Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Laser Hair Removal Review: Appointment #11 The Double Pass

Well Laser Review Researchers, the double pass has proven successful. I was on the more powerful machine, up to at least 40, and maybe higher at times (can't remember). The legs are finally showing signs of relenting, and not just slow growth, but behaving in a way that the other areas (bikini) have already shown. There is more patchiness, and I was able to skip a shaving session, only shaving the lower half of my legs (they have not gotten lasered yet).

And that's really all I can say. We are still not completely done in the areas: thighs, bikini, luv trail. I know that laser hair removal is not permanent but when you see that some hair is totally gone, and the neighboring hair is not, well, it's pretty frustrating, let me tell ya. The Waiting Game is on, a twelfth appointment is booked, and we'll see.

For chronological order of all of my laser removal reviews with American Laser Center, click here.

28 comments:

~ Original Anonymous ~ said...

Hey Mista!

Sorry I've been MIA!! Truthfully though, I haven't had much to post. :( Just had my 6th appt with ALC, and I really can't say that I've had much reduction in hair. My hair does seem to grow in slower and thinner, which is great, but there is still so much coming in that I definitely still have to shave. :( However, it feels less "stubbly" when it comes in, which is great, and I definitely have fewer ingrown hairs on my legs than when I first started.

I haven't been getting very good results with my underarms, which bums me out, as less hair under one's arms means less sweat and odor... want to know why? Click here: http://www.mybodylanguage.co.uk/coloured_sweat2.htm. Last summer, I had an awesome underarm treatment with ALC, and I noticed very little sweat or odor under my arms... gosh that was nice!

Ok... I've *learned a little something new* today....

I like to be an informed customer, and thought the technicians had told me all there was to know about the Amerilase settings, but I learned today that there are actually "three" settings for the Amerilase, not just two. There is the skin type, the number setting (I've been using about 45, which is high), and then... this is what I learned today... they can chose from normal, sensitive, or boney. Turns out, my last few treatments have been set to "sensitive!" ...despite my telling them to crank the machine up. My last few technicians have all been really, really nice, so my guess is that they somehow just didn't know about the third setting?? Now that I know, I will be sure to tell them to use the *normal* setting. If I get good results in the next 2-3 weeks, after having used *normal,* I will post and let everyone know! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

So anyway, to re-cap ladies, be sure your technicians are using the right settings for you:

* Skin Type - if you have light skin, you'll get better results with a light skin type setting, etc.

* Number Setting (or whatever they call this) - the higher you go, the better.

* Normal, sensitive, or boney (chose normal if you want better results!)

~ Original Anonymous ~ said...

One other thing I forgot to post! My technician also mentioned to me that I need to come in every 10 weeks for my underarms instead of every 12 weeks, so I will now be doing separate appts for underarms and legs, which I am more than happy to do if it means getting better results for my underarms!

Mista said...

Thanks Original Anonymous!

You are such a good researcher. I too did not know about these 3 settings. My technicians havee never alluded to it. Interesting also about the timing! I will call my office to see about the weeks between my own appointments.

Don't get me wrong - I'm still shaving these legs. Bikini less often, but still there, and luv trail almost gone. Like 5 little guys left.

We will look for an update!

Wendy said...

Mista, I just discovered your laser hair removal epic today, and I've been captivated. I am researching laser centers, and your blog came up. I have an appt. with ALC tomorrow, but I have to admit I will probably not be going with them. There's another office in my area run by a plastic surgeon, and they say they use an Alma laser, which is supposed to be really great. Who knows. Maybe I'll do a blog on mine too. I just hope it isn't as much of a journey for me!

Mista said...

Hi Wendy!
I know...sorry it's such an epic. I started it because I figured who else has journaled this, and it's a big expense with possibly great results. So, when you stand back and look at the facts, vs the theory, it can be revealing. Let us know if you start a blog. Maybe this whole industry of laser hair removal is shady everywhere! I've heard different results from people depending on what kind of office they went to (doctor, laser company, etc). So, good luck!!

~ Original Anonymous ~ said...

