At the request of laserhater… Here is the long version of my story. I will post updates in the same thread.
From February through July, 2004, I had five treatments on the nape of my neck with the Candela GentleLASE laser to reduce the hair growth there. The intended goal was that I would not need to trim the hair in between haircuts (3-5 weeks). I had one treatment with the GentleLASE on my upper arms in an attempt to reduce the effects of the skin condition I have there known as keratosis pilaris. This is a condition similar to acne, except instead of plugging up with sebum, the sebaceous gland/hair follicle plugs up with keratin. One theory is that if the hair follicle is destroyed, the gland will be less likely to plug up.
I experienced no significant regrowth in between the laser treatments on my neck (4-6 weeks apart). The single treatment on my upper arms seemed to help the skin condition for about three months. Within three to six months of having the last treatment on my neck, I noticed significant hair growth–worse than before I started laser. I began shaving the back of my neck every other day to hide the growth, which went further down my neck than it ever was before the laser treatment. It appeared to be normal hair, just covering more of the area than before. I have also sprouted a few thick, light-colored hairs on my earlobes–I am not sure if the area of inflammation from my neck extended this far, or if these are a result of normal aging (I am a 23-year-old male). In addition, the area on my upper arms which was treated ONCE with the laser began to grow thick, dark, wiry hairs, which were not present before the treatment. There are a few on the edges of my shoulders, as well.
I read these forums with great interest, and went into the laser treatments knowing full well that they might not work, but I didn’t expect to end up worse off than I was before. It was not until this month that I garnered up the courage to visit an electrologist. If I lived close to James, Dee, or Fino, I would have gone a lot sooner!
My consultation appointment was 10/13/2005. The pain was not as bad as I had feared. The electrologist had free time after the consultation and worked for about an hour and a half using flash thermolysis, nearly clearing the nape of my neck, before it was time to close the office. The area was swollen and pink for a couple of days, and I only had one scab. I had my second appointment on 10/21/2005. The electrologist used flash again, but explained that she would like to switch to blend once there were a smaller number of hairs to treat. She didn’t go completely to the hairline, because I want to get another haircut before doing that, and there are a few hairs that I think were obscured by the collar of my shirt that weren’t zapped. Nonetheless, it’s a huge improvement. It wasn’t that painful, but I don’t see how people can fall asleep during treatment, either. Maybe my tolerance will increase, but right now I can’t see doing it for more than an hour or so at a time either.
My immediate goal is to clear my neck. I would also like to get my arms and shoulders back to where they were before laser treatment, but I am focusing on the neck first. I’m a fairly hairy guy, and have hair just about everywhere except the upper back. Long-term, assuming I have the time, money, and inclination, there are other areas I would like done. I am waiting to see some long-term results with this electrologist before I make a concerted effort to do areas other than the neck.
My next appointment is 11/1.
Edit: I am keeping an Excel spreadsheet of hours logged, notes, and what areas were treated. My electrologist charges $70 per hour. Here is what I have so far:
Date Hours Area 10/14/05 1.5 Nape 10/21/05 1.0 Nape 11/01/05 ?