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Laser Hair Removal in General

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34 Reviews

What are your experiences of laser hair removal treatments? Was it worth the expense?

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    34 Reviews
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      07.07.2013 12:36

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      Worth the time and money.

      I never fully appreciated how long the treatment period would last for; I recall what Dr Morar told me when I sought his advice on whether laser hair removal is safe and effective for darker skins, he told me yes it's very effective but be aware that it's a really long process! To give you an idea, I started in March 2012 and it's now July 2013 and I'm only now nearing the end.

      The first question most people want to know including me (at the start and even nine treatments later!) is how many treatments are required before you're done? The average number of treatments that someone requires to achieve a satisfactory level of permanent hair reduction is six to eight, however this is just an average and it really does vary amongst individuals. I sometimes read websites where they say that on your initial consultation, the beautician can give you an idea of how many treatments you'll need. The reason I choose Bupa was that the nurse, Helen that I did the first few treatments with was very honest, and told me that she couldn't give me the exact number of treatments I'd require, but based on her years of experience dealing with people of a similar ethnic background/skin tone (because that can vary widely) she approximated I'd need a minimum of eight and perhaps more thereafter. She did say one woman only needed four, but that was very unusual. So, my first piece of advice is to be wary of anyone that tells you to expect to be done after 6 to 8 treatments. If you're lucky enough to have very pale skin, my dark hair and no underlying hormonal issue then it's highly likely you may need fewer than the average number of treatments . There are no guarantees, so the question 'how many treatments' is comparable to asking 'how long do you think your colleague will be on the phone for' or 'how long is a piece of string' - there's no straight answer - got it, good 
      Now, I'll try to answer most of the questions people contemplate before embarking on laser hair removal:

      Background:

      What is laser hair removal in simple terms? In this procedure, laser light is absorbed by melanin in the hair shaft damaging the follicular epithelium (this is the reason why the treatment is most successful for people with dark hair and non-responsive for those with red or white hair; for those with such lighter hair you may notice hair loss but this is most likely to be temporary - this is because these hair colours contain little or no melanin, there is less chromophore for the laser to target, and the response is less). After treatment, you'll notice that re-growing hairs appear thinner and lighter than previously (which is what I noticed after the very first treatment, re-growing hairs were a muted black). There are a number of different laser machines that work for different skin tones, I read that Nd:YAG lasers are best suited to those with darker skin tones, but the Soprano laser can work for all skin tones and is touted to be less uncomfortable than the older lasers where numbing creams are used.

      Hair grows in three cycles, anagen (active growth phase - laser hair removal only affects this stage), catagen (regression phase) and telogen (resting phase). At any one time, only a certain percentage will be in the anagen phase (approximately varies from 10 to 25%), which is the reason why you need multiple treatments over 6 weeks for the first few treatments followed by 8 weeks for those remaining.

      Preparing for Treatment:

      You should not wax or pluck your hair for at least six weeks prior to the laser treatment, this is because the hair shaft is the chromophore and this needs to be present in the hair follicle at the time of treatment. Shaving and depilatory creams are acceptable methods of removing hair whilst undergoing treatment.
      It is important to shave before the treatment as if the external hair shaft is present; the laser will burn it, which will burn your skin. The nurse told me to prepare by either shaving the night before or morning of the day of treatment; if you get a rash after shaving then opt for the night before, but I shave in the morning. Keep the area clean and don't use any creams or lotions, and no deodorant if having your underarms lasered. If you're on any medications/supplements, disclose this prior to starting and don't get a tan (reason: having a tan prior to treatment increases your risk of hyper-pigmentation and scarring). I was on doxycycline for a few weeks over a year ago when I was ill and had problems breathing (turned out to be stress-related and I didn't have to take it), the specialist told me he had no issue with me being on medication whilst having treatment as he saw no contradiction (Dr Mallipeddi is one of the leading laser surgeons in the country), but said that clinics will warn against this as they think there's a theoretical risk, but in reality it's nonsense. The clinic will ask that you wait about 7 to 10 days after stopping antibiotics.

