My Story - What now??

So here’s my tale. About a year and a half ago I was at the cosmetic dermatology department of my “big” HMO getting some spider veins on my face lasered, when I noticed a flyer talking about body hair removal. To give you a little more info about myself, I’m a middle aged very hirsute male, with hair everywhere, back, shoulders, chest, legs, etc. and more importantly I’ve never liked being that way. I spoke to the RN who was doing my spider veins about the hair removal services they offered, and she told me I was an “ideal candidate” with dark hair and light skin, (even though I have some gray hairs mixed with the dark hair), and she said that one treatment would “probably” be all that would be needed. So I made an appointment in April 04 to get my back and shoulders done.This was about a two hour session and cost about $1100. And it was pretty painful. About 3 weeks later, I had my chest and stomach done, at a cost of around $1200. Btw, the unit used was a GentleLase. And either the areas on my chest were more sensitve, or I was having a bad day but the pain was on the order of “child birth” in some spots. I waited about 8 weeks before going in the sun, and then followed one glorious summer where I went to the beach, pool with only a short (but unfortunately growing) amount of hair on my upper body. It quickly became clear, that “one” treatment was not going to be nearly enough as the hair on my back, shoulders, chest, and stomach continued to grow back with abandon. Fast forward to today 15 months later, and the hair has almost grown back entirely. I know this because I made the decision to not remove hair on my arms, the “opera gloves” so to speak, and I can only detect the slightest difference between the grown back hair and the original on my arms. So I’m a year older (and wiser thanks to this site), wondering how I can remove this hair permanently, and where I go from here. Go back to laser?? If so what are the realistic expectations I should have about results, and the time and money investment needed? Or because I have about 20% gray hairs, would electrolysis be a better option? Here again, what is realistic in terms of results, time, money? Or a blend of both? And I quess this turns out to be a electrolysis versus laser question. Sorry about that. And I hope nobody yells at me for posting in both forums. <g> So I’ve been to Dr. Berman in Palo Alto for laser. Any comments pro or con? Any other recommendations for either laser or electrolysis in the San Mateo area on the peninsula?? TIA


one treatment is nothing, especially for a man on those areas. the reason being that hair grows in phases and can only be killed during the anagen, first phase of growth. so at any time, only 30% at most is in that phase and can be killed. you would need at least 5-6 treatments on those areas spaced about 8-10 weeks apart. Also, within 3 weeks after every treatment, all treated hair is supposed to shed and you will have a hair free period for a few weeks until the new batch starts growing in.

You need to find an experienced tech to do the treatments correctly and at right settings for best results. Either a diode or an alexandrite laser (GentleLASE is an alex) would work well for you. Gray hairs won’t be affected, but the best thing to do would probably get these treatments done and then finish off with electrolysis on the gray and any sparse remaining hairs.

The prices you paid are pretty high. A man’s back is usually around $500 per treatment and a lot of places offer discounts for multiple treatments and areas treated.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

I’m surprised that a doctor’s office would tell you that you only need one treatment. Nobody can be hair free in one appointment.

I agree with lagirl’s assessment. Go back to laser, then finish with electrolysis.

hey, hairlessinLA

I’ve been going to the electrologist Tina that you recommended. Can you assess the results you’ve been getting with her? Do you feel you’re getting results? I’m doing a very small area, around the nipples, and have had 2 treatments so far. Going in for another one in a few days.


Thank you lagirl (and hairlessinla) for replying. I still have one major concern with laser vs. electrolysis. My one and only treatment