From Fluff to Buff - The Sequel

When I wrote the last comment on this issue, saying that I would get more info about laser treatment I meant something like: Pulling through with the waxing as planned, going in holidays and when I would be back, then... I might give the clinic which Kelly recommended a call.

Well, once I had uploaded this IL-edition I thought: Stop! What am I doing here? I'm always telling you to take action when you don't like the way things are going and I'm unnecessarily delaying things. Doesn't hurt to contact them!

Thus, true to our motto: Get the bum up and DO something, I actually put my bum down back on my chair and wrote these guys an email asking for a quote for the whole lot: Legs, bikini and under arm. And right after New Year I got a response from Health Counts Skin Laser Clinic.

Ooompf, can we talk about prices a bit later, please?! It is definitely something one has to save up for.

The information sheet that was attached as well confirmed all what I had read from other sources so I was confident enough to give them a call. ... and a minute later or so I had an appointment for consultation and patch test.

So that's how this works:

  • You go there and fill in a usual patient form, from where they assess your health condition - it is going to be an invasive procedure after all. At least they ask you for everything which might cause the laser to have a different effect on the skin. E.g. they asked if I use St. John's Wort. That stuff makes the skin more sensitive to light. Well, laser is very intense light, so they need to know all these things.

  • In the consultation you tell them what you want to have done and they will assess you skin/hair type.

    This is essential in order to find out how well it will be working on you, and thus determining your personal risk. From that the best initial laser setting is derived. The laser is using a physical effect which can easily be explained by the effect the sun has on different surfaces. We know that dark surfaces get searing hot very quickly while white ones stay cool much longer. So the laser will burn everything dark much quicker than everything white. The idea is that the laser light heats up the dark hair much quicker than the surrounding area, leads the energy accumulated right into the root of the hair and kills it off, so that back growth is not possible.

    Now, skin/hair wise there are 4 combinations possible:
    - dark skin , dark hair: Laser goes after both
    - dark sin, blond hair: Laser goes after skin
    - fair skin, blond hair: Laser is basically not working
    - fair skin, dark hair: Laser goes after hair

    Obviously one is not interested in having skin burned. So if the skin is dark, the contrast is not very high for the laser to focus on the hair and thus not the best outcome will be achieved, while blond/white hair doesn't take in the energy and can't be treated.

    It's best if the skin is fair and the hair is dark. And yippie, That's me!
  • Then the patch test. In this clinic the patch test is charged £20 (January 2008) and they tested all the areas I was interested in. The test is to see how the chosen laser setting works and what the effect on the treated skin is.

    I have to say, the atmosphere there was lovely. A lot of giggling and a very sensitive approach to the whole matter. Everything neat and clean and spa like. The girls there are all very sweet.

    Little crayon squares were drawn onto the skin, a picture taken of the area for the records and then the laser came into action... and I was surprised! This thing is blowing cold air what is very nice - and necessary. Areas like the knees feel rather pin-pricklish: However, who had a wax in this area or used an epilator knows what pain is. This was nothing close to it. Well I'm writing this before the real treatment, so I may want to amend that statement at a later stage...

    There is one thing to be aware of: The smell of burnt hair. Not all to bad, but it is there. I felt a little bit like a German Christmas goose. They don't lose their feathers easily and bits and pieces usually get smouldered off before preparing them. A bit of a weird recollection of childhood Christmas days, while lying around being rather exposed.

  • Well that was it really, a bit of Aloe Vera gel and a bit of reddening, however not as bad and itchy as from waxing. Areas where the clothes pinched the skin while driving home got a bit hot, but not unbearable at all.

    Another difference to waxing is that the dead bit of the hair that is stuck in the skin is visible as a little black dot. So it needs a bit longer than a day to look plain. It's funny, actually. If you touch it you expect a stubble, but it is smooth. So as the skin exfoliates those dots come off and the skin looks neat - forever!

  • Several treatments will be needed, though - depending on skin/hair type, hormones and a few other things. At any time we have hair roots which are sleeping. As no hair is there to lead the heat into the root to destroy it, this little bugger will stay alive and wake up after a few weeks and grow a hair - but not for long! It is estimated that with my skin type I will need a minimum of 4 treatments for each area (most websites say 4-6 treatments in average).

So I paid my £20 pounds ... and made an appointment!

Come on, it makes sense!

Following through with the last waxing session would be silly as it is weakening the roots, and for laser you need them to grow strong healthy hair - for one last time!

And I'm not getting younger either. I haven't found greys on my head only, you know? Have a bit of a panic mode setting in...