Mista,
I think that I was maybe given bad advice with the timing and that I'm fine to stick with doing my underarms and legs at every 12 wks... but who knows! This website has some good advice on laser hair in general: http://www.hairremovalforum.com/faq.cfm

Wendy,
I'd check out the link above, figure which laser will be best for your skin type and hair, and then go from there. I also recommend *not* paying upfront, as you are then stuck with a package that might not work for you, *and* a business no longer needs to give you great customer service, as they'll already have your money. Also, not many seem to get great results from ALC, so I'd look elsewhere... It's great that you're researching, and I hope you find a place that works for you. :)

Wendy said...

Thanks for the advice.

I showed up to ALC yesterday. Nobody was at the front desk, but I could hear a tech giving a treatment in back. I waited patiently for 15 minutes, and then left. As I was loading my kids into the car, a lady stopped me and admitted she had been running late (traffic) and asked if I'd like to come in and talk. I politely declined.

The company I'm seriously considering is a plastic surgeon, and they're offering me 5 treatments of underarms and extended bikini for $700. Seems like a great deal. They have no complaints with the BBB.

Mista said...

Wow. That is interesting. You maybe wouldn't have declined if you did already have other reservations. But, it points to another question: receptionist. I hear that ALC does not like to afford receptionists at their locations, making the jobs of the office managers doubly hard. They have to answer the phone, have new client meetings, make new appointments, deal with clients on the phone, etc. So, this is a message to Corporate at ALC to hire a receptionist!

Anonymous said...

Mista,
When they did the double pass, can you tell me what laser they used? My ALC claims that they can only do a double pass with the laser that doesn't hurt & not the "new laser".
Thanks!

Mista said...

Hi Anonymous at 11:41am,
I am terrible with these names of the lasers. They used the "new" laser. I know this b/c I was hesitant if using the "new" laser b/c I had such poor results with it for the 10th appointment. The technician assured me that it was fine. Hope that helped.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know I work for ALC if you wanted to know anything about the lasers.

You may find some of this information useful...
Please don't take offense to anything as I am just being truthful according to what you've written:
First, in your defense; they definately should have started double passing you by the 4th treatment. The techs may have needed manager approval to double pass on the new laser though, because it's much stronger. They do not want to be responsible for burning you. They probably should have asked the manager if that's what they should do...
YET:

I must comment on one of your old writings that you are frequently late. Seems this was just mentioned in passing.
PLEASE realize what happens when clients are late.
Technicians are booked with exactly enough time to do your treatment if not a little less. When you are late, it forces us into "get it done" mode. This means not going "bar over bar" and getting every single spot.
If you were late more than one time I would say a good part of the results are from that. (don't get me wrong, there are other things that can lead to poor response which I will mention soon)

What's interesting is how you are on a 40 on the new laser especially with a double pass. I have never seen anyone up that high on there.If you really are on a 40 on the AmeriLase you should be CRYING from the pain. I did a 18 on my bikini and was hurting. The other girls will go as high as 30 on themselves and have to use ice or numbing cream because it hurts too much. Again this all depends on your skin type (the questionnaire form you filled out when you signed up)

As far as double passing on the 4th treatment (for non responders) At the same time, keep in mind the lateness. We can barely finish a single pass when the client is late. Let alone, recommending a double pass. Techs get frustrated with chronic lateness and sometimes don't keep the clients best intrest in mind. I also wouldn't be surprised if that was to explain the managers response to your questioning. (just a thought because I see behind the scenes)

Here are some other factors involved with not seeing results in 6 sessions. 6 sessions is the manufacturers recommendation for the ideal candidate. The ideal candidate is very white skin with black hair. Because results vary depending on skin color and hair color or thickness they HAVE TO have a general statement "6 sessions & 2 year guarantee" to cover all the bases. Most other places do not give a 2 year guarantee.
There is no quicker method of hair removal without a strong risk of being burned. Electrolysis also takes YEARS.

So I guess I will let you digest all that...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Mista said...

Hey ALC Person,
I welcome you, in this sea of comments, you are the first American Laser Center worker to have commented (or to have admitted you are from there, at least).

As for my lateness: It is not chronic. I learned my lesson after being late twice, when I had to make another appointment to finish. So for all of my 13 appointments now, (latest post: http://fashionmista.blogspot.com/2008/07/alc-laser-hair-removal-12th-or-13th.html )
I have been late to a couple of them, and no longer. The double pass happened way after the 6th appointment. I like all of the technicians, and the office manager, in my office. Perhaps they are being incredibly fake to me, but we were all on the same page of removing hair and looking for results. Therefore, it is of great surprise to me to be recommended the double pass at the 10th appointment, and to be recommended the double pass in such a way that it was a surprise I was not already doing it.

