Ok here goes. I will try and fill you readers in on my experiences with removal of hair from most areas on my body using both laser and electrolysis.
First some back ground information;
I am currently 32 years old, male, light skin (Fitz 1 - 2) with mostly dark hair, thou some of them are red brown tinted too.
I started my hair removal odyssey at the beginning of 2002 at the age of 30.
Near my 30th birthday I started to notice that my once controllable (truly brushable) and decent looking body hair had decided to reach the point were I was looking like a bear. Hair had reached all the way up my back and was starting to cover my shoulders and lower neck, merging with my beard. It also made its presence known when dressed in business casual clothing by sticking through the weave of the shirts and standing proud for all to see. With the revelation that I did not want to continue looking like this I started to explore my options for improving this problem.
I started with trying to control the mass of hair with shaving. After spending 2 hours in the tub I had managed to shave myself from the neck down, to my satisfaction, that was until 12 hours later when I went to bed. My hair grows fast and the stubble on my body from the mornings shave made it all but impossible to sleep with any part of my body touching another part. My legs were whisker burning each other and my underarms felt like a steel wool pad was attached to them. The bed sheet snagged on the stubble of my chest and all in all I was very unhappy. Not to be deterred I shaved again in the morning (down to 20 min thanks to no long razor plugging tufts) and found by mid day I was crawling the walls and feeling like I was wearing a cactus instead of my skin. Obviously shaving was not for me.
I decided to try chemical hair removal. Knowing I have sensitive skin I grabbed the brands marketed to be effective but less harsh. Well I slathered the stuff on and waited the prescribed time. Nothing was happening, well the tiny fine blonde hairs were melting away but the majority of my hairs were laughing at the chemicals and telling me to try again. After showering the stuff off in defeat not only was I still covered in the hair but now I smelled like a chemical factory, not a good sign. Not one to give up easily I bought the next day a stronger, harsher brand and proceeded to try this again. I applied the new stuff just to my legs to see how my skin would take it. Well after the prescribed time again the hairs were laughing at me but now my skin was turning red and itching, so time to rinse it off. The end result was that all of the main hairs were still attached but now had a twisted deformed look to them, a sign that the chemicals were trying to dissolve them but obvious to me that my skin would dissolve before the hairs. So to conclude chemicals were not for me.
I thought about waxing but calculated the costs for full body and it was readily apparent that this was not going to work from a financial point of view, not to mention that during the re-growth time I would have a noticeable body wide 5 O’clock shadow, not attractive I assure you. So waxing was out.
I consulted the net looking for information and came across this little device called a rotary epilator. It offered me hope, but being the skeptic I am I decided to see if I could handle the discomfort of plucking large areas of my body. Enter in the handy mans favorite tool, Duct Tape. I figured that all though not perfect duck tape aught to grab the hairs well enough to give me some insight into the discomfort a rotary epilator could make. I waited in anticipation for my body hair to grow long enough for the Duct Tape to grab it. 2 weeks later the hairs were ½ to ¾ of an inch long and ready to submit to my experiment. I picked the shin as the area to try on first as there seemed to be less sensitivity there. With all of the deft skill seen on those home waxing infomercials I laid a 10 inch strip down my leg and quickly pulled it back against the direction of hair growth. Needless to say I was in a bit of a shock and rolling on the floor cursing my stupidity of trying to remove so many hairs at once. The pain was strong and my leg looked like a swarm of angry bees had decided to turn me into a pin cushion. All of this quickly cured me of any visions I had of fast removal using wax strips. Not to be deterred I tried it using a smaller strip 1 inch wide and 3 inches long. This was more tolerable but also slowed down the process. Those rotary epilators were looking like my only choice for fast plucking, so I ordered one.
The day the epilator arrived I was more then determined to remove my body hair no matter the pain. I took the innocent looking pink machine out of its packaging, read the instructions and plugged it in. I applied the epilator to the previously Duct Tape thinned areas and proceeded to do the little swirly motions they recommended. It worked, it hurt but it was working. Elated I continued this process for 2 hours and managed to clear most of the hair from my legs. I was sore, my skin was red and irritated and the epilator was worn out, but I was feeling like I had accomplished a major goal. With my order in for another epilator to replace the one I killed that day, I went to bed feeling happy. In the morning I looked down at my legs in amazement at how smooth they looked, and to touch them was divine.
