, but it hurts different amounts in different places so if you want to know how much it will hurt at most, then get the patch test done on your chin, or pretty much where the thickest, most dense hair is.

Before she did the patch test we went through a fairly long questionaire, she wanted to know what I wanted treated and what I was expecting as an end result, she informed me that it might not be permanent, and i might need 1 or 2 sessions a year to maintain it once i'm done.

We went through a pretty standard medical questionaire, she wanted to know the name and address of my doctor, which worried me a little, but I assume it's really just for insurance purposes, I doubt she would be contacted unless something happened. I didn't disclose that I was trans, I'll have to at some point because it will become obvious, but since it's the only place in town I didn't want to risk it. This also meant I had to lie about medication, but spiro isn't relevant, estradiol when I start it might alter my blood pressure slightly but if it did I could just disclose the effect.

Then she asked me how I react to sunlight, do I burn or tan etc. asked me if I use a sunbed or fake tans of any sort, and asked if i use any products on my face. right now I just shave and then moisturise and that was totally fine. but basically you mustn't do anything to darken your skin. and I suspect should come in for laser without foundation / makeup on. If you're having laser during the summer you need to wear factor 30 or above sun block on your face, pretty much all the time, especially right after because your skin will burn more easily.

I have quite a few moles on my face, but it wasn't a problem she was able to work around the darker / bigger ones, with good accuracy. it will likely leave me needing a couple of hours of electro to get the hairs that have been missed, but if you think you're too moley it's still worth checking.

On to today and the actual first session, I had a close shave with my electric razor and moisturised as normal before I came in, which is what had been recommended. I was careful not to irritate my skin too much when shaving, I was worrie that if I made it go pink the contrast wouldn't be as good. She'd quoted me £120 per session (about $195) and said i'd probably need about 8 sessions (but possibly as many as 12). When I saw her today I asked if she could do the 10 or so hairs on the bridge of my nose, between my eyebrows (monobrow lol) which she did for an extra £10 i'm not sure how many times she'll have to rezap it, probably only a couple.

I'd checked out a couple of websites of other clinics in london and had seen one basic price, of £100 per session but requiring you to pay for a block of 6 sessions in advance to get that price. They seemed to claim that it would only take 6 sessions, whether they have a more powerful machine, or different criteria for success, or are simply less honest on their quote I don't know. Obviously if they had, had a machine that could somehow do it quicker, I'd've chosen that, but I didn't have £600 to lay out in advance plus then there was the cost of travelling to london and back taking 2 hours each time.

I lied down on the table and he put a pair of special goggles on me, i think they're ceramic or very solic plastic, you can't see through them at all, they fit very snugly over your eyeballs, it's a bit uncomfortable, but you soon forget about that. She started by marking around my face the borders of where to treat in yellow highlighter. then she covered almost one half of my face right around my jawline and top of my neck and up to my chin with cool gel. This stuff really is surprisingly cold considering they don't keep it in the fridge or anything.

She powered up the machine and turned on the cold air, then blasted the first small bit to be done with the air for about 10 seconds and proceeded to zap me. most places she did in sets of 3, so air then zap, zap, zap, then air etc. I found it helpful to hold my breath just before she zapped.

The air comes out of the machine quite quickly and at times when it was blowing over the front of my face I found it really difficult to breath, she had to give me a minute a couple of times to catch my breath. This was probably the most distressing part of the experience. When she did under my nose she turned the air flow down but I still had to try and gulp breaths through my mouth when she was blasting me.

Once she'd done down one side of my face, emoved the gel and then applied more on the other side and did that in the same manner, I didn't change position at all, and the room was laid out in such a way that she couldn't get around the other side of me, so I just had to turn my head. Which combined with the cold air gave me a bit of a crick in my neck.

then she did my chin, and right up under my lip, with it overlapping ever so slightly onto my lip, I kinda paniced because I thought it would really hurt, but where there isn't any hair it just feels a bit warm, so it didn't hurt my lip at all.

after that, she did under my nose, again applying the gel first, it went on quite thick so I kinda felt like I was going to inhale it if I breathed too much, but I didn't. She switched to a smaller, square shaped block for this, and did the left then the right then the middle, again right up almost into my nostrils it seemed.

Then finally it was just 3 more zaps to do my brow.

Total time from when I got up on the table about 25 - 30 minutes.

Right so how much did it hurt?

I'm not gonna lie to you, it hurts, it doesn't tickle or just feel warm, it's exceedingly unpleasent, even for someone who's a bit of a masochist, this is certainly not something I would do for fun. It's certainly not the worst pain you've ever felt, it wasn't as painful as the epilator is on some parts of my body.

If you want to know how it feels, go to a cheap junk store and get one of those electric flyswatters made in china. then zap yourself with it, (the newer ones have a safty grid on them to try and stop you accidentally hitting yourself but I bet you can still do it with a good thwack) that's about 400 volts btw. and if feels pretty much like that, except that there's a zap for each hair, and they don't tend to all be at exactly the same time, so it's sort of a slow crackle of 4 or 5 zaps. It doesn't hurt as much as you think, if you can get over the shock of it. She decribed it as being flicked with an elastic band, which is also pretty accurate, but it's not like snapping one on your wrist, it's more like putting it against your face and letting it go from a good stretch.

smarts would be the word.