      What to expect:

      You'll need to have an initial consultation which was free for me to discuss expectations and crucially have a test patch on a small area of the skin to be treated, then you must wait a couple of days just to ensure there's no reaction. At the start of each treatment you'll be asked to sign a form consenting to treatment as it's classified as cosmetic.

      I know what you're now really thinking, does it hurt? The first few treatments were uncomfortable, like someone trying to prick me with a pin, but not unbearable (and I have a low pain-threshold, so you'll be fine). My underarms and bottom legs have the coarsest hair which meant it being more uncomfortable but the results have been really good. The first couple of treatments are spaced six weeks apart, then after treatment four and above its eight weeks. After the eighth treatment on my legs, the nurse told me to wait 10 weeks and come and see her without shaving them. The bottom legs she said just need one more treatment, but the thighs have finer hairs and need a few more before I'm finished.

      There is a high risk of eye damage with laser as the retina has a very high concentration of melanin, for this reason both you and the operator must wear goggles. Treatment time varies, I have long legs and it takes about an hour and a half to treat full legs followed by a couple of minutes for the underarms.

      Once complete, don't shower or bath until the next morning and don't use really hot water as the skin will be sensitive and more prone to irritation. I use Dove pure and gentle soap for several days and then Sterex Aloe Vera gel (bought in the clinic) as an aid to cool the area and a natural antiseptic. Whilst my skin was getting used to being lasered, I did feel a little itchy for a few days but nothing unbearable.

      Perifollicular swelling and redness are desired clinical endpoints, expect your skin to look red after treatment and this usually subsides within a few hours but can last for a few days for some. If there are signs of epidermal damage then you may need an antibiotic ointment or just go back to the clinic for their advice. I panicked a little when I had a rash but I called the nurse and she assured me that it's fine and to just keep the area clean and cool down with the aloe vera gel.

      Side effects:

      These are possible but are minimised if you go to a reputable clinic and Dr Morar advised it's best to have a medical professional rather than beautician to conduct treatments, to reduce the risk. I did have a rash immediately after my fourth treatment but it was just a temporary reaction to the laser, it disappeared after two days. Inevitably, you'll be undergoing treatments during the summer, just make sure not to immediately expose the treated area to the sun as your skin will be more sensitive and burn easily, so cover up with trousers or maxi dress (do not sunbathe, as this increases your risk of hypo- or hyper-pigmentation), use sun protection.

      The reason why darker skins require more treatments is that to get the best results, treatment needs to be performed at the highest possible fluence the skin can tolerate (higher percentage hair loss at higher fluences). However, caution must be taken to minimise the side effect of hypo- or hyper-pigmentation which occurs when the skin reaches its own threshold fluence and is more of an issue for darker skins (remember that the laser targets the melanin in the hair but this is also present in the skin more so for those of darker skin tones). For this reason, it's best to start off with lower fluences and work it up. I'm happy with this approach because I was put off by some of the potential side-effects prior to embarking on treatment, however this means more treatments (time and money) to finish.

      Does it work in the long-term?

      The Holy Grail question and only answerable after an extended period (six months plus) after my final treatment (I'll have to get back to you on that).

      Actively growing hairs that are successfully treated shouldn't grow back; once the hair follicle is damaged it cannot grow hair. However, there will inevitably be hair follicles that were not in the active growth phase during the course of the treatment. It's not unusual to expect to have 'touch-up' treatments once in a while due to hormonal changes (which affects hair growth). I understand that those with the underlying hormonal condition PCOS will need to have treatments pretty regularly; thankfully I don't have this issue.