A double pass requires more time. All that needs done is booking that time. Has nothing to do with lateness. If I were suspicious, I would suggest that an office would not want book that extra time, in favor of getting in more clients. My office has since moved to a larger office, with 2 laser machines, as opposed to 1 machine before. It was at this time that the double pass was recommended. It is my guess that they now have time to do a double pass b/c they are getting in the number of clients they want.

I have light skin and surprisingly dark hair. Hence a motivation to get laser done. I'm a blond with brunet everywhere else! Some of these little hairs are going to be buggers because they are fair. Like the ones very far up my thigh. But for the rest of my thigh, let me tell you, I'm still shaving it. As for an area of my bikini that is 2 appointments behind the rest of the bikini, let me assure you that the hair is quite dark. Almost black. And it is not reacting well.

As for being at 40: We can call my office to be sure, because they record the sessions, but my technician was very surprised that I was able to do it. I've never had a lot of pain with this laser experience. For my 13th appointment, I had just had a fresh cup of coffee, which in my experience, makes me more sensitive. For that session, it did hurt and my technician (bless her) had to encourage me to breath, which did help.

The super dark area I just mentioned, however, was very painful during this 13th coffee induced appointment, and may have little dots of burns, but it's just not gone. It is batchy, but at this point, should be more than batchy. It has been 1 passed several times, and double passed twice now.

All in all, as I've been saying, I do not regret my purchase. I am wearing short shorts, and I never did before. My position remains that the office manager should NOT give a person false hope. No one considering American Laser Centers should be told that they MIGHT be done in 6 appointments (1 year). Yes, the 2 year policy is gracious and is what got me in, and I'm sure a lot of other people. But to lead people to believe that they are done in 6 appointments will only lead to disappointment, which leads to anger. Not to mention telling us that this is hair removal, when in my case, it has been a mix of seeming removal and hair weakening (not as stubbly).

Thanks again for chiming in!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mista,
WOW, I was reading your blog and I cant believe how similar all this is to my experiences so far! I too am getting SO frustrated and feel like such a dufus for thinking that I might never have to shave again!

I went in to inquire about my facial hairs, as I have been getting several gross coarse dark hairs along my chin/jaw bone area and have lots of very fine blond hair on my neck, face and moustache. When I asked about whether or not the treatments would work for my blond hairs, I was told that the "new" laser technology works great for blond hair, that it was the "old" technologies that are/were not successful. And yes, 6 treatments was the magic number, although I was told, "at the most six" before I would be "hair free", but if I ever needed too after that, I had 2 yrs, but that its unlikely I would need any further treatments beyond the "six". My meeting was with the office manager, who was beautiful and "hair free" arms, legs, face and she too had blond hair. OF course the package deal, was ONLY for that day and would be more later if I chose to take the time to think about it.

Unfortunatley, I bought into it all, literally, and now am feeling like I might as well flushed the money down the toliet. I am on my 3rd leg, 3rd face and 3rd arm treatments and NO RESULTS NOTED, even the very dark hairs on my chin that most concerned me and should be the first to go-I swear are actually increasing!
I am devastated after reading your blog that I am wasting my time.

Also, I have had the same experiences in "staffing changes", including a new office manager, who seems to be reading from the same scripts as yours, and becomes defensive when questioned about pretty much anything. The laser technicians are all young and inexperienced, and unprofessional.

Everything about ALC has been unprofessional, from my experiences so far. Though I will definitley ask about the "double pass" next time, but I have been getting the high settings. The first time I got my legs done though I blistered and have been using the "less painfull" machine on my legs only-which I was told was supposed to be just as effective, but who really knows.

What I do know is that there seems to be several on going lawsuits/complaints made towards this company and I wonder if they will even be around long enough to honnor the extra 2 yr deal, which is prob. pointless anyways. ARGGGHH!-Liz

Anonymous said...

Dear Mista

I too have been going to ALC for the last 2 years to have my underarms, bikini and love trail lasered. My experience with ALC is almost identical to yours. The results are slow and minimal, even with double pass. I am so frustrated because they are not 100% truthful with you when you sign up. I have fair skin and dark hair and as far as I have been told, I am a perfect candidate for laser treatment. So I don’t understand why I still have to shave my underarms and bikini area where hair is particularly coarse? I have complained to every one at that office and all they can tell me is to continue with the sessions. They shouldn’t call it permanent hair removal, but rather tell you to give them $2000 and a few years of your life and they’ll try to get rid of your hair…maybe.