Some places hurt quite a bit more than others, the worst places for me, were all along my jaw line, and my chin. these are against bone which seems to hurt a bit more. Also when it was right over my throat I choked a little, like it made me tighten the muscles there for a moment.

It hurts the most where the hair is thick and or dense. Other people had said that it really hurt on your top lip but that was totally fine for me, a lot less painful than my jaw line, but it did make my eyes water. Also my brow I barely felt at all, it certainly didn't hurt.

I was worried that I might get exhausted of the pain towards the end of the session and struggle with it more, but this wasn't really the case, I was glad when it was nearly over, but again the most difficult thing for me was struggling to breath.

It was certainly bearable, especially considering the fact that we ladies don't really have a choice. And the girl was very cute, which made it easier, I guess I'm still thinking like a guy in some ways, I was eager to show her how tough I could be, and was trying my best not to flinch. Something I rather dramatically failed at when I was gasping for air lol.

She told me that the hair would drop out in about 2 weeks, which I questioned because your hair only extends about a centimetre below the skin, and I grow that much on my face in around 5 to 6 days. She said it might be quicker for me and if it is I can probably have the next session sooner. We booked the next session for in 4 weeks time, but with the option for me to move it earlier or later depending on my regrowth. When the hair does drop out I should get a day or two of not much and very light facial hair. so passing as a girl on those days might well be possible.

Then came the most painful part, the bill, £130 instantly debited from my account. All these painful things, having to say no to cake, chocolate etc, I just keep telling myself "I'm gonna look gorgeous in a bikini"

I wasn't sore immediately afterwards, but by the time I got on the bus 10 minutes later it was starting to feel sore but it only lasted a couple of hours, now it feels fine. It's still a little sore if I rub it, if it's the same still in the morning I probably won't want to shave, so you might want to consider that if you're already presenting female.

I had taken a reasonably strong pain killer about half enough before the session (30mg codeine) but I don't think it really made any difference, I doubt I'll bother next time.

Apparently it will be less painful less time before the hair will be thinner and less dense and it will continue to get less painful, until it get too thin and becomes lighter and then she'll have to crank the power up. But it shouldn't ever again be as painful as the first session.

And again my skin didn't really go pink, and it looks totally fine now, so I didn't look crazy walking around town.

The aftercare instructions to soothe it with Aloe Vera or Witch Hazel, if needed. and to avoid swimming, sunbed, saunas, heat treatments (so basically nothing really hot) for 24 hours, hot baths or showers for 12 hours but she said a warm bath was fine.

Don't wax, pluck or use hair removal creams. And to apply sunscreen for at least a month afterwards to protect the skin (not applicable during a british winter)

So that's just about everything. I have some before pictures for you, taken pretty much straight after a shave (I can get a little closer with a wet razor but it involves a lot of bleeding), so you can probably see why I haven't been able to cover it with makeup. I'll post progress pictures as I go.




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Guest Donna Jean

Wow, Sam............

That's really a blow by blow description of a session...way to go!

Sounds as though you had a video cam running...lol

Well, I'm glad that you got through it alright....Laser/electrolysis...can be painfull (Oh, the things we do for beauty)...

And it does nip your checkbook right NOW!..doesn't it?

I certainly hope that it's not too uncomfortable for you, Hon......

You're doing just great...keep us up to date...Oh, and let us know how it is one or two days after treatment, too.....OK?



Donna Jean

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Guest i is Sam :-)

ugh those pics are just horrible, who is that fat bloke?? well he'll be dead in a few months :)

Money wise, I can afford it, if I'm careful, I'd love to be able to pay for speach therapy, but I can't right now, and I doubt I'll be contributing much towards my saving for SRS fund. And of course, it means I don't get to buy all the pretty things I want.

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  • Admin

Excellent post, Sam. Yeah, your experience is very much in line with mine, with very few differences.

They had a hand-held cold air nozzle I could hold to direct the air where I needed it the most.

The time needed was about the same, 25 minutes or so for the whole face. My upper lip and the corners

of my mouth were also the most painful.

One thing you haven't experienced yet, and probably will tomorrow, is the pimples and red splotches

on your face tomorrow morning. It was so bad I put foundation on to cover it up. The nurse warned

me and said it would pass in a few days, but it makes shaving a real "adventure."

Talk about feeling like a kid again. <_<

Carolyn Marie

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Guest i is Sam :-)

Little update for y'all.

I had no redness or soreness the next day, I wasn't even pink. I waited till that afternoon to shave, but only really cos I was having a lazy day. There was do problem, I perhaps didn't shave quite as close as I normally would, to avoid irritation.

I haven't had spots, or blotches have experienced no side effects at all. I haven't noticed it starting to fall out yet really, tho I think it'll be the next couple of days. Today I had the closest shave I've ever had, I didn't do anything special but for some reason it seemed smoother or cut better or perhaps it just isn't as dense. Either way it was nice, with a little foundation the shadow was almost invisible. 12 hours later i'm still very smooth so I think growth might've slowed a little.

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