      My advice is to be prepared to commit to this for the long-term and regularly do your treatments every six to eight weeks (or less depending on different areas of the body). Yes, there is a bit of discomfort initially but after the first couple of treatments this becomes less of an issue. I noticed a small difference after the first treatment, but it was only after treatment four that I was really impressed, so bear that in mind when setting your expectations.

      I'm a little impatient and have to keep stopping myself asking Hazel (the nurse), 'am I nearly done yet'? It's starting to become an addiction, would love to get the bikini area done next -ouch! ;) Wow, that must be my longest blog post; hopefully this is informative (a culmination of both my experience and research on the area).

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      19.07.2012 14:33

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      When it works, it's great. Lightsheer diode Laser really works!

      A few machines work, most don't!

      After having had lots of different IPL & being very disappointed, actually found one that really works! The Lightsheer diode really works. It's laser not IPL. The difference is huge.

      My advice would be, do not prepay for a bulk amount of treatments. if it's not working after the first treatment, walk away! When it really does work, the first treatment often looks like it's half gone already. (everyone still needs 6-8 treatments but it did look like a lot had gone on the first one) Where as the 15+ treatments I had with IPL left me wondering if there was any difference at all.

      A few tips..

      Have the test patch, if hairs jump out of the skin, it's going to work!
      Read your consent form, if it's says results may vary, forget it, that means nothing! The places that I had the Lightsheer, promised 85-95% reduction. That's easily what I got.

      I saw a nurse called Maria, very honest & professional, with no hard sell!
      www.bodyblissclinic.com (ask to be booked with Maria)
      www.smoother-you.co.uk

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      23.06.2012 01:39

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      I have just started hair laser removal at the skin health spa in london. So far so good but I found that the experience is good if the technician is good so once I found someone i liked i stuck with them. Have had some results after first treatment. Will be documenting my experience and results on my blog if anyone wants to follow at http://justme-sav.blogspot.co.uk/. :)

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      25.05.2012 13:56

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      I have always shaved which started to irritate my skin and when I tried waxing it was just too painful so I had a friend who told me about this place she was going called the pulse light clinic, which is up in London, who did laser hair removal and how good it was. so I decided to go there and I was super surprised coz its now been my 5th treatment and I literally have hardly ANY hair coming back in that area. So i guess it just depends on where you go. But i was really happy with everything when i went there.

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      01.05.2012 18:01
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      IPL Laser good but don't go to KBIs in Digbeth Birmingham

      DO NOT GO TO KBI's Laser hair removal based in Digbeth.

      KBI is a small company who are unhygenic, rude girls, no customer service at all. The girls seem like they have just come of the streets and started foing the treatment. KBIs have kids running around. The treatrpoom is unhygenic with marks over the bed cloth I was supposed to lie on, I refused to do it so I just sat up. The moody girl who did my treatment at KBIs stank I could not take the smell of their BO (body odour). They seem like a bunch of girls who probably have arguments with most of their customers espacially if you say anything. Would never go back. Generally like IPL its really good had it at a diffrenet company and aftre 6 treatments I am hairfree. Whoopy. But don't go to KBIs in Digbeth. They keep advertising on Groupon, Wowcher etc, because I don't they have customers even with cheap offers.

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        23.04.2012 23:30

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        The staff promised me a full laser hair removal treatment and once I paid the entire money in advance, they refused to even take my calls. Now after 6 sessions I have no visible results and they refused any more sessions and asked me to do whatever I can as they cannot do anything about this. All of you who have been cheated by this clinic, please get in touch with me at nikkibh812@gmail.com as I plan to sue them for causing so much pain and trauma not to forget the time and money spent. If we can all get together, may be more people will be saved and this clinic can be taught a lesson. I am sending them a legal notice tomorrow, so please get in touch with me urgently if you want to fight for your consumer rights. Thanks

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        10.04.2012 14:06
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        very good at getting over £800 from people

        I was on the 15 month unlimited laser hair removal plan, and my last session was in January.