I am having my arms done at another place in OC (non-ALC med spa) and have seen better results. Although I have been going there for 2 years as well and still have some hair growth, 60% percent of the hair is completely gone and the 40% that does grows out is thin and takes about a month to come out. With this place the hair falls off immediately during the session and after a few weeks if there is hair growth, hair starts falling off if you exfoliate. Whereas with ALC, hair stays in place during and after the session; I have never experienced any hair falling off after treatment. At best, the hair is somewhat thinner when it grows back but all there, I don’t even have any hairless patches from ALC. Any advice?

Anonymous said...

One last thought. The manager I spoke with during my consultation told me that I should be done with laser treatments by my 6th session, but did warn me that results vary and that for some people it takes 10 to 12 sessions to see permanent results. She also told me that I have to come to the sessions with the treatment area already shaved or be charged $35 for the service. So for the first year of my treatments I would go in clean shaved. When I started complaining about not seeing results one of the nurses told me to come in with some stubble because the laser beam has something to zap and thus works better. Another 6 months passed and no results, this time they recommended the double pass. Why not tell me to come in with some stubble in the first place and start the double pass much earlier? Unlike you I do regret my purchase with ALC, because they are unprofessional and do not have the proper equipment to give you the results that they promise.

Amber said...

I've had at least 14 extremely painful treatments at this point, with little to no results. I am in the process of obtaining a refund from American Laser Centers, all $3,000 of it. If they refuse to give me a refund, I am hiring a lawyer.

Maybe this works for some people, but it's not working for me and it's not worth the pain, money or time. Love to hear if anyone else has actually received a refund or is already filing a Class Action.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I just signed up for a package. I hope, hope that it works but let me know if it doesn't work, if anyone has been able to get their money back.

Anne-Marie said...

Wow I have had only two treaments but so far they are working fine. My first bikini treatment I didn't have to shave for like and a half except for the spots they missed. My legs not so successful the first time but this second time, It has worked amazingly. I only have hair in a few patches on my legs (once again spots they missed) and it has been like that since late January. My bikini is the same way only have to shave spots that are missed( or just don't get hit with the laser as well) The only thing that isn't doing so well in my thighs but I have really fine hair on my thighs so I don't realy mind. I am loving it, it is great. I can days with out shaving right now. I have never been able to do that. It is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm glad to see that you have this one here. You seem to be very fair with your comments. That is nice to see. I saw a lot of negative reviews on ALC, but chose them anyway b/c I thought some how my skin was lighter and hair was darker and a larger company would mean better service. My experience sounds very similar to yours, but I have not seen any hair reduction. I paid for the bikini area (brazilian), armpits, upper lip, and upper leg. I am very disappointed and would not go back to ALC if I could do it over again.

Also, I have talked to people who went to smaller clinics and their appointments are every 4-6 weeks. I don't understand why ALC makes you wait 10 weeks between appointments. What have you heard?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I just went to the ALC clinic today for consultation. I did not do any research prior to going there. I signed up a package for my whole face $3000 for 12 treatments and they told me they will add the neck for free. This was their special price for me as that was the price for only 6 treatments. Later they convinced me to add my lower legs to the package for $1000 more (also 12 treatments). I did my first treatment on the same day. I have fair skin and black hair.

I don't know how this will work out for me but like most of the women I am desperate. I wanted to know from you guys out there, was this too much money? Or was it a good deal? Now they are tellling me I could have my thighs added to above with another $1000. I am confused.

Can anyone give me any advise on this.

karolin said...

I just signed up with ALC on 58th in NYC. I just had my first session this past weekend. I am getting my full legs, full arms, under arms, full bikini, chin, and lip for 3000 plus tax. I was pretty peristant with wanting a deal so they kind of were cornered into it. It sounds like what your paying is a bit pricey and I would fight for a better deal.

Also.. I don't use any cooling cremes after I get lasered, no one at the clinic mentioned it to me.. Is this something I should be using?

Mary said...

