Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2

Saturday was my second laser hair removal treatment, and I won't lie, I was worried.

Since my first treatment four weeks ago, I'd discovered that there's really no such thing as permanent hair removal - it's more permanent hair reduction. I started questioning whether it'd be worth finishing, considering the cost and pain involved. On that point, I figured less is still more; I've destroyed too many pillowcases with this beard and it causes me too many skin issues, so any reduction is worth it.

Also, there was the issue of pain. I'd had half of my neck done with a MeDioStar laser and it was literally the worst pain of my life. The rest of my neck and face were done with a Dermo Flash IPL, which is far less painful... but also less effective. It took about three weeks to see the difference, but it was clear - the MeDioStar definitely cleared the hair better than the Dermo Flash. The Dermo Flash areas were slightly reduced in overall hair quantity, so I can't say it didn't work at all, but the MeDioStar area actually had some totally hair-free spots. There's a visible difference.  Jessica, the technician, was right when she told me that during my first treatment.

That difference caused me to panic. What if the only option I had was MeDioStar? Could I handle it? Admittedly, I was sort of locked in regardless - I'd started and need to finish.  I can't go through life with this half-a-neck-full-of-hair thing I've got right now.

The thought of several more MeDioStar experiences and that panic made me lose sleep. For about a week, I stressed about it hard. I went through the various stages of grief, pulling in to Acceptance on Friday.

Saturday was the treatment so I popped a Vicodin I found in the back of a drawer and headed in.

When I got there, I went into the treatment room and steeled myself for the worst.  Jessica surprised the crap out of me when I got there, though: since I'd been there, they'd bought a new laser!  This one was an IPL (intense pulsed light, not actually a real laser) like the Dermo Flash, but they've had much more success with coarse hair like mine using this one and - get this - it's less painful than Dermo Flash.  Less painful?  And effective?  Hell yeah.  I actually heard Handel's Messiah playing and saw light streaming down from the heavens.

The name of this new device is the Aesthera Isolaz.  Their web site books it as "painless" and, while it's not painless, it's certainly far less painful than anything else they've tried.  It looks sort of like a big canister vacuum with an LCD screen poking off the top of it.  The technician dabs some water on your skin, then takes the hose on the Isolaz and puts it on the area you're getting the hair removed from.  The hose sucks part of your skin up into it and then there are two bright light flashes - the first one is just sort of warm, the second feels like a tiny rubber band snap (about half as much snap as Dermo Flash).  The suction lets go and they move on to the next section.  So it sort of is like a canister vacuum - it has the suction and everything.  (I guess they treat acne with it, too, and the suction turns up so powerful it sucks the goop out of zits.  That's some pretty powerful suction!)

When you're done, it feels a bit like a sunburn for a few hours, but even toward that evening the redness was going away and the sunburn feeling was dwindling.  By the next morning, it was all better.

It'll take a couple of weeks before I can vouch for the effectiveness of it, but Jessica told me they had pretty good luck with it, and that builds my hope.  I don't think I'll be totally done in just six treatments the way we originally thought, but that's okay; if it's working and it happens to take a couple of extra treatments, I'm cool with that.

posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 8:26 AM | Filed Under [ General Ramblings ]


Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by me at 10/3/2007 4:12 AM
ISOLAZ is considered an IPL.
IPL = Intense Pulse Light.
"This device is actually a flashlamp and not a true laser
for hair removal."
IPL machines are considered nothing more than laser waxing, meaning, you will not be
removing hair permanently.

Be cautious of hair removal systems that use traditional
light for treatment (Intense Pulse Light machines or IPLs).

Most light-based applications are not true lasers. These machines use a highly concentrated beam of traditional incoherent light, often in conjunction with a cream or gel, to burn the hair shaft. A serious flaw with these systems is
that they lack the laser's ability to produce a selective bandwidth of light that will only affect the hair shaft (selective photothermolysis). These devices produce a wide bandwidth of light that can heat up all of the surrounding tissue, making it less effective in killing hair and putting the patient at a higher risk for burns, especially on darker skin.

IPLs are generally cheaper than true laser devices and are used for various skin procedures first and foremost, with hair removal as an add-on feature. As a rule, true hair removal lasers (i.e. alexandrite, diode, and ND:Yag types) usually achieve better and faster hair removal results.
Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by Travis Illig at 10/3/2007 5:19 AM
I'm not sure if that's comment spam from a laser hair removal company or if it's legitimate information; it looks pretty copy/paste to me.

I won't disagree that the IPL is a different and potentially less effective treatment, but from an effective/pain tradeoff standpoint, I'm still a big fan of the IPL.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the previous comment; it's for you and your treatment facility to decide.
Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by unsatisfied at 10/26/2007 6:53 PM
IPL hair removal is absolute crap.. i got more hair on my face that i had before i got about 10 treatments and they kept saying it'll work better get more treatments done.. and i got bad acne which im still suffering from.. my face has become an absolute mess... it doesnt work!
Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by Travis Illig at 10/26/2007 9:22 PM
Again, I'm not sure if this is spam from a laser hair removal company or not and I'm tempted to remove it, particularly due to the anonymous nature of it.

As I said before, though, it's up to you and your treatment facility to decide. IPL treatment is working acceptably for me.
Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by hairy at 11/10/2007 1:37 AM
holy crap. I went to an MD finally, for the third treatment on my chin...I had two previous treatments that were painless (nearly) and pretty effective (Alexandrite). this MD says, I'll just turn this up all the way...and the laser machine's hum pitch responds by becoming higher. It was unbelievable. OH MY GOD> IT was the WORST PAIN EVER...and now I have a blister (DIME SIZED) under the surface of my chin that is probably going to get worse before it gets better. I am so pissed. Doctors are such asses sometimes.
Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by CONCERNED at 2/23/2008 9:38 AM
Well I have had a year's course of IPL lazor hair removal, you know about fifteen treatments on the highest settings and not one hair has been removed. It is a big con!
Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by be cautious at 9/4/2008 10:44 AM
i have had laser hair removal for 2 years now and i still have hair gorowing! im havinf sides of my face done but not im geting more hair than i use to. The professional clinic that i went to and paid LOADS for each session £70 BURNT my skin and caused blisters and acne and they had the cheek to say that im stressed and thats why ive got acne and they even suggested i try out their acne range! They have also cause my skin to turn white in some patches so i look a mess!! They were so unprofessional and those 2 yrs i have become so depressed and secluded myself becvause of facial hair and now also acne scars and burns! I paid a lot of money because i thought being professional they would be trained but they didnt seem to know how to treat my skin and i used 2 come from each session with red skin and blisters!
Gravatar # re: Laser Hair Removal: Treatment 2
by Travis Illig at 1/21/2009 8:12 AM
For reference, I'm on treatment 18 or so now (I have a lot of hair on my face). I had IPL treatments for the first six and they worked reasonably well. I'm now getting actual laser treatments and, while it hurts, it's not nearly as bad as when I started. The IPL treatments thinned things down enough that the laser was bearable.
Comments have been closed on this topic.