Friday, March 23, 2007

Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #4

Alas! An update for my 4th laser hair removal appointment. It happened in February, which is just when I quit my day job and started working for The Woman (me!), so I've been in the exciting time suckage of entrepenuria. (see my first launched website, as my accessories business, Katie James, has expanded to include website design).

The most important answer of all: I am still shaving. Argh! It's true. The hair is going away, though. I can tell because there is an area that I've decided I want gone, and it's not as caught up as the other parts, so there is a visible difference. So at least it's working. And I'm finding solace in the fact that if after 6 appointments the hair is not totally dead and wiped off the planet, I can go back for 2 years.

I do still get a few ingrowns, but they are most likely last attempts at being totally annoying. I started lasering in the summer. July, actually. So I've spent most of the winter undergoing the laser hair removal treatments. The summer, I think, is when ingrowns come more often.

The fourth appointment, strangely, did hurt more than the others. I could feel the laser more. Mind you - I am fair skinned with dark leg hair. I'm an American Mut, so if I was Syrian, like my good friend Dental Mista, I might experience more pain. The estheticians have claimed to have turned the laser up to full blast in the past, but I'm thinking that they couldn't have, since this time was the strongest I had felt it.

Speaking of Dental Mista, she had her 4th, and last, appointment with her dermatologist. Dental Mista was in a lot of pain. She is Syrian, so while she is fair skinned (when not tan), her hair is pretty coarse. Her dermatologist's laser package was a pack of 4 appointments. Her hair is not gone, and she does need to go in for more. My hair is not gone, but I have 2 appointments left, plus this 2 year extension (providing they live up to their word). I do have a friend, we'll call her Dog Park Mista, who did have success in killing all of the hair follicals on her legs, but it did extend beyond 6 appointments. It was not with American Laser Centers.

I think it all has to do with the thickness of hair. My lighter pieces have been the first to go. And by lighter I mean not super coarse. For example, I do have lighter hairs on my love trial. Those are pretty much gone now. The fifth appointment is in April. I promise I will not wait so long to post!

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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for doing this! I had an appt. with American laser this weekend, and while there prices were higher than other places in the area (I live in LA), the guarantee really drew me in since I am tan-skinned with dark, coarse hair and will likely need more than 6 appointments. Anyway, its disappointing to hear you are still shaving :-( I was hoping, like the saleswoman assured, that after 3 treatments, I would be left with light stragglers. Oh well, I guess in a year I will be happy I did it. Keep posting!

Mista said...

Glad I could help! Maybe try not to get as tan before the appointments so that the laser can really find your hair (it's attracted to dark pigment or something). Living in NYC, I have no fear of being too tan :) although I wish I could, especially when these appointments are over. Good luck!

Jessica81 said...

Thank you for the detailed laser hair removal entries. I am going through the same process and it is interesting to read about other people's experiences.

Do you know what kind of laser you are using? The old one and the new one? I had heard that American Laser Center didn't use real lasers, but IPLs. Maybe the change in technology meant a switch to lasers?

I am being treated with the Candela GentleLase. It is only good for light skin patients. There is not gel to apply before the treatment. It just zaps and then sprays a cool liquid. The liquid is very light and you can't really feel it.

It is painful!! My first two treatments weren't painful, then I found out the settings were too low.

I've had about 50% hair reduction after 4 treatments. I have a package of 8, with 1 year free from Ideal Image. (Ideal Image is know for high prices) My package for brazilian, upper-lip and underarms was $3,000.

If you are interested in my progress I kept a journal with pictures at www.laserhairremovaljournal.com

Mista said...

I'm pretty sure that American Laser Centers uses a laser. It is referred to as a laser, and there is a beam of light coming out of it like it is a laser, I have to wear green goggles like it's a laser, and the cool gel that is like what you get when you have an ultrasound I have not doubt is there to help the laser do its work.

Not only that, but American Laser Centers is called American LASER Centers, so, that would be very oxymoronic if they did not user lasers...you know? Quite sue-able.

My office uses the new laser. The first one or two appointments I had was the older laser. Then they switched. I think it might even be more powerful because it felt stronger, as I had previously had the highest settings.

All laser works best on light skin with dark hair. The light of the laser is attracted to dark pigmant, which is your hair, so it's best to have light skin so that the laser can see the dark hair. Luckily I'm not able to tan that often!

Doubtful Customer said...

Mista,

Jennifer is correct. Unfortunately, the technicians at ALC, from my experience, only half way know what they are talking about when it comes to the machines (and who knows what else!). One of the machines American Laser Centers uses, the Amerilight, is an IPL, which is not a true laser. Their Amerilaser however, is a true laser. Both these machines are made by Syneron. The Amerilight is the elight by Syneron - you can read more here: http://www.syneron.com/Solutions/Clinical_Results/FAQs/eLight.html. The Amerilaser is the elaser by Snyeron. If you google all these keywords, you will find this information to be true.

However, knowing what I know of their machines, I am still hopeful that I will still achieve results. I have had two treatments so far, and interestingly enough, I had excellent shedding results with the IPL (the Amerilight)!! I only got about 30% reduction from the Amerilaser - the true laser, a "diode" laser in fact! I have very fair skin and dark hair, although not overly course. For my third appt. I will switch back to the Amerilight. When I am finished with all treatments, I am hoping to have only a few stray hairs. Somehow though... I'm afraid I may have wasted my money with this company.

