My LHR diary with Gentlemax, tan skin, black hair

After researching for what feels like forever I finally started my laser journey. I’m going to try to document it in this thread. I am Hispanic and Italian with medium tan skin and very dark hair. I am a Fitz type IV. I wanted to start with full legs, Brazilian bikini and underarms. After going to 5 different consultations in the city I live in and being very disappointed I finally chose a place in the LA area that has the machine I want and a nurse that was SO great and knowledgeable. I frequently visit my family in LA so it’s not such an inconvenience. It’s not ideal but it is a wonderful place and the prices absolutely cannot be beat.

I had my first treatment about a week ago. My LHR tech used the Yag setting on the Gentlemax at 18 joules and the 18mm spot size. I don’t know the pulse setting. She wanted to start conservatively and she assured me that since my hair is so dense and dark I will see results. Since the price was so good I decided to try my low back even though the hair there is fine. I am not expecting much but if I see any difference at all it will be worth it to me. She used 22 joules on my low back since the hair is more fine. It wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected but it did hurt a bit.

Some of the hairs are just starting to come loose and I can pull them out with minimal resistance. I see a few tiny bald spots on my knee and my armpit. I have not shaved so I can see the shedding. I can’t wait!

Thanks for your post. Hope you’ll keep it up.

It would be great if you could find out the pulse width. It matters a lot. The lowest possible on that machine is 3ms.

The max on 18mm is 30J. So 18J is relatively low for a skin type IV. If she thinks you can handle 22J on 18mm without burning, then you may want to ask for that to be used.

There is no advantage to starting at lower settings. It will only mean you’ll need more treatments overall since the hair will shed, but there won’t be enough heat applied to disable the hair permanently. Treating at max settings you can handle will guarantee this happens.

I was going to request higher settings but she seemed so knowledgeable I deferred to her opinion. She assured me that with my hair I would see results at 18 joules but she acknowledged that 16 was the lowest so 18 was a pretty low setting. Next time I’ll ask for 22 and higher the time after that. I’ll also find out the pulse. I’m sure she will do it since she treated my low back at 22 joules with no problems at all.

It’s so weird that I can pull out my armpit hairs and they just come out!

Hey LAgirl, when did you move to NY? I just noticed that. Where in NY are you and how do you like it compared to LA?

I moved a bit over a year ago and love it as I thought I would. I live in Manhattan (East Village). I like the people in NY better than in LA :slight_smile: And I like being able to walk everywhere and have numerous restaurants and bars all around me. :slight_smile:

Yeesh, if I had amazing NY-style restaurants within walking distance of my house I’d get sooo fat so quickly. But NY food is expensive, so maybe that would be my saving grace from turning into a total piggy. :stuck_out_tongue:

NY restaurants fit any budget due to lots of competition. There is so much to choose from. And lunch special are great all over.

Every clinic I went to for Laser hair removal , wanted to use the lowest setting possible on the first few treatments(For Legs).I wish they would read this forum ! It’s so frustrating!

Well, their point of view is different. They would rather undertreat and avoid dissatisfied customers who complain of pain as well as potential lawsuits. If they undertreat, they can keep telling you everything is going as normal and it will be 1.5 years before you complain and this is after they have all your money.

Oh yeah, from their POV, it’s definitely better to undertreat. Safer for them, and makes them more money. The place I go to for my bikini line was the first place of all my consultations that agreed to treat with a higher setting based on me telling them that I can handle it. They took my word for it since I treat my legs at the max settings and have yet to experience even the slightest pinkness or reaction from any treatments.

I had the same experience. The doctor I was treated by knew that I researched hair removal and we talked about it a lot. So he trusted me when I asked for specific settings. From others’ posts here from those who went to him, it doesn’t seem he was as open with them.

Caligirl, how much are you paying for each area? I got treated at 18mm/18J/10ms on my bikini area as well and had shedding within 3 days. Five weeks later I’m still practically hair free so the settings seemed to work great for me. Please keep us posted on your progress :slight_smile:

I’m not really paying by the area. They normally do a package of 3, really it’s buy two treatments at full price and get one free. Full legs is $550 each or $1050 for three treatments. They were having a spring special and they quoted me three full leg sessions for $700, three Brazilians for $250 and three underarms for $200. They added the low back for $1200 total for three treatments on all 4 areas. They basically threw in my low back for free.

