This forum has been very helpful to me (thanks, Andrea!), so I decided to register and share my recent experience with IPL hair removal.
Shaving my legs and underarms has been the bane of my existence for years and years…razor bumps, ingrown hair. When I shaved, I would have to shave every other day to avoid stubble. I started waxing on an exclusive basis about 7 years ago. However, I still had bumps and ingrown hair, and in the summer I had to wax every other week, with the second week showing an unacceptable amount of “grow back” hair. What a mess.
I discovered Tend Skin through this forum. Tend Skin helped more than anything else I tried, but it did not solve the problem. It certainly can’t solve the problem of hair growing back too fast.
Earlier this summer, I decided to do the IPL treatment on my face for cosmetic purposes(6 treatments, 1 treatment every 3 weeks for sun damage). During the course of the treatments, I learned that the same IPL machine can be used on a different setting for the purpose of “permanent hair reduction.” The operator told me that it works better for some people than others. After talking with a young woman who tried it and was pleased with it, I decided to go for it.
The operator told me that, generally, it takes about 4-6 treatments over a 12-18 month period to obtain the final results. I decided to do lower legs and underarms (I have almost no hair on my thighs – go figure).
The operator (Jeanette) told me to grow the hair out as much as possible. I let it grow for 1 month, and it drove me crazy. Then it was time for my first treatment.
First, Jeanette cut all the hair very short with small scissors. Then she placed a topical anasthetic on my skin, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. For both lower legs and underarms, the procedure took about 4 1/2 hours, including preparation. Yes, it hurt, but it was not at all unbearable. At one point, I actually fell asleep. The cost for this one treatment was $500.
When the treatment was over, my legs were tender, a little red in some places, but nothing too bad at all. The hair was singed, so that – when I ran my hands over my legs – it felt nappy or nubby. Jeanette told me to wait for about 10 days, and then to return to have the treated areas waxed (included in the cost).
During the 10 days, I couldn’t stand the feel of my legs. I was very disappointed that no nubs or hair “fell out.” At last, it was time for the waxing.
What a surprise! After having the treated areas waxed, my legs and underarms felt as smooth as my inner thigh. My legs and underarms are still smooth, with no visible hair, and the treatment took place 4 weeks ago!
Jeanette says that the hair will grow back, and I’ll probably need another treatment in another 3 to 4 months, but she wants me to wait as long as possible. I am not supposed to wax until after my next treatment, although it is permissible to shave.
Am I convinced that this will work and that I will be permanantly rid of this hair? No, I am too cynical and I have lived too long for that. But, I have to say, I am cautiously optimistic and I am even a little excited. I have never, ever been hair-free for this long in my entire life.
If it helps anyone, I have fair, olive skin (Irish and Slavic ancestry), and dark fine hair on my legs and underarms. Jeanette tells me that the IPL can be used at different settings for different skin/hair color combinations.
As I stated earlier, body hair has made me miserable. I always wore hose in the summer, because of razor bumps, etc. I am certain IPL will not work for everyone, but I at least want to share my experience and “give back” to this board. For anyone who is interested, I will update this post over the next year when I have additional treatments.
Good luck to everyone!