First LightSheer Treatment: MALE FACIAL HAIR


#1

Hello.

First, I want to say thanks to Andrea for starting this forum. It has been an invaluable source of information in my battle to get rid of the unwanted hair on my face and the front of my neck. (beard, upperlip, goatee, the entire front neck, nose, in between/top of eyebrows).

By the time I am through with these treatments, I would like to eliminate all of the unwanted hair on my face, although I will definitely settle for less than 100% reduction: If I can just get a great deal of thinning and lightening, that is acceptable. My hair is ingrown, and in the last couple of years I haven’t been shaving every day (it hurts my face and causes more ingrowns if I don’t let my skin recover for a few days in between shaves). So I always look either clean shaven with a strong shadow, or like a crazy wolf-man that has bad hygene hasn’t shaved in a few days (in truth I am actually a really clean person, but it doesn’t look it when I got stubble all over my face!).

My final goal is that I basically don’t want to have a permanent shadow and still have to drag a razor over my face every couple of days just to not look like a wolf-man. It is not unusal if takes me 30 minutes to shave my face.

In addition to removing the regular male “facial hair”, I want to have the fine hairs on other parts of my face removed (like between the brows, on top of the brows, and on my nose and upper cheeks), but some of those may be too fine to remove using laser.

I had been researching this procedure for quite some time (mostly using the Internet), and a couple of months ago I started going around to a few doctors and “laser centers” around the area for consultations. I live in LA (just so you know).

The prices that I got quoted ranged from $900 per treatment (expensive side) to $1200 for a package of 5 treatments (cheap side). These prices were for full face and front neck using a variety of lasers (EpiLight, LightSheer, CoolGlide, a couple of IPL/FPL variants . . . )

One place gave me a package for $1200 for 5 treatments, and $200 for each touch up after the first five. They wanted to use a Nd:Yag laser, because they said that it would work well for my skin. (BTW, I am a type IV on the Fitzpatrick scale, and I have thick, coarse, black hair).

The more consultations I went to (and the more I read on the Internet), I realized that the more effective option for me was probably the LightSheer diode laser (by effective, I mean in terms of being adble to penetrate deeply enough to result in long-term or permanent reduction). It was probably gong to hurt a little more than some of the others (like the Yag), I thought. (Oh yes, it WAS going to hurt, I didn’t realize how much!)

So I found this doctor that gave me a price $1500 for 5 treatments, and $50 for each 15 minutes of touchup after that (for the next 10 years). I felt a little more comfortable around him than around lots of the other places I had been to. He answered my questions very thouroughly, and didn’t try to rush the consultation because I wasn’t paying him, and he was much more honest about the results.

After 5 treatments, I would hope that each touch up would last 15 minutes or less (I’d heard that a full face and front neck usually takes less than 30 minutes for the first treatment). I definitely wouldn’t mind going in every few months (like every 2 to 4) after the first five treatments for touchups, especially if I didn’t have to shave (or at least no where near as often!). The $50 cost for a touchup would be the same as buiying 2 or 3 12 packs of Mach3 razor blades (which is about what I would use in 3 or 4 months).

So I decided to do it! And I had my first treatment earier today.

The doctor used the LightSheer XC to treat my face and neck.

Before treatment, I applied the entire contents of a 5 g tube of EMLA onto my face. My doctor told me that the oclusive covering was not absolutely necessary, just apply a layer to my face and let it sit there for an hour or more. I remember reading somewhere that the longer you let it sit, the better it works. I let the first layer dry, and then I put the remaining EMLA on my upper lip (in a slightly thicker layer), becuase I was told that area would be pretty sensitive to the pain (boy was I glad I did that!)

When I got to the office, my face was definitely numb, and my uppper lip was most numb of any part of my face. The doctor had me rinse the EMLA off right before the treatment started.

He put some sort of clear lotion on my face to help the laser handpiece glide over my skin,

and then he started! Using 23 J and 100ms on the LightSheer XC.

At the first ZAP, I can honsetly say I was not expecting anywhere NEAR that much pain, and I am usually not a sissy when it comes to pain (my wisdom tooth extraction was quite tolerable compared to this).