The new epilator arrived three days later thanks to express post and I proceeded to remove the hair from the rest of my body over the next 3 days. I had learned how to make the epilator last longer after disassembling the broken one.
go for no more then 15 min at a time and then allow the machine to cool for an equal length of time, The cheap plastic support that hold the bearings deform if they get to hot causing the rotary mechanism to torque out of alignment and self destruct.
Take the guard off and clean the machine of all plucked hairs regularly this included for me pulling the case apart, cleaning out inside along the motor and gear train. I found that plucked hairs got stuck inside the gear train and caused friction on the gears and wore them out fast.
Have a spare epilator around for when one breaks. These things were made for women to do smaller areas like legs and underarms, not the coarse dense hair I had combined with a full body. I managed to make mine last for 2 months at a time before they died.
Things I will say are that rotary epilation works well as a temporary way to remove hair. I took me only 20 min a day every day to maintain a mostly smooth look and feel over most of my body, and the pain lessened once I was working on the new growth hairs that were not as firmly attached as the old guard. So in summary rotary epilation was giving me a taste of what hair free skin could feel like and I was hooked. Who knew that different materials felt different against the skin, take it from me I finally got an appreciation for smooth, soft materials in my every day clothes.
Even though this was working I still wanted to achieve hair free skin without having to add 20 min a day of preening so my search continued.
So I searched the web again and saw that I had two main choices for permanently achieving hair removal, Laser and Electrolysis. As I am an Engineer I could see the most of the home kits were scams out to cheat me out of money and time so I investigated my options in the phone book. I booked appointments at an electrolysist and at a laser hair clinic. The electrolysis was a nice lady who after talking to me for a few minutes did some testing on various areas of my body, chest, back, arms, legs (thermolysis). It was uncomfortable but tolerable but also very evident that this was going to take a huge number of hours to clear my body once. Satisfied that I could handle the pain of electrolysis I went to my appointment with the laser clinic.
The laser clinic was run by a certified family physician and staffed by registered nurses. This in some ways comforted me as all of the employees were older, intelligent and had an attitude of competency. Almost all of the RN’s were currently working in Emergency and ICU positions at the local hospital and they did the laser hair removal as a chance to deal with healthy patients and break up the stresses of their profession. Of note this laser clinic also had an electrolysist on staff and I was introduced to her as well.
The physician who owned the clinic talked to me and filled in my medical history. She asked me what my goals were and filled me in on what I could expect, it should be noted she did not make any wild claims and if anything was very straight forward that laser was not for everyone. After the talk she offered to do a few test patches on me, I accepted and off we went to the laser room, a room I would later come to be in many times. She showed me the machine (LightSheer Diode)and talked me though what to expect. With guarded optimism I lifted my shirt and we got started. With a setting of around 26J - 28J the pain was bearable and she proceeded to do a few strips with decreasing pulse width. While we let the test area on the chest settle down she worked a few strips on my legs. It was uncomfortable but not bad again and I was starting to feel confident that I could handle working laser over large areas. After waiting for 20 minutes to judge the skins reaction she turned up the power in increasing amounts to test what my skin could handle and at what level the hairs seemed to be treated effectively. The pain increased with the power jumps but still it was acceptable to a determined person such as myself. All looked well and she scheduled a time to see me the next day to judge my skins reaction. The next day I met with the doctor and she seemed pleased that I only had tiny little red marks on the higher powered areas. Satisfied myself with the results I asked for a quote on doing my whole body from neck to toes. She seemed a bit surprised at my desire to treat so much area at once but within 2 hours she had a quote waiting for me to read. She had broken the quote into upper half and lower half of the body. Attached to the quote were rules for laser safety and the rules of the shop. Of interest to me was that they limit treatment to a max of 3 hours per day. I stated me desire to get started as soon as they could book 3 hours in a row and a week later I started full body laser hair removal using the LightSheer Diode laser.
End of Part 1
[ June 30, 2004, 01:02 AM: Message edited by: Balius ]