Is Laser Hair Removal Really Worth It?
In a world dominated by work and social events, finding the time to preen away at womanly irritants such as hairy armpits and legs can be difficult to find. Especially for those who are blessed with the bodily phenomenon of growing unwanted hair more quickly than Stig of the Dump himself. As a self-confessed walking mammoth, I unfortunately have inherited the dreaded hairy gene - with big hairy dark babooska legs and armpits. Despising the every-two-day ritual of shaving, I've searched high and low for a long-term solution to a permanent problem.
This summer, I chose to bite the bullet. I booked in with beauty specialists, Yuu Beauty, to undergo three sessions of laser hair removal on my armpits using the acclaimed Soprano ICE system. The sessions would take place over the course of three months, during which I could expect to see up to 90% of hair loss.
Of course, I'd heard horror stories aplenty about painful and disastrous, not to mention very costly laser hair removal procedures, and being particularly susceptible to severe allergic skin reactions, I was more than a little apprehensive about the procedure itself. Thankfully, salon manager, Leanne Templeton was on hand to reassure me:
"Laser hair removal with the Soprano ICE is totally safe. It's one of the leading devices on the market for hair removal for it's proven safety record! The device is suitable for most skin types, but we'll never ever perform the procedure without doing a patch test on a client beforehand."
How Does It Work?
Laser hair removal may seem like an intensive treatment, but compared to other popular hair removal solutions such as hair removal cream, it can make a welcome alternative for those who want to avoid harsh chemicals.
However, instead of breaking down the hair follicle, like cream removal, laser treatment works with the hair growth cycle. All hair growth is cyclical – that’s why it’s perfectly normal to end up with clogged plugs in the shower – hair is shed to make way for new strands – the same way cells heal across the body after an injury.
The laser, similar to IPL (intense pulse light,) is drawn to the pigmentation within the hair bulb and dries out the blood supply to the follicle itself. As a result, the hair bulb dies out, and hair growth is no more!
Of course, not all hair falls out at once, so multiple sessions of laser hair removal is required in order to capture your hair at the various stages of your personal growth cycle. Depending when the hair is caught in the cycle, the laser may not completely dry out the blood supply to some hair follicles, however, it can significantly weaken the bulb, meaning hair grows back slower and thinner than before.
“More and more people – clients old and new are making the transition quickly to using the Soprano ICE over IPL,” said Leanne, “People often confuse both for the same thing – but laser and IPL do have their differences. IPL works across different wavelengths, whereas laser is just one concentrated beam of light.”
Laser also offers the benefit over IPL of a much quicker test time, “The Soprano ICE can treat any skin type up to a level six – which ranges from very pale to much, much darker. Testing can be done in 15 minutes for skin types 1-3, and then 30 minutes for skin types 4-6. It’s far quicker than the week long wait of patch testing with IPL!”
Leanne elaborated on the further benefits of laser, “With laser, most clients tend to see with six sessions a hair reduction of up to 90%, whereas with IPL, it could be anywhere from six to nine sessions to achieve a 75% to 80% hair reduction.”
Laser Hair Removal - The First Session
True to her word, I arrived to my session at Yuu Beauty in Glasgow early to undergo some skin patch testing. With a history of very sensitive skin, I was already sceptical of whether I'd be a candidate for the treatment, and even more sceptical that the hair removal session would make an ounce of a difference to my armpit shrubbery.
Thankfully, before I began the procedure, I had no active patches of eczema on the area of treatment, meaning that I was able to proceed with the sessions.
I'd been instructed to shave the night before, as unlike other hair removal treatments such as waxing, laser hair removal works by getting closer to the root of the hair.
For the session, I lay down on a treatment bed and was instructed to pop on a pair of laser-protection googles - not so attractive, but a small price to pay for removing the need to shave. After around 15 minutes, I was given the all clear by Leanne for my patch test and was ready for the real deal. Anxious, I watched Leanne dial up the intensity of the laser, I gulped down my nerves and prayed to the great Beauty gods for a hairless miracle.
The procedure was almost akin to having an ultrasound. A gel was applied across my armpits, before the laser gun from the Soprano Ice was directly applied to my skin. Cool to touch from the beginning, the longer Leanne spent zapping my hair, I felt the device get gradually warmer. Prior to beginning the procedure, Leanne had warned of some pain with the process, however, to call the process "painful" would be a disservice - the worst I felt was a little nip here or there - a far cry from a hefty waxing session.
Within 15 minutes, the entire process was over - with not even a tell-tale tingle giveaway that I had undergone the procedure. Leanne took the time to run through the aftercare procedure with me - avoiding baths and swimming for a few days, as well as deodorants and moisturisers. With that, I was back to my office in double quick time.
After being told that the majority of clients don't tend to see the benefits of laser hair removal until session three to four, I was highly sceptical that I would notice any difference. Certainly, for the first week after my treatment, I found my armpit hair grew back in at its usual rate. Following Leanne's guidance, I avoided shaving for the first week.
Finally, after seven days, I gave in and shaved off the bird's nest growing under my armpits, thinking nothing more. However, what occurred over the following week was unbelievable.
For the first few days after shaving, my usual spiky stubble was nowhere to be seen. In fact, I was missing almost all of my armpit hair. Needless to say, I was utterly baffled by the sudden disappearance of hair. It was only after five or so days since my first shave, that I noticed approximately 40% of my armpit hair had returned - albeit considerably fluffier and lighter than I had seen it before.
With three weeks left to go before my next session, this was an incredibly pleasing result - and far superseded my expectations.
Follow Up Sessions
Eleven weeks into the future, the follow-up sessions continued to meet the high standards defined by the very first - that is, speedy, pain-free and very effective.
The successive sessions continued to provide similar results to the first and with each application, hair growth became less and less - to the point where shaving my armpits became a life-changing fortnightly occurrence, as opposed to daily.
Interestingly, as a sufferer of chronic eczema, typically breaking out every few months in a small, inflamed patches across my entire body, the reduced need to shave helped to drastically cut down on irritation, meaning that breakouts around my armpits became entirely non-existent, improving not just my shave-time, but my overall quality of life as well.
Verdict - The Soprano ICE
It's painless. It's quick - and it's effective. By the end of my sessions, the Soprano ICE had successfully morphed my daily shaving routine into a figment of the past - taking my underarm eczema with it.
Our verdict: laser hair removal with the Soprano ICE is incredibly addictive. When wielded by certified professionals such as the team at Yuu Beauty - there's nothing to fear as any adverse risk is completely mitigated prior to the sessions themselves.
In short, it's a total game-changer and well worth the investment.
Can't wait to try it out? Check out the latest deals on the Soprano ICE available at Yuu Beauty now!
Would you try laser hair removal? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!