Firstly apologies for the bad Star Trek inspired pun in the title, but you know… Right, with that out of the way, some news. I recently went for my first ever laser hair removal treatment. What follows is a brief description (by popular demand) and some thoughts.
I have been interested in finding a more permanent solution to my hairy orangutan problem. There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, whilst my dysphoria is decidedly limited, where it does manifest is in my body hair. Secondly, removing it is a pain, especially in those harder to reach regions, which inevitably involve asking my long suffering (and obliging) spouse for help. It is a pain for me, I can only imagine how she feels about spending time removing my unsightly body hair. Thirdly it is a pain (literally), whilst epilating has got better it is still uncomfortable and I believe that if I can reduce the volume of hair, it stands to reason I will also remove the amount of pain I experience. Fourthly it takes time. I need to set aside at least 1 hour each week to remove hair and this is often insufficient. Fifthly buying blades, epilators and other paraphernalia is a drain on resources and a chore. Finally it would be nice to be smoother and more feminine in general. Who doesn’t want to be as ‘stunning’ as possible?
I have therefore been looking at various options. I was always concerned about the pain and swelling associated with permanent hair removal, I was always concerned that my hair was too light and of course I was worried about the cost. But In was doing some Google searches whilst board when convalescing recently when I came across The Laser Beautique’s website. I was pleased to see that they offer a ‘pain free’ treatment with the latest technology that also works on almost all skin and hair types and colours. They also had a transparent price list on their site and they are clearly comfortable treating people regardless of sex. This is not always the case, with some salons only willing to treat (genetic) women.
I contacted them through their website and I was quickly called to arrange a free consultation. At the consultation I was treated very professionally at all times. I was never asked why I wanted the treatment, or any other uncomfortable questions. The consultant took a full medical history, explained how laser works and what you need to do to have a successful treatment. She then asked what areas I was interested in having lasered. I replied that I was interested in my legs from the knees up, my buttocks and my torso as these were the most problematic areas for me. She brought in some towels, asked me to remove my clothes and use the towels to cover up and left the room. She returned shortly after I was done and I lay on the treatment table. She inspected my skin and removed a few hairs for closer analysis. She was happy with my skin and the colour of most of my hairs and was only concerned about some of my hairs on my buttocks and upper legs which are blonde (overshare?). These she said may require electrolysis, but she was confident that I would have a good response on the majority of my hair.
She then gave me a complimentary laser treatment on one armpit, so that I could experience the treatment first hand. Also, doing one armpit is a good business practice! I lay on my back with my arm raised. She made sure I was comfortable and then shaved my armpit with a brand new disposable razor. She applied some laser gel to the area and then applied the laser. It was absolutely pain free! I had fully expected their claims to be inflated and that I would experience some discomfort, but I was pleasantly surprised. After a few minutes I did start to feel a little warmth in the area, but when I say a little warmth, I really do mean a little warmth. It was by no means hot. She said I would feel some tingling but I didn’t feel that either (hopefully that doesn’t mean it was a failure). After a while she was done. I found the whole experience quite pleasant. It was relaxing to just lie there with nothing to do. The laser machine was actually quite pleasant as she exerted some pressure which gave me something of a massage whilst it was being done and as always it is nice to be pampered a little. There is something to be said for the touch of another human being.
She left the room and I got dressed. She said that the would prepare a quote and that she would e-mail it to me shortly. I went home. On the way out another consultant saw me in the mall and recognised me. She was friendly and polite and asked me if all had gone well with the treatment. This all made me feel quite good.
I am quite excited about this treatment. Firstly you do not need to stop removing your hair. In fact they want you to be freshly shaved before each treatment so that is good news for me as some treatments (waxing, electrolysis etc) require you to stop all forms of hair removal for a while before the treatment. I find this too onerous. The treatment (at least on the evidence so far) is really very comfortable. I had no pain during the treatment and only a slight tingle in the hours after the treatment. No worse than a very mild case of razor burn. I had no swelling or redness either. I was told that you should avoid the sun in the days before and after each treatment as this stops damage to the skin and improves the efficacy of the treatment, but that this really just means you should not sun tan and/or spend hours outside. Normal day to day exposure is fine, so you don’t need to disrupt your life. The treatments are scheduled every 6 weeks and take about 45 minutes each. So the time commitment is not onerous. It is important that you stick to the 6 week cycle as you need to keep the hair growth cycle in mind and if you deviate the treatment will be less effective. The only change I need to make is that I need to stop epilating the areas I am considering and shave them instead as you need the hair root to actually be present to be lasered and epilating involves removing the whole hair.
True to her word the consultant e-mailed me a quote a few days later. The amount in question is not small. But when I compared the rates to other facilities in my area I realised that Laser Beautique is on average 10 to 20% cheaper than their competitors. They also offer an additional discount if you take a full course of treatments up front rather than paying on an ad hoc basis. Please feel free to contact me if you want some idea regarding costs, if you are interested, and I will discuss with you in private.
In conclusion I was impressed with the facility and the professionalism of the staff. The treatment itself seems to be ‘doable’ in terms of the sensations experienced and the relative lack of disruption. The cost is a factor, but I was happy to see that the rates are very competitive. Of course I will only know just how effective the treatment is after I have done a course of treatments. It is hard to judge on the basis of one armpit being done in one session… I am currently considering whether I will go for the full course or not. If I do, expect more articles on progress.
If anyone is interested, I visited the salon in full male mode and did not raise the issue of being transgender with them. They never asked and it did not seem relevant. I have no idea how they would respond to someone coming en femme.