I had researched LHR for years before actually trying it. I was skeptical after Softlight failed and the Ruby laser was found to damage darker skin. By December 2000 I had heard enough good things to reconsider. I chose a doctor on the forefront of treating darker-skinned patients. With a mix of optimism and skepticism, I underwent a series of treatments. My main concern was my back, where I had a moderate amount of hair, but I also had my chest and abs treated.
The doctor offered LHR in his office once per month, renting the machine from a former laser salesman now in business for himself. Both were quite knowledgeable about the procedure and forever probing the science behind it. I had six treatments (at $1000 per) with the Lyra and achieved mixed results. This laser has several advantages: it’s fast, not too painful and perfect for my medium-dark complexion. Initially I saw no permanent reduction but did like the long stretches of hairlessness, usually eight to ten weeks before regrowth.
After six treatments, I had approximately 35 percent reduction. I was ready to try a different approach. The doctor was no longer meticulous in his sweepings and I think he missed a lot of hairs. He was not used to treating such large areas as most of his laser patients were women with facial hair.
I found a laser center in Manhattan with a good reputation. After three treatments with Gentlelase I was impressed enough to start laser on some new areas.
My last treatment was 4 weeks ago. I’ve had a total of 13 treatments on my back, chest and abs and have seen approximately 90% reduction in these areas. The remaining hairs are sporadic and thin. The treatment has been least effective on my shoulders.
My arms have seen 50% reduction after four treatments. Regrowth is noticeably thinner.
LHR does work, but it takes a long time. For an area with aggressive growth, like the male torso, three to six treatments is unrealistic. I’ve achieved results because I went to a doctor and practitioner who understood the fine line between killing hair and damaging skin. They weren’t timid about cranking up the settings once they had treated me a few times and understood my skin, yet they were experienced enough to know where to draw the line. Obviously, if the amount of energy delivered isn’t high enough, there won’t be any permanent reduction. You have to be patient and commit to staying out the sun. It’s also expensive. I’ve spent $12,000 to date, but it’s the best investment I’ve made. I can now remove my shirt (at the beach, in the bedroom) with confidence, and it’s a great feeling. I suffered in silence for years before taking a proactive approach. My advice to others is to research LHR thoroughly and find an experienced practitioner who is in business for the right reasons. It can take a couple of years to see significant permanent results, but it is achievable.