When he got to the upper lip, it didn’t seem to hurt as much as I thought it would, but my chin , jawline, and neck HURT LIKE HELL. Some of the zaps literally brought tears to my eyes and caused a little clear mucous to come out of my nose (ewww!).

Areas with little or fine hair (like my nose and forhead), barely hurt at all, but areas that had a lot of hair (remember my hair is thick and dense!) hurt so much more than I would have ever expected! The smell was definitely like burnt popcorn, and it made me a little nauseous during the procedure!

Next time, I am going to ask the doctor if maybe I should use two 5 g tubes of EMLA (he gave me five 5g tubes for $45). Next time, I’m gonna put some extra on the jawline, neck, chin, and other areas that I had neglected a little. I guess the amount that I put on the upper lip was good, because that area hurt very little compared to what I thought it would feel like (and there are some coarse, dense hairs there!).

I might even order a 30g tube of the Ela-Max off the internet (it seems to be a little cheaper) and use a lot (like 10g or more) on the sensitive areas. I don’t know if it would work better or worse than EMLA, but I guess I won’t know unless I try. I really wish I had used my sense and put a lot on this morning on ALL of the areas and just used two 5 g tubes.

Could I use both ELMA and Ela-Max together or would that be a waste? I figure that each one would pretty much do the same, but I basically want my face to be as numb as possible, because it DOES hurt like hell. Hopefully, I will have some hair reduction this time around and there will be less hairs to zap next time, so it will hurt less. I think the doctor will raise the fluence by two or three to around 25 or 26 J. (I think I will take the lower number, just cause it hurts!). During my consultation he said that he usually likes to raise the fluence 2 or 3 every treatment, which means at the end of 5 treatments, I should be in the lower 30s. He didn’t think my type IV skin could handle much more than that!

During the procedure the doctor said that if I were having body parts treated (as opposed to my face) it would probably be much less painful–the face is just really sensitive, and the thick hairs on my face are going to absorb that laser energy, and I will definitely feel some pain. And I did!! Don’t ever let anybody tell you there isn’t ANY pain when treating the face. Especially, if your hair is thick and dense like mine, you WILL feel it on your face! It definitely felt like horrible torture to me on some of the areas!

Also, after the treatment, I looked in the mirror and almost freaked out!

There were a whole bunch of really nasty looking burnt hairs all over my skin. I tried to rinse them off with cold water (without rubbing), but it really didn’t help. If I wanted to, I could probably slide them out one by one. I do look really silly right now ! You can’t tell from far away, it just looks like I have stubble, but if you’re like 10 feet away or closer it looks really weird and scary. I don’t really want to mess with my face or try to pull them out right now, I think I will just try to wait it out and let my skin heal! I would definitely feel weird if I had to go to work or go out somewhere today. I wouldn’t walk around in public looking like this with burnt hair all over my face! Also, the doctor had me put on Aloe Vera gel on my face right after treatment. It felt good and stopped the burning a little bit.

I drove home with the AC on full blast pointing at my face (it would start burning whenever I turned the AC off), and then went home and sat in front of a fan for a few hours.

I have noticed that there is some reddening of my neck and face. My face looks like it has a bunch of red spots on it. I hope these don’t cause any permanent scars, and I hope that they go away soon. I guess only time will tell! I think they are fading a little already (it has been over twelve hours), so that is a good sign. Hopefully the redness will go away in 3 to 4 days and I can try shaving or gently pulling the burnt hairs out!

I also brought some SPF 30 sunscreen that I will wear every day from now on.

Has anybody had any similar experiences with male facial hair (esp using the LightSheer)?

If these red spots don’t dissapear for a while, does that mean that I won’t be able to handle the fluence being any higher next time? I hope that the next time I have a little less hair so that it will hurt less even if the doctor goes a little higher (like 25J), but I can’t walk around with funny red spots on my face for 10 months until this is done.

BTW, I’m going back in about 8 weeks (my doctor seems to prefer 2 months between treatments instead of 4 or 6 like some others).