After researching many places, I came upon Medspa. It had the most reasonable prices I'd seen, and on top of that, they have awesome specials all the time! Not only that, I found the staff to be wonderful and helpful and in all ways professional. I felt completely secure with the laser because they thoroughly explained everything about the procedure.

Laser Hair Removal

Nads said...

We were all the same in terms of searching the most effective and convenient hair removal products, this only proves that were aware not only with our beauty but also with our health. So to sum it all up. Just choose whats convenient for you. After all its your choice not ours. But any ways thanks to this blog, I found out new ideas behind hair removal.

Kent said...

I hve never expect that there is 100 for the kuryente. Separate cooling device is also utilised to further enhance your comfort.
Check ot out for mwnj,,,!!

Anonymous said...

Even though this looks like an old blog, I hope this helps. I have been trained in and performed laser hair removal, not with ALC, but moved to another state and took my daughter to ALC for laser hair removal. Although they initially sound as though they are very informed, I can ask the same question of three different technicians and the office manager and receive three different responses. Here's the truth of what I know about the settings, the double pass, the length of treatment that has been decribed by many of you who have posted here. If the laser is not turned up high enought, it will not damage the root of the hair enough to essentially "kill" the hair in that follicle. What it will do is make it weaker. Then when the hair grows back, it is lighter, thinner and fairer, and also more difficult now to actually treat. Thus, the reason why the longer your treatments have gone, the less likely you are to achieve good results. Whatever the technician says, a nice plump rootball is a nice plump root ball, whether on your face or legs or abdomen. This is the area of the hair follicle you are treating, that tech who said something about giving the laser something to grab onto was misinformed. It is the root ball that is being treated, not the shaft of the hair. Better to treat the hair properly the first pass, and get it good. In the three years I performed laser hair removal, I saw only one burn, (not mine) and the possibility does exist, but I was told by the technician at ALC that they have non-negotiable guidelines about how and when to increase the current delivered. When I explained the above mentioned treatment guidelines I was familiar with, she essentially blew me off, as if I was making it up. Unfortunately, I had already bought the contract. I am having to constantly fight with these people to turn up the laser so we get some results. They do not like me telling them that I wish them to do something different. I think that the education they receive when they are trained is such that they are used to saying, "Well, the face does take the longest" and "you can't really determine how long the total treament will take".
I will tell you that when you have an understanding of how to work the machine an observe the area you are treating as you are treating it, you absolutely can determine how long the overall treatment will take, and yes, you should be seeing results from the first treatment on, and every treatment thereafter. As a result of my experience with ALC, I would not recommend them to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Even though this looks like an old blog, I hope this helps. I have been trained in and performed laser hair removal, not with ALC, but moved to another state and took my daughter to ALC for laser hair removal. Although they initially sound as though they are very informed, I can ask the same question of three different technicians and the office manager and receive three different responses. Here's the truth of what I know about the settings, the double pass, the length of treatment that has been decribed by many of you who have posted here. If the laser is not turned up high enought, it will not damage the root of the hair enough to essentially "kill" the hair in that follicle. What it will do is make it weaker. Then when the hair grows back, it is lighter, thinner and fairer, and also more difficult now to actually treat. Thus, the reason why the longer your treatments have gone, the less likely you are to achieve good results. Whatever the technician says, a nice plump rootball is a nice plump root ball, whether on your face or legs or abdomen. This is the area of the hair follicle you are treating, that tech who said something about giving the laser something to grab onto was misinformed. It is the root ball that is being treated, not the shaft of the hair. Better to treat the hair properly the first pass, and get it good. In the three years I performed laser hair removal, I saw only one burn, (not mine) and the possibility does exist, but I was told by the technician at ALC that they have non-negotiable guidelines about how and when to increase the current delivered. When I explained the above mentioned treatment guidelines I was familiar with, she essentially blew me off, as if I was making it up. Unfortunately, I had already bought the contract. I am having to constantly fight with these people to turn up the laser so we get some results. They do not like me telling them that I wish them to do something different. I think that the education they receive when they are trained is such that they are used to saying, "Well, the face does take the longest" and "you can't really determine how long the total treament will take".
I will tell you that when you have an understanding of how to work the machine an observe the area you are treating as you are treating it, you absolutely can determine how long the overall treatment will take, and yes, you should be seeing results from the first treatment on, and every treatment thereafter. As a result of my experience with ALC, I would not recommend them to anyone.

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