Well, that's the moment to talk about money. It will be my next birthday, and Christmas, and birthday, and Christmas gift - at least, and a bit more. If I compare it to 6 weekly waxing sessions, then I have to live at least for another 10 years to make that worthwhile.

But imagine! Never, ever again pain, cuts and pinches from shaving/waxing, money to be paid, time to be spent! No itching or ingrown hair, and no more: "steam room , ooompf sorry, hehe, probably next time". Never again: "Sh.. Sun is burning from the sky - no skirt today"


I just HAVE to give it a shot.

So I'm running on countdown now. In order to have the hair at the right length I was told to shave on Sunday, promptly resulting in a couple of cuts... Grrr! And on Wednesday I will face 3 hours of laser treatment.

If I survive you will find an addition after this very sentence otherwise - there might not be a new publication. Well, I will at least ask Detlef to press the button.

17:40PM on Wednesday and I'm still alive and in one piece after two and a half hours of laser bzzz... Two ladies took turns with the laser, and the poor things must have nightmares as it makes a beep with every beam - and that were a lot of beams during this session.

Under arms (axillae) are done in a jiffy, if you wanted to have those done you are out before you really got in. Well I'm not very hairy, but still - it's quick and not very hurtful.

Bikini: Well, the more they get to the middle the more it pricks. Unfortunately the coarsest hair sits where the most nerves are gathering and the skin only just covers the bone. So not really pleasant, but bearable. The laser is moved from spot to spot and they work back and forth towards the areas that hurt most, so that those don't accumulate the pain too much. And by the time you finished thinking about what you are doing there it's already done.

The lower legs are a bit of a different matter. My left one hurts more than the right one and it was rather pin pricklish. Again bearable, however some beams took me by surprise.

The most important bits I found:

It definitely helps to feel comfortable with the team, especially when going for the whole lot. It is quite a bit of intimate time spent together. And the girls from Health Counts Skin Laser Clinic I can really recommend.

To have a positive attitude helps. You should be absolutely sure that this is what you really want. I wanted this to work so much that I actually didn't really bother whether or not it did hurt. I guess the bigger pain will be felt on hubby's credit card.

The pain is only lasting this very brief moment of the beam. It is rather likely that the next beam doesn't hurt and as the laser moves on, the pain is already gone (although this depends on the skin/hair colour and the coarseness of the hair as well). Only if a lot of painful beams come in a row it becomes uncomfy, but the ladies knew exactly how to move the laser to get a good mix of beams.

Astonishingly enough, now after 2 hours or so I don't feel a thing under the arms or around the bikini area (had expected that to be the worst bit), but the lower legs are a bit itchy - a bit like after waxing or like a sunburn that starts peeling. I have a cream that is used for burns which is rather soothing. Aloe Vera gel works fine a s well.

You will not be 'beautiful and smooth' instantly. Every smouldered hair leaves a blotch and a dark spot. After a 5-6 days (so I was told) I can start using exfoliating creams. The old dead hair will start coming out of the skin and everything that helps (shaving, exfoliating, plucking) is ok.

Apparently the under arms and the bikini will have the first sleeping roots to wake up, leg roots seem to sleep a bit longer. So I will have the next session just for those two areas in 4 weeks time and have them checking when the legs will need doing.

Most of the clinics I found do a '6 for 5 treatments' deal, or similar. However, given that I wanted to have everything done in one go this amount of money would have been quite a commitment. Some areas might need less treatments altogether, thus I'm paying as I go along. Although that means gambling it. If it would turn out that need 6 sessions for each area than I will have lost money. But given my skin type I felt that I can risk it. So get all the price options and take them home. Don't take this decision during the consultation. It needs thinking through, and the patch test might give you some hints as well.

Be aware that you should use full sun block in order to stay as pale as possible before and between treatments. It might not be a good idea wanting to start after your summer holidays.

So that is it for now. The itching is easing down as I write, and I feel very confident that I will have a great holiday (in 12 days time) with smooth skin and without having to take heavy shaving gear. I'd rather opt for some fancy shoes to make my luggage heavy.

I will keep you posted and I hopefully I will have pictures when things are finished, as I will get hold of the before and after pictures they are taking.

Talk to you soon!

IL - Articles on:

Fashion ...
Silly-buys make outfit
Fashion - What is it?
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
Whose fault is it?

...& Beauty
Haircolour, Oh my...
My Magic Aloe Vera
From Fluff to Buff
From Fluff to Buff- Sequel
From Fluff to Gorgeous

Other Links
Play Make-Up

Word of Mouth
nyx&HollyBlue - Woodbridge
RD Hair - Woodbridge
La Ola Boutique - Fuerteventura

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Copyright 2007
Author: Rika