I am at a week and a half now and I’m only shedding a little bit. I understand shedding takes place between 1.5 weeks and 3 weeks. My underarms have shed almost half the hairs. My bikini area looks like it hasn’t shed at all although I noticed today I was able to pull out some hairs with little resistance. My legs have only shed a tiny amount. I hope to see dramatic shedding in the next week and a half. If not I’m going to ask for another free treatment when I’m back in LA in 2 weeks and I’ll show them my legs since I haven’t shaved. They will have quite an eyeful if I show them my legs after not shaving for 3 weeks!!!

It’s fine to pull hairs out if there is no resistance. Scrubbing with a loofa and exfoliating helps too.

I am exactly 2 weeks post treatment and I am not satisfied with my shedding at all. I just called and spoke to my LHR nurse to explain my progress and ask for my settings so next time we can substantially increase them. I initially thought she treated me at 18 joules but I was wrong.

The settings she used exactly 2 weeks ago are as follows:
Full legs, Brazilian bikini and underarms all treated at 18 mm spot size, 22 joules and 10 pulse
Low back treated at 18 mm spot size, 22 joules and 3 pulse.

I started shedding after a week mostly under my arms. Today is two weeks post treatment and I have not shaved at all so that I could see the shedding easily. My underarm hair is about 75% gone except that there is a strip of hair I think she missed. My leg hair is about 25% gone. My bikini area is only about 10% gone. My low back has moderate shedding but it’s sort of hard to see back there.

What would be good settings for next time? I want to increase the joules and decrease the pulse. I’m a type 4 with medium tan skin and very coarse, dense and dark hair that is visible even when I’m shaved. Except for my low back which has finer dark hair not as dense as my legs but still fairly dense for a female low back. I tolerated my first treatment very well with almost no after effects.

We can’t advise on settings like this. They need to test what you can HANDLE safely. The highest you can handle is best.

This machine goes down to 3ms in pulse and up to 30J on 18mm.

Leg hair shedding is hard to see. Lots of times that hair remains stuck in follicles and just doesn’t grow as usual. It doesn’t always shed in the true sense of the word. But bikini should be same as underarms.

Can you explain pulse? That is something I am still not totally clear on. From what I think I gathered from my laser tech’s comments lower pulse is for finer hair. What exactly is the pulse and what does it do? How does it affect treatment?

Shorter pulse width is most effective on any type of hair. It’s basically a count of how close together the bursts of heat are applied. MS stands for milliseconds. Longer pulse is basically only used to avoid burning darker skin because less heat is applied at once. For light skin, it’s not necessary. That’s why GentleLASE pulse width is fixed at 3ms.

Today is 3 weeks after my first treatment. My legs shed more in the last week. It shed in long stripes. It looked pretty crazy. I would say that about half of the hair is gone from my legs, maybe a little more than half. My bikini area shed a little more but not by much. There is still a LOT of hair down there. My left underarm now has raised, red dots on the follicles and they are starting to scab. Is this a normal side effect? They sort of hurt.

I finally shaved my lower legs. I couldn’t stand the hair anymore!

Striping is a sign of not overlapping when covering the area. I think you should come in and ask for a touchup. It’d be nice to have some of this striping/growth to show.

No, you shouldn’t have any red dots as side effects. Can you post a photo? Could it be irritation from a deodorant? If it’s discoloration, it may be slight pigmentation. You can address it with the clinic to adjust the settings.

I don’t think the striping was from lack of overlap yet. The stripes were far apart and then the hairless stripes widened and the hair stripes shrank as the hair began to shed more. Does that make sense? I’m going to monitor the upper legs that I didn’t shave to make sure I’m left without any stripes at all. After 3 weeks I’m surprised to still be in the shedding stage. But you’re right. If I have any stripes left clearly it is from lack of overlap.

As for my armpits it might be deodorant irritation and totally unrelated to LHR. I was already having problems with that before but it seemed to have gone away. Then after my treatment I got raised bumps that turned red after a while and now they are irritated.