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Laser Work Completed


Laser Type: Lightsheer Diode, 890 nm pulsed light
Skin Type: Fitzpatrick II/III
Facial Hair Type: Dark Brown/Black

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Date: May 21st, 2004
Treatment: 3rd Facial Clearing
Area Treated: Entire face and neck
Energy Used: 27 Joules
Cost: $120.00 (U.S. Funds)
Skin Reaction: Redness disappeared in 24-36 hours, mild swelling remained for 4 days
Comments: As much as I look forward to getting laser done I also dread it. Let's be honest, it's not the most comfortable thing to sit through. So before T* and I got the clinic I took some ibuprofen again (@ 800 mg). Again, my tech was surprised at how clean I was looking already and commented on how I had basically no shadow left at all. She had the laser set at 27 joules and we started with the upper lip this time. That got my eyes watering in a hurry. I had had some mild regrowth on my upper lip and on my chin (follicles were by far the densest there when I started) and I could definitely feel it with each zap. Luckily it's not a very big area. After the lip and chin the rest was much more tolerable although a few spots on the neck in the midline and along the edge of the jaw had me cringing. Overall though, not too bad and better than my second clearing.

When I was done, my face felt a lot hotter than the first two times I'd been treated but there wasn't any extra pain. That's one good thing about laser, the pain is gone as soon as you finish, no long term burning (though the area treated is very mildly sore the next day if you apply pressure to it). T* commented that my face was a lot redder this time than last and we were on our way. My face was pretty clean and the redness was gone by the next day, but I had some mild swelling that stayed with me for a few days. Nothing that was super noticeable to other people, but I knew it was there. Mostly under the chin and around the upper lip. It was gone in about 4 days. I'm assuming it had to do with the higher laser setting used. I'll try to ask my tech about it next time I'm there. So overall it was another good experience. I'm expecting to lose the follicles that are left in the next weekish and then I should have a super smooth face. Hopefully with minimal regrowth this time.

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Date: April 2nd, 2004
Treatment: 2nd Facial Clearing
Area Treated: Entire face and neck
Energy Used: 25 Joules (23 on the upper lip)
Cost: $120.00 (U.S. Funds)
Skin Reaction: Redness disappeared in 24-36 hours
Comments: The laser tech asked me how things went after the first treatment and was surprised at how good my results were already. She told me again that I'm a perfect candidate for laser treatment (sweet) and said we should reevaluate things after my third treatment considering my results so far. So I put on the goggles and laid back on the table for another 20-30 minutes of laser work. Things were supposed to hurt less this time right? Not quite. We upped the joules to 23 for the upper lip and 25 for the rest of the face and things were cooking right away. There were a number of spots where the laser did it's job last time and so the pain was almost non-existant in those places, but the areas where follicles were still growing were that much more painful. Ouchies. I'd say overall the pain was about the same as my initial treatment. I tried to console myself with the no pain no gain mantra and did a lot of fist clenching (I think I still have the fingernail marks). I made it through though and am now one step closer to going fulltime. Work went pretty quick even with the pain and before I knew it we were done.

Immediately afterwards I was really red in the face (more so than the first time I had laser work) but it dissipated pretty quickly. It was noticeably less by the time we got back to the border (and crossed with no fuss, thankfully), and now around 24 hours later it's almost completely gone. One more thing out of the way :-)

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Date: February 27th, 2004
Treatment: 1st Facial Clearing
Area Treated: Entire face and neck
Energy Used: 23 Joules (21 on the upper lip)
Cost: $120.00 (U.S. Funds)
Skin Reaction: Redness disappeared in about 48 hours
Comments: Had a nice relaxing drive up to Canada with T*, but I couldn't help getting a little nervous about 15 minutes out from the clinic. Not about what I was about to do (facial hair sux), but I was a little worried about the effects and outcome and just a tiny bit about how painful it might be. It would be bad to have to go back to school with a completely fried face on Monday (hence my Friday sessions). I took 800 mg of Ibuprofen in the hour before my treatment but really can't comment on whether it helped with the pain or not as I have no real reference.