Anyway, that was my first treatment experience. I’m just waiting for these darned hairs to fall off, the areas where the hair just got completly singed off look really good (my face hasn’t been that smooth since I was 16), but my neck and underneath my chin have those burnt hairs all over them!
I hope this treatment has done some permanent stuff (20-30% would be nice!). I’m definitely in this for the long run, and I don’t mind putting up with some days where my face feels like it’s on fire (as long as its every couple months, and even less frequently as the treatments progress, and as long as I use a LOT of the numbing cream next time!).

These burned do hairs look REALLY WEIRD!!

I think I’m gonna take a shower in a few minutes (with lukewarm or cold water , NOT hot water). I might not even let my face touch the water, because I don’t want to irritate it anymore!

Ouch.

Zap


#2

Great report. I am condsidering beard thinning removal with the Lightsheer. My tech warned me that it will be a lot more painful, even though lower fluences are being used. I have had part of my neck done and even that hurts like hell, especially near the collar bone. The parts of my neck that were treated responded very well.

I have had Lightsheer treatments on my chest, back, and upper arms with excellent results. I have had those areas treated at 45J.

Don’t worry, the redness will go away it is not permanent. It sounds like you have responded very well to the laser.

RJC2001


#3

Hello Zap

The redness and bumps will go away, since this is your first time they might persist for up to two days. The first round of treatment I had left me looking like I had chicken pox. I have had the adams apple and collar bone areas treated and they do hurt a lot more then most of the other areas of the body. I to am interested in having the beard done in the future but first want to have the body finished off, not to mention that the funds are being drained at a fast rate. Please keep posting your findings and results so those of us considering beard removal can come to an informed decision.

Happy holidays

Chris


#4

So when I looked at myself in the mirror today I saw some . . . unusual . . . things.

First, there were a few little white bumps in a couple of places: in between my eyebrows, and a few on my cheeks and chin. They look kind of like tiny whiteheads (this may be what they are).

My face also felt pretty dry, so I applied the sunscreen that my doctor sold me. It is supposed to be made for “post laser” and does a good job of hydrating without being all greasy and stuff. My face hasn’t been this dry in a LONG time, it’s almost as if I had put a bunch of benzoyl peroxide all over my face!

I hope these little white things go away. From what I understand, they are caused by the follicle being blocked by whatever it is . . .

I know that medicines like Retin-A are supposed to help, but I don’t think I can use anything like that until after all of my laser treatments are done (that may be a year or more!).

I hope these things go away!

Also, I have noticed that my shadow is once again starting to become prevalent (no part of my face is baby smooth like it was yesterday). I think this is just the hair shedding itself slowly. I’ve heard it might take up to TWO WEEKS! I guess after a couple of more days I will try to shave (gently) to start removing these damned burnt up hairs that are on my face.

If I had shaved closer (like against the grain) before I went in, do any of you guys think that the burnt up hair might not be as prevalent on the face? My doctor told me to shave the night before, and I did so (although rather gently).

Maybe I should shave the day of next time and try to make it as close as possible. I have a strong shadow anyway, and I think that’s all the doctor needs to see in order to treat the areas. He zapped the laser in a pretty organized fashion around my face, he seemed to have a system down for doing it and not missing spots.

Anyway, I just wanted to post an update!

–ZAP


#5

You’re supposed to shave before the Lightsheer treatment. I don’t know if it matters if you shave the night before or in the morning of the day of treatment. I got the best results on my chest and arms shaving with a Mach3 Turbo the night before. You should shave as close as possible because after treatment you wont be able to shave for a few days and hair above the skin may hinder treatment and cause burns.

RJC2001


#6

Thanks for your feedback, Zap.
I only have “male” facial hair on my upperlip and some goatee, and I think I might go for it after I complete other areas.


#7

I had my fifth treatment (Lightsheer) on my face about four weeks ago, and have been pleased with the results so far. I started at 15 joules and am up to about 32 joules now. The only thing is that for the first few treatments you may have noticeable spotting, since only about 20% of the hair can be “killed” at once.
My upper lip was the most sensitive, so I got injections of novacain on the inside of my mouth from a local dentist. Man did that help! You might want to ask your dentist if he would do that for areas around the chin. As the density gets thinner, the pain should be less. Glad you picked the Lightsheer - I tried the Epilight several years ago, and all that it did is leave a (tissue fallout) scar on part of the upper lip. Andrea is right, it requires a lot of patience.

