So, as a trans person who transitioned a long time ago, I have long been critical of laser hair removal as I’ve felt it was overhyped and under-delivered, especially as I had some pretty bad experiences myself being burned by an Alexandrite due to a poorly trained “technician.” This was around 2002, on my underarms, and I committed at that time to sticking with electrolysis only (I had already almost completely removed my facial and done my eyebrows, feet, etc. with electrolysis by that time.)
Fast forward to now. My facial hair and the other areas I treated with electrolysis are as clear as ever, but like a lot of women I hate shaving my legs/bikini area and end up with a lot of ingrown hair and razor bumps. Though I am currently undergoing electrolysis on my tummy for some relatively fine but darker hair, I came to accept that having my legs and bikini line done is just not possible with my current budget and timetable. I finally decided to look into laser hair removal for these areas, and came across an ad for a local place that does it at prices that I found VERY reasonable. She uses the Lightsheet Duet, and is trained as a cosmetologist and not a physician.
Normally I would advise people to run away from the combination of non-physician provider and low prices, but I am not the average consumer and felt that due to my own background in skin care and my long experience in researching hair removal I could take the chance with minimal risk. My operator may be “only” a skin care specialist, but laser hair removal is ALL she does or has done for many years; quite different from going to a chain and getting a “laser tech” with a week experience, or getting a different person every time. On my first visit she did test patches using both the large vacuum handpiece and the smaller 9X9, and two weeks later I had my first treatment of my upper legs and bikini line.
For my upper legs we used the vacuum handpiece and did 10.5 joules. It stung a bit in a few areas but wasn’t too bad. For the inner bikini/perineal area we did the small handpiece at 25 joules, which I think was too low. I got decent shedding on the upper legs and very good shedding on my bikini line, but poor shedding on my perineal area. I went back a few weeks later to have my lower legs treated, and we did 11.5 joules on those and did some test spots at 30 joules and 33 joules on the bikini/perineal area to see how I would handle a more aggressive treatment. I’m a Fitzpatrick II, so I came out fine and on my second session we are going to use these higher settings with the smaller handpiece and the 11.5 joule setting on the larger handpiece. My lower legs have yet to shed, but I feel I will have good results on them thanks to the combination of dark hair and very pale skin.
My laser tech was honest and told me not to expect to be completely hair free. She added that she has not had to touch her legs in six years, but she does a yearly touch up on her underarms and abdomen. Honestly, if I can get rid of most of the dark/coarse stuff I can have the few remaining stragglers done with electrolysis. My main goal is to eradicate the “prickles” I feel even right after shaving my legs and to hopefully reduce or eliminate the razor bumps. I will keep updating this as my treatment continues, and we will see if my gamble pays off.