It turns out that I was the last patient of the day so the laser tech took me right in when we got there. Filled out some quick paperwork saying I understood the possible risks involved, slipped on some goggles and laid back on the table. The tech set the laser slightly lower than what it was for my test patch (23 joules vs. 25 two weeks ago) and got to work. She started up on the temple near the ear and I remember after the first few pulses thinking that this wasn't going to be too bad at all. LOL. Understand that the pain from the laser is directly proportional to the density of the hair follicles in the area being treated. Plus a few areas (upper lip, chin, jaw line) are a bit more sensitive than others to begin with. By the time she started the third row down my eyes were watering. Some people described laser to me as a hot, burning sensation but for me it was more like being jabbed with needles. Thankfully, the pain disappears almost immediately after the laser pulse, but I could feel my face starting to get a bit raw as she moved along. Between the freezing cold tip of the laser (which was definitely a good thing) and the laser pulses, I kept flinching a little when she put the gun against my face. She must have asked me 8 or 10 times if I wanted her to turn down the setting, but it was more from my nerves than the pain so I told her to burn away ;-)

To be honest, overall the pain wasn't too bad, but it definitely had it's moments. She finished the first half of my face, applied some clear aloe gel and let me sit for a minute which helped a lot. I'd have to say the worst area was the upper lip. That took some teeth clenching to get through, but it was quick. Everything included, the treatment only took about 30 or 40 minutes. When we finished I felt better than I had expected, paid and tipped the laser tech (not sure if a tip is customary but the low cost of the session made it easy to part with) and we were back on our way home. I was a tiny bit swollen but a whole lot less red than I had expected.

All in all, I think the experience was really good and as I type this now (about 36 hours later), my face has healed up very well. The swelling is gone and most of the red marks have disappeared. There are a few spots where I bled a little from hair follicles but everything is starting to clean up nicely. Just in time for school tomorrow morning. As far as how well the laser worked, it's still hard to tell at this point. The killed follicles don't all fall out immediately and not everything that comes out will be permanently destroyed, but I'm optimistic. The test patch looks really good right now so I'm hoping in the next week or so there will be a lot of change. I was told to come back in about 4 weeks or contact them sooner if I have a lot of regrowth. Their guess was that I would need around 4 sessions total which sounds good. Some websites suggest that it may take up to 10 treatments which seems a bit on the high side. We'll see.

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Date: February 13th, 2004
Treatment: Test Patch
Area Treated: @ 1 inch x 1 inch
Energy Used: 25 Joules
Cost: Free
Skin Reaction: Redness disappeared within 24 hours
Comments: So I had my laser consult and Wow! Things went well and I'm excited to get started, assuming the test area I had done has no major reactions (looks pretty normal now, 24 hours later).

The laser clinic I went to was very nice and clean and the equipment was very new. Work is overseen by a doctor but the actual zapping itself is done by a certified laser technician. Credentials were prominently displayed for all employees both in the waiting room and in the laser room. The technician I spoke with was very friendly and didn't try to get me to sign up for treatment right then. Also, I was not required to sign any waivers before getting treatment which put me more at ease. I took a friend with me for support (and to help navigate driving there) and she was allowed to come in and watch (with the necessary safety equipment of course). I ended up having a Fitzpatrick type II/III skin type and my hair is pretty dark so I have a good chance of responding well to laser treatment.

A test patch (@ 1 inch x 1 inch) was done on the side of my neck, more or less under the jaw line where it wouldn't be noticeable. A gel was added for conduction and the laser pulses weren't too bad, sort of like a pin prick. The mild pain disappeared almost immediately after the treatment. The only bad part is the smell of burning hair, but maybe that's also the good part. After the treatment, the technician wiped the gel off and took half the hair with it right away (awesome). She said the rest would fall out in the next 2 to 6 days with continued loss up to 3 weeks. The area she treated was initially fairly red and she gave me some aloe vera to put on it and told me to use sunscreen for a week or two if I was going to be out in the sun. Now, 24 hours later it's almost hard to tell the area where she treated from the rest of my neck. Almost all the redness has dissapated and there is no residual tenderness of any kind.

So it looks like I'm going to get 4 treatments, 4 to 6 weeks apart and see how that works. The only down side is the clinic is an hour and fifteen minute drive to get to, but a friend has offered to come with me each time so I have some company. I'll fill everyone in as things progress.


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