        I have noticed patches of long hairs have already grown back near my chin area. The rest of my face seems to be ok, however i am extremely disappointed that this patch has not gone.

        I had a review appointment on Wednesday and was advised by Katie that nothing can be done for me. When i was sold this package I was assured that the 15 month unlimited will ensure no grown for at least a few years, then you just have top up treatments. I was completely misled when i was sold this, and I am now asking for a few more sessions free of charge so at least this patch is gone.

        Katie was very dismissive and i find the company is actually mis-selling a product. I paid over £800 for this treatment and also at the same time recommended others, who eventually may also feel they have been "ripped off". I am aware that everyone is different but the reason I went for the unlimited package was so i could be sure the hairs would be gone. I was told the 6 or 12 months might not be enough so i went for the most expensive package.

        As laser clinics no longer have a regulator, i feel that when they did, something would have been done about this. Now i feel that they have an easy "get out" when people complain. I am aware that they run a business but also is it not part of business etiquette to provide good customer services and deal with complaints effectively. You want to keep a good reputation, and this is not the way to go about it. It is just not acceptable to send me off with more prices so I can be "suckered" in again!.

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          14.03.2012 15:57

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          Hello, I have had laser hair removal many times and in KBI Laser Hair Removal, I have the worst experience. i ended up with an enormous rash all over my legs and arms thanks to their bad laser technology. BEWARE not all equipment is of the same quality. I went back to them to ask for a full refund but they refused telling me it was my fault!! Really bad stay away from this company, generally laser treatment has never given me any problems. Thanks

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          15.01.2012 18:07

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          I would definitely recommend it. I'm of south Asian ethnicity (light-medium brown skin tone) and have had a course of 6-9 treatments for the upper lip, under arms and bikini area. I went for a consultation a few years ago at the laser treatment clinic on Harley street. The staff were all friendly and professional, and the monthly price plan made it even more affordable. The laser felt like a warm tingling sensation on the skin. I no longer have to shave and I'm considering having my abdomen done too.

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          06.01.2012 18:19

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          Just go for a consultation and the rest is history, FYI go for the bridal package

          I had been thinking about giving the laser treatment another go, previously 3+ years ago I booked myself in somewhere in town, had my consultation, started my treatment and ran off 10 mins later. The pain was unbearable, I tried to tell my self no pain no gain but that doesn't work, so anyway a friend of mine from Small Health told me she had started her treatment in preparation for her wedding, when she said pain free I started laughing but she told me that the clinic had brought the latest machine out in the market and it was in fact pain free, she gave me there website address ( maximedicare.com ) and phone number. Their website was very helpful and it tells you all about their new machine Soprano, so I rang up and booked myself in, the consultant was an actual doctor which came as a surprise and she was very reassuring that the treatment would not hurt which of course brought back flash backs from my last attempt. The big day finally comes, my treatment day that is not my friends wedding which was big in its own way. I'm seated, my arms are gelled, I close my eyes and it begins, I'm not going to lie I could feel something but I wouldn't describe it as pain, more like someone rubbing something on your arms, so in essence it was pain free. It's helped me gain a lot of confidence, their prices were not bad compared to their competitors, you can choose between seeing a male or female doctor/consultant and the experience has completely changed my perception on the matter and I now refer them to all my family and friends. You don't have to take my word for it just visit there website and if you do book yourself in tell them Sanam from Handsworth said hello and thank you.

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          19.06.2011 01:21

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          Thank you, I went to maximedicare (Cosmetic Clinic) in Small Heath Birmingham after reading your review. They use the same machine that is used by Harrods as well and the cost is very cheap. Thanks to google, I searched maximedicare in Birmingham and found their website and address. For others interested in it they can go to www.maximedicare.com for more information. Maximedicare is the surgery in small heath on 182 Mansel Road. The surgery has a registered GP, staff are well trained and have well qualified therapist and nurses. For me it was not difficult to make decision to start my sessions with such feasible cost and best laser hair removal machine Soprano XLI in Birmingham, UK.Thank you again for the help. I have already done 2 sessions and seeing results. It is really painless procedure.