I will NOT pay for another package though if I decide to get more treatments in other areas. I believe you are treated better if you pay as you go. My experience with ALC has not been a good one - they use lasers other than the ones stated in the contract, have technicians that are only partially knowledgeable, refuse to refund your money even if you have yet to have a treatment, and well... seem really to just care about making money. Their customer service has been poor, and the people high up in the company, like the regional manager, Hannah, is the worst I've ever dealt with when it comes to customer service. I believe in integrity and in treating people with respect and fairness. Unfortunately, American Laser Centers doesn't appear to believe in these same things. :(

In the end... it's just money, right? In the meantime, I'm giving ALC the benefit of the doubt, will keep pretending that everything is fine when I go to my appointments, and will hope for the best. Best of luck to you all as well.

Mista said...

Hey Doubtful Customer,
Good for you for doing this homework. The saving grace with my American Laser Centers office is that the technicians are all pleasant. I'm writing this just after my 6th appointment, which I will blog about shortly, but as I've been saying, I'm still shaving. My bikini and love trail have had an 80% reduction in growth, and my thighs, I'd say, are 30%, although it grows in softer and slower, and I don't get ingrowns from shaving.

That said, my office, I believe, has 1 machine. They share an office space with Hair Restoration (ironic, huh) and they have 1 office. The machine that they use (so they tell me) is the Amerilight, which you are saying is not a true laser, and which you are saying you got better results from.

What is the process for you procedure? Do you have to use the cool jel and wear green tinted glasses? Jessica81 above mentions not using jel, but a cool liquid. Either, I would think, would be used to conduct electricity. According to the link you provided, which is a link to the company, so will be biased, and is not a technical page of explanation, but an FAQ page for customers like you and me, the machine is "combined energy technology of Bi-Polar Radio Frequency (RF) and Broad Spectrum Light."

I am not a lawyer, or a scientist, or in any way connected to laser technologies or American Laser Centers. It seems to me, that laser beams are light based, and require protection and possibly liquid to conduct energy.

At the end of the day it comes down to this: your hair growth and your treatment as a customer.

Doubtful Customer said...

Hi Mista!

I'm so glad you at least have nice technicians - that is a blessing, because despite my being friendly and polite, mine have had an attitude with me. haha Oh well.... certainly nothing to lose sleep over, haha. It would be nice to know that the people treated me actually care about doing a good job though... :(

I know for the Amerilase, the cool gel was used, and I remember them using a cool gel with the Amerilight as well. I wore the tinted glasses for both.

The broad spectrum light is I believe known as IPL - the Amerilight is a newer version of the Aurora, which was an IPL and not considered a true laser - yes, the both have light, but they're still not considered the same. However, I still stand by my statement of saying I got better results with the Amerilight!

At this point, I feel like I've wasted my money to people without integrity, but I plan to keep going and keep hoping for the best....

Keep us informed with how you're doing! :)

Original Anonymous said...

Just wanted to report that I had another appointment with the Amerilase (their diode laser), and this time... it looks to be working! :) I lucked out and got the sweetest technician, and she really knew what she was doing as well. She had the machine turned up all the way, and by how painful it was, I could really tell! I had to literally stop talking at times because of how bad it was, but the pain quickly goes away, and it looks like it was worth it, because my underarms are now about 90-95% clear of hair!! I didn't get much shedding on my legs, but maybe I'll get more in a week or so. I'm just thrilled to see results this time! And, it was so nice to have someone working on me that was knowledgeable, and considerate - I lucked out! :) I'm going to keep making sure they keep that machine cranked up all the way!!

Mista said...

That's great! I tried sending good technician vibes to you. :)

My legs are finally feeling like 85%-90%, and my bikini is practically gone. It's been 6 appointments, and I'm thrilled with the results so far.

Original Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good technician vibes Mista! haha :)

My underarms are even "more" clear now, *and* I have noticed that I barely sweat under my arms now at all!! What a nice side-effect! I had heard that was a side-effect, and now I'm seeing it for myself!

My legs I'd say are about 70-80% clear I guess... kind of hard to tell. I'm hopeful that with more treatments, they'll get to about 95-99% clear. Overall, I'm actually feeling good about American Laser Centers now -- yea!! :)

Mista said...

Cool! I did not hear about the no sweat side effect. This makes it all the more tempting!

My lovely side effect on my bikini is that I don't get ingrowns anymore!! Which is SO nice and makes me feel that much better/confident.

See? Patience dear Laser Researchers! It truly does pay off. If it didn't work, they would be out of business.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I have to agree with the person who has had poor service at American laser center. I feel they are just out for the money and dot really give you the individual attention a person like me eith dark skin needs. But, if I just ignore the customer service and make the best of it, I can say that I have seen vast improvement in the areas I am having treated. Becuase of my dark skin I have been geeting treated for 3 yrs now and STILL have hair (the 2 year gaurantee was good because the past 2 years have been "free" but imagine how much quicker I could have gotten rid of the hair if I went somewhere else where they did not keep switching the laser). But at least the area is much better than it was and I might just go to electrolysis to get rid of the remaining hairs.

Moris said...

Thanks for the nice post about laser hair removal. Unwanted hair removal is a major concern now for fashion conscious ladies. It is a great piece of blog writing that looks like a real life experience. My question is whether laser hair restoration for women is helpful?

HyunChard said...

yah. I also noticed that there are lots of hair removal methods nowadays...thanks to this blog..i got a lot of info....

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