Good luck!


#8

Zap, that is an absolutely first-rate report! Thanks for all the detail, and it sounds from your description as if you had a good practitioner!

As you know, facial hair is a big challenge, but if you stick to your plan, you should have a satisfactory outcome.

Do keep us updated, especially on the side effects. I’m glad the information here helped you make an informed decision, and here’s wishing you a speedy and easy completion of treatment! :grin:


#9

Thanks for the update, Chris, and keep 'em coming! :wink:


#10

Another UPDATE!!

It has been almost 10 days since my FIRST laser treatment, and I’m a little bit dissapointed with my short term results right now.

Shaving really sucks. My skin seems to have not turned over properly, so there are a BUNCH of ingrown hairs (they’re just covered by a little skin), and my face is crusting (just dead skin, nothing else). It’s really hard to shave, because the razor (Mach 3) seems to just “skid over” the hairs (no matter how hard I reasonably press down). If I wait a few days, then shave against the grain, I still can get everything, and my skin reacts in red bumps and whiteheads all over the place.

On the other hand, I do notice that a little bit of hair is shedding (not all over it yet). But so far I haven’t had one day of complete clearance yet (I hope I have at least a few). I may have been treated at too low a fluence, right? 23J isn’t all that much.

I’m gonna wait another 10 days or so, and then call my doctor. A lot can happen between now and then.



#11

I’ve only been getting treatment on my back/shoulders with LightSheer, but my tech is insistent that I avoid the sun before and after treatment. How do you guys manage to avoid sunlight on your faces?

Just curious.


#12

Sunlight can cause serious discoloration of the skin lasting several months. To avoid this possible side effect, you must use a sunblock on the treated area, especially in the weeks before and after treatment. I recommend a minimum SPF 15 and preferably SPF 45.


#13

I haven’t had any discoloration yet, but I use some pretty serious sunblock that is meant for post laser. It has some pretty intense other ingredients to moisturize and stuff.

I’ve noticed some more hair sheding today, and I think I can see that by the next treatment my problem of having ingrown hairs might be gone.

The hair is in some sense “thinner” or “lighter”. It just seems a little bit less shadowy (even when I don’t shave). I think I might even look a little bit younger (there is some patching, but it’s not drastic enough to look super-unnatural unless you really know me and have noticed the unform density of my beard before).

Maybe in the next few days I might actually have a lot more shedding.

So a question I have: When you get zapped, and the hair grow out, are they actually still growing, or does the length of hair under the skin just become disconnected and grow out. If that is the case, that means my hairs were ingrown like an inch or more (because at least that much has grown out!). It seems crazy to me that the hair KEEPS growing after getting zapped and then starts to fall out. Wouldn’t it happen right away? It is doesn’t then I had some seriously ingrown hairs! I thought ingrowns were JUST under the skin, not way deep inside.

just my 0.02 of questions.


#14

1st of all, the mach 3 is a terrible and over rated razer. i like the shick extreme 3 MUCH better. but being thats it a razor i still got burns so i just use it under and on my goatie area. ive found happiness in the panasonic linear electric razor. i find if youre just a little agressive with it you can get a nice shave.


#15

I found the Extreme3 to be mediocre, no contest with either the Mach3 or the Mach3 Turbo. For me it seemed to drag and pull more. Results vary from person to person I guess.

I tried the Panasonic Linear and it’s a decent shaver but the screens seemed to wear out very fast and also it got very loud after about a week of use. I did like the 13000 RPM operating speed though. It was going through screens too fast so I returned it. I have had much better results with the Braun Synchro. It saves closer for me and the screens are just about bulletproof.

RJC2001


#16

Zap, some hairs can be as deep as a centimeter or more, but few would ever be miuch deeper than about half an inch (2 cm).

Hairs that responded to treatment are shocked into stopping their growth cycle. They disconnect from the growth matrix and start getting pushed out of the skin.