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          05.04.2011 19:30

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          I recommend maximedicare clinic for anyone who wants to get rid of unwanted hair.

          I recently got my arms and legs treated in maximedicare clinic in birmingham and the results are more than satisfactory for me....
          I have always wanted a permanent hair removal as I was tired of shaving and waxing. At the beginning I was reluctant to try laser hair removal due to all the bad reviews one can read online. A friend of mine recommended me this clinic and I decided to book an appointment for a free consultation. The doctor and the stuff working at the clinic were very professional. The offered treatment at such price cannot be found anywhere else. I decided to give it a try and I am really happy with the result. The laser that the clinic is using is the best on the market: Soprano Xli. The treatment was absolutely painless and I didn't have any negative reactions on my skin - no burnings, no scars, no allergic reactions. Just no more unwanted hair.

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          16.03.2011 22:54

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          Brilliant!

          I highly recommend Laser hair removal especially if you are particularly hair due to hormonal problems as I am, I have PCOS Syndrome , I have been having Laser treatment for a year now and the results have been life changing. As a woman having hair in unwanted areas, the face, chin etc is awful and does nothing for your self esteem or confidence. I found a Brilliant Clinic in Birmingham called Re-Nu Body Clinic, www.renuclinic.com , the service is fantastic, the practitioners as well as the reception staff made me feel completely at ease. They give a thorough consultation and explain everything to you in great detail. They use the light sheer Laser, that is really affective, my results are very good I have a noticeable difference now, I am hoping in another year or two to have complete hair reduction or having just a few treatments a year- I am a very happy- Well worth the money.- renuclinic.com

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          15.03.2011 19:00

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          A good and professional clinic for laser hair removal if you are in London

          My wife and me are looking for laser hair removal. Her skin type is around 4 and mine is type 5. We did a lot of researches on line and attended over 5 consultations in different established clinics including Harley street clinic, Renewmedica, SKN and Premier Laser Clinic.

          All of them were providing free consultation. SKN charged £25 for test patch and others were free. Consultation were all quite standard and professional. I did ask lots of technical questions regarding lasers.
          SKN and Premier Laser Clinics staff gave me more accurate answers. I felt more relaxed at Premier Laser Clinic because the nurse was much less aggressive to sell the treatment to me. They both recommended ND YAG laser on us.

          From test patch experience, the laser in Premier Laser Clinic in South London called Candela GentleYAG is slightly more comfortable than the laser called Cynosure Elite SKN is using. I was told by Premier Laser Clinic both machines are gold standard laser for dark skin type and very similar to each other. If I would prefer Cynosure Elite, their east London Clinic in Aldgate is using Latest Cynosure Elite MPX. The new model comes with 18 mm Spot size. It means the laser beam is much stronger and can penetrate deeper. It also means I can finish the treatment up to 40% quicker.

          We finally chosed Premier Laser Clinic based on the technology, price and profession. We are on our second sessions. So far We are happy with the treatment. The treatment is slightly painful but bearable. The practitioners were quite patient and did a very thorough treatment. The skin also went red after the treatment but returned to normal a few hours later with the help of their special Aloe Vera Gel. The hair did come back but less and finer.

          I will post my results again as soon as I finish my 8 sessions course.

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          19.02.2011 22:11

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          I am from Indian ethnicity had I suffer from PCSO (Polycystic Ovaries), so I have a very strong hair growth on my chin. I have had few Hair Removal treatments at The Laser Treatment Clinic and I am pleased to say that the hair are finer, softer and fewer. I know I will need top up sessions because of the hormonal imbalance but that is the least of my worries, because I no longer have to use so much make up and concealer to cover up the shadow on my chin due to the strong hair growth I had on my chin. Thank you to all at The Laser Treatment Clinic.

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