brazilian opt hair removal
brazilian opt hair removal
Several years ago I decided to stop shaving my legs and switched to waxing. I was sick of ingrown hairs and the little red bumps that formed on my lower legs from an old school razor. (Note to readers: If this is already too much information, this article is probably not for you.) Waxing your legs, I soon learned, is wonderful—for three days. Then the hair begins to creep back in and you are stuck with it for at least two weeks, three if you want it to be even more efficient. At the end of last summer, I put my furry foot down. No more of this back-and-forth business, I decided. It was time to look into a more permanent option.
I remembered first hearing about laser hair removal years ago when people were first talking about it and thinking, “Eek, that sounds risky, I’m going to wait and see if this goes the way of the LaserDisc or the DVD.” Basically I wanted to make sure it was legit and worth the time, pain, and cost.
The way laser hair removal works, I soon discovered from a quick bit of precautionary research, is that pulses of highly concentrated light are emitted from the laser into the hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles absorbs the light and that destroys the hair. When I read that 90 percent of laser hair removal patients who are good candidates for the procedure report permanent hair loss after an average of three to six sessions, I was sold. “Chewbacca be gone,” I vowed to myself. “Next year, I am getting my legs lasered.”
My interest was particularly piqued by the spate of at-home laser treatments recently on the market. Could it be that easy? An investigation into the leading brands revealed some intriguing contenders, from the Tria 4X (an FDA-cleared device that claims to deliver more than triple the hair-eliminating energy of its DIY peers) to the IluminageTOUCH (which is approved to safetly treat a wider of skin tones than traditional lasers). But while the convenience of zapping away on my couch while watching Law & Order: SVU was seductive, none seemed quite right. I can barely operate my electric kettle—should I really be handling a laser?
Board-certified dermatologist Jessica Weiser, M.D., who I eventually approached, is also dubious about the at-home models. “I advise caution because they’re supposed to be much less intense than in office lasers but in the wrong hands you can probably do some serious damage if you’re double- or- triple pulsing areas that you shouldn’t be,” she tells me. “Typically people at home tend to be aggressive with themselves because they think that they can get a faster, better result without realizing potential consequences.”
I opt instead for the New York Dermatology Group, where Weiser specializes in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. When I call for an appointment, I learned that in order to have bikini-worthy legs by Memorial Day I would need to start the laser process in peak tights-and-boots weather. Soon, I’m headed down to their Flatiron offices for my first of six appointments—six, explains Dr. Weiser, to accommodate the hair’s growth cycles. “Hairs have a growth phase and also a resting and a falling-out phase,” she says. “Some of the hairs are not there right now because they are in the rest phase and not every hair will respond to the pulses.” Hence the need for multiple sessions, spaced about one month apart, the typical length of a hair-growth cycle.
I arrive at their office, a wide-open space with pale pine floors, and am shown to Dr. Weiser’s patient room, where she promptly asks if my legs are shaven.
“No!” I reply proudly, excited to show her that I wax instead.
“Hmm,” Dr. Weiser frowns. “I need the legs to be clean-shaven for the laser so we’ll have to shave them now,” she continues, explaining that for next six months of my laser treatment, I’ll need to exclusively shave my legs.
I am next instructed to put on a pair of bottle-green goggles while Dr. Weiser rubs ultrasound gel on my calves. Before we begin, she shares with me the one description of laser hair removal I have heard before: “It feels like a rubber band being flicked against your skin multiple times.”
Either I am wrong, or my pain threshold is incredibly low, because I find laser hair removal excruciatingly uncomfortable. In fact, I start to think, I would take a flick of a rubber band any day over the repeated burning zap of the laser. After the first few zaps, I squirm so much Dr. Weiser has to stop. It feels like someone is taking a lit match to my leg and holding it up close. The darker the hair, she explains, the coarser it is; therefore more energy is emitted onto that follicle, causing greater discomfort. When those hairs are zapped, it feels like a bee sting—and you just have to hope there aren’t too many.
The whole process is a bit like whack-a-mole; it seems there’s always another hair to quash. But Dr. Weiser is calm and methodical, her laser moving up and down the leg in straight lines. The noise of the pulses is like the beat of a metronome or a very fast elevator that beeps at every floor. (On my second visit, I remove my silk blouse in order to avoid unnecessary dry cleaning.) But with each subsequent visit, it gets progressively easier, partly because I am becoming more used to the process and partly because there is less hair to zap.
Clearly I’m not alone in this. Nearly half a million laser treatments were performed by dermatological surgeons in 2011 (the last year that collected data is available) according to the American Society for Dermatological Surgery, so it must be worth the minor suffering. Most people who get laser treatments are focusing on smaller areas of hair—underarm, upper lip, bikini line. These areas also happen to be much more sensitive: The very idea of getting my bikini line. These areas also happen to be much more sensitive. The lower leg, on the other hand, is one of the largest areas that they laser and it takes about 25 minutes altogether for both legs upon each visit.
By my third appointment I begin to see a real difference. The laser picks up a lot more “energy” as Dr. Weiser says, and I find the whole experience far less painful. For several days following each treatment, I have a series of small red bumps on my legs and this actually elates me because I know it means that the laser has picked up that follicle and when the redness dies down that spot will be hair-free for life—a delightful thought as summer, and a season of confidently wearing my favorite Isabel Marant silk-chiffon miniskirt, begins.