3rd Laser Treatment Hurt Like H###

I had my third treatment on a Candela GentleLase at 12 J on Tuesday and for the first time it hurt! The first two treatments were nearly painfree and there was no redness. I was shocked by how much this treatment hurt; I will no longer make fun of the men who complain!

I took pictures and updated my journal. If anyone wants to see what your skin may look like immediately after treatment, I took these photos at the center.

http://www.laserhairremovaljournal.com/J…-5-06/index.htm

thanks for the update. yes, 10 joules was very low, that’s why it didn’t hurt much. 12 joules is actually still low. it would make sense to be treated at higher settings for faster more effective results.

I understand my settings are low, but I’m terrified to go up b/c of the pictures posted in this forum of treatments gone bad.

most of those pictures are not from hair removal treatments and by people treating tanned and type V and above skin. With your type II-III skin, you most likely won’t get any reaction up to 18-20 joules. You can do test spots to get an idea if you’re really worried. There have been no posts from anyone with light skin with burns here. And even the GentleLASE manufacturer guide recommends 14-16 joules on skin types II-III, and they’re of course on the low side just in case. But of course, it’s up to you. I just don’t want you to come back after 6 treatments saying that there is still a bunch of hair “growing back” when you chose to be treated with only 10 joules – setting that doesn’t always actually kill the hair permanently. Everyone here who has been treated with GentleLASE with your skin type, including me, has been treated at 14-25 joules with no adverse reactions. The very few people that did get any kind if burning you’ve read about were grossly overtreated and were tanned and/or dark-skinned. You would know if your skin is burning during the treatment:) Of course, the final decision is up to you.

Thank you for the reply and explanation.

I’m not actually choosing those low settings, the Tech at Ideal Image is recommending them. During my second treatment I asked to increase the setting and the tech said not to b/c I did see some results from the first treatment and there was no reason to risk burning. I’ve actually called Ideal Image and asked them about my settings. They said I would have to talk to my tech.

hmmm… I’m beginning to not like Ideal Image. I haven’t read anything negative about them on this forum, except high prices, but now i am very concerned. You are not the first person to tell me my settings are too low.

When I did talk to the Ideal Image 1-800 number the lady suggested I tell the tech that I saw no results and she would increase the settings. I guess I’ll try that, unfortunately my next appt isn’t for weeks!

Have you heard of Ideal Image not treating patient properly before?

I haven’t heard anything one way or the other about them, except high prices. But with most clinics you have to ask for what you want in this business as most techs are just not aware of what’s best. Just because you see shedding, doesn’t mean you’re seeing permanent results. You may be just weakening the hair. The problem with that sometimes is that once it gets finer, it will be even harder for laser to target it. It’s in your best interests to get treated at at least average manufacturer recommended settings for fastest results for your money and that would be at least 14-16 joules for your skin type. That will not burn you. There isn’t much difference between 12 and 18 on your skin. If you were going to 25, there would be. Of course it’s in THEIR best interest to treat you as low as possible to avoid any potential lawsuits. I’m sure they don’t even want any extra redness for a few days so that the customer doesn’t complain at all. However, that’s not usually the best case for actually achieving results, which is what you want in the first place. Redness around the follicles for a few days is actually a good sign. And the fact that you weren’t feeling much is the first sign that settings were low. Ask at least for manufacturer recommended settings. They should have a chart.

You’ve seen my journal (http://lanilhr.livejournal.com) and I was treated with a setting of 20 I believe (it’s in the post where I got the first treatment)

Yes it hurt like hell but I had no damage to my skin and trust me I have sensitive skin on my face >_<

I’m probably going to ask the tech to up the setting next visit though so hopefully it will prove to be just as harmless to my skin…

Thanks Lani, It’s nice to see pics of someone going through the same treatment (same laser) I am. I am going to insist on at least 18J the next time I go in.

I really appreciate the help I am receiving from everyone on this forum.

A quick update – I am shedding well from my third treatment. I haven’t finished shedding, as this is only 11 days since my last treatment. I do see pepperspots and hope they will also shed. I don’t think not shaving after the treatment has enhanced my shedding process.

