Laser Hair Removal – my first session

“Laser hair removal is the process of removing unwanted hair by means of exposure to pulses of laser light that destroy the hair follicle.”

Thank you Wikipedia 🙂

So firstly let me explain why. What is the need to get laser hair removal? It’s very expensive and shaving is easy. Well to answer this is goes back to the big word of the year – dysphoria.

It’s a hard thing to put into words, but so far since coming to terms with being transgender and trying to accept myself as female has been hard. I think it is sometimes easier for others than it is for me. One of the biggest hurdles every day is facial hair.

Imagine waking up every day and seeing a powerful physical sign of masculinity. Personally for me it is very distressing as (believe it or not) in November last year I was sporting a pretty hefty beard. Yes, I was a bearded hipster! How things have changed in under a year.

I realised that the beard was one of many very good ‘disguises’ to make myself as masculine as possible and fit into the role of ‘man’. I did pretty well. I had everyone fooled, most of all myself.

So now when I see facial hair regrow every single day it is a reminder of the lengths that I went to in order to fit into society’s idea of what a ‘man’ should be. I was a square peg in a round hole and no-one ever knew it.

Thank god for laser hair removal! I can get it all zapped off and not have to worry about it any more. Woohoo!

The other benefit will be not having to use as much make up. If I were to go full-time now I would burn through foundation like lighting a match in Paperchase!

 

My first session

With the test-patch healed and looking super smooth I attended my first full session of laser hair removal to get rid of my facial hair. Lets do this! I went in excited and really psyched to be getting this done. As instructed I took 3 paracetamol beforehand to help with the pain.

Yes, that’s right, PAIN!

The hairs are being targeted at the follicle by a laser… a LASER! IT. HURTS.

After my first session I felt that perhaps it was the waiting between laser zaps that was difficult, how about we speed up the process so that it’s more like a constant pain, like getting a tattoo. I find with getting a tattoo I am able to zone out and ignore the pain.

I tried this on the first big section on my right cheek. It seemed to work. The clinician was very impressed and said no one had ever asked to have it quicker before. Maybe I’m onto something?

Maybe not. As the session progressed it got worse. The chin area was, for me, more sensitive and it wasn’t long until I had to get the clinician to stop. I burst into tears. The sustained pain was overwhelming and despite my efforts I wasn’t able to control it. Perhaps the hormones had something to do with it too.

So, what’s the pain like? I hear you ask. Some describe it as like a rubber band being snapped on your face, I think this is underestimating the pain. Some describe it as like a bee sting, this is probably more like it, but difficult to relate to because I don’t get stung by many bees, the last time was when I was about 4 years old.

I would describe the pain as like a strong electric shock crossed with the feeling of a burn, like touching a really hot metal surface. The pain is instant and very targeted. It lingers for a couple of seconds and the area remains hot.

I persevered and got through a large amount of my facial hair. Just leaving my upper lip and small areas on my upper cheeks neck to do another day. I was shaking, emotionally and physically drained. I was given ice packs to cool my face and help reduce swelling. This session was just over 1 hour and I had about 400 laser zaps. Ouch!

 

The following few days

I react to laser hair removal with swelling. Not everyone does to the extent that I do. No amount of frozen peas could stop this swelling. Writing this post it’s 3 days since my treatment and I still look like a fat version of me. Or one of the comical comparisons me and my friends have been throwing around.

laserhairremoval-myfirstsession-images

The Nutty Professor – Micky Rourke in Sin City – Rugor Nass, Boss of the Gungans – American Dad – a BoSelecta mask – plus many more.

Folliculitis – ‘the infection and inflammation of one or more hair follicles.’ my clinician at the laser clinic is very good and reassuring about aftercare. I am not worried about the reaction/s I’ve had. I have a lot of redness and small white spots across the areas treated. There is also some yellowy-orange discharge from my pores, this is normal and nothing to worry about. It’s not too gross, I just keep my face nice and clean throughout the day and it’s not really noticeable.

 

Summary

From the results I had on the test patch I can’t wait for my face to heal and be as smooth as that. Joking about my swollen face has been funny and the laughter stopped me feeling down about my appearing post-laser. However I would not like to have to go to a workplace like this. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking about laser, you might want some time away or working at home for a week.

My skin is sensitive so I’m wary of shaving, this has brought back a fair amount of dysphoria and I’m avoiding mirrors at the moment. But hey, no pain no gain. In a month I’ll be beautiful!

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