I am having laser done at Ideal Image on my underarms. Not sure what setting they are using, I’m very pale. But after 5 treatments, I still have a lot of re-growth. To the point of where I’m shaving every day.

can you find out what settings they are using? it seems that they have a trend of treating at settings that are too low to kill hair.

LAgirl - I went to Ideal Image on Tuesday to have two spots touched up, where they missed some hair. I spoke to the tech for a long time about my treatments. She was not the tech that did my first treatment, but she did my second. She showed me their guidelines:

Using the 18mm spot size (used on me) For type III skin they start at 10 go to 20.

For type II skin they start at 14 go to 20.

The tech told me that the first tech labeled me as type III, but she thought I was type II. She said if she would have started me she would have set it at 14 J not 10 — great now that I’ve had three treatments.

So I asked if she could go up to 16 or at least do a spot at 16 now, so my next treatment would be at 16. She agreed to go to 14 fo the touch-ups, but advised me againts 16. She told me a horrible story of a type III patient of hers who insisted on moving up from 14 to 16. The lady ended up with burns on her thigh. (only one thigh was burned although both legs were treated). She insisted that 14 was a very powerful setting and I would see good results.

I’m very upset that I’ve had 3 treatments at such a low setting. I came to this forum before signing up with Ideal Image, but I couldn’t find any negative information on them. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough.

What kind of experiences have people had with Ideal Image??

14 joules should be ok. that’s the minimum you should be treated at I would say. while you’re there next time, ask for test spots at 16 and 18 joules so they can see that it won’t cause burns. that way, they will feel ok about going up later. there is no reason to start low and increase to 20. if they think they can eventually treat you at 20, there is no reason not to do that right away, or at least 16-18.

FYI I was treated on my first session with a 12mm spot size @ 22 joules

I was treated on my second session with the 12mm spot size @ 24 joules

No negative effects from the higher setting that I can tell so far, though it’s only been a few days. The redness faded after 24 hours or so same as before. Next time we are going up to 26 so I will let you know how that is as well.

FYI I was treated on my first session with a 12mm spot size @ 22 joules

I was treated on my second session with the 12mm spot size @ 24 joules

No negative effects from the higher setting that I can tell so far, though it’s only been a few days. The redness faded after 24 hours or so same as before. Next time we are going up to 26 so I will let you know how that is as well.

A lot depends on your skin type and your hair color and density. One thing people don’t appreciate is that there is a threshold effect. In other words, if you are at or below the threshold there is no effect. But exceeding the threshold causes a reaction.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know in advance exactly where that threshold is for any particular person. Plus it moves up and down with changes in skin pigmentation and any number of other factors. I’ve actually seen people come in one day, get treated at 18 joules, come in on another day (with no skin darkening) get treated at the same setting and have a significant reaction.

Something else that most laser operators don’t appreciate or perhaps understand, is that the lasers calibrate their settings based on a relatively insensitive light meter that is allowed to vary around 10%. In other words, the joules can be off by 2 joules at 20 joules and still be within acceptable norms according to the FDA. This means that one day you come in and have a treatment at 20 joules but you really only got 18 joules. Another day you come in and have the same treatment at 20 joules, but you really got 22 joules. It is just one more thing that makes things interesting. And probably the reason that one client reacted at the same settings.

[quote]
Something else that most laser operators don’t appreciate or perhaps understand, is that the lasers calibrate their settings based on a relatively insensitive light meter that is allowed to vary around 10%. In other words, the joules can be off by 2 joules at 20 joules and still be within acceptable norms according to the FDA. This means that one day you come in and have a treatment at 20 joules but you really only got 18 joules. Another day you come in and have the same treatment at 20 joules, but you really got 22 joules. It is just one more thing that makes things interesting. And probably the reason that one client reacted at the same settings.

Wow, that is scary!

Wow, that is scary!

Not scary. Just what makes this an art and not something mechanical.

This is the reason that people on this forum constantly state that what is most important is experience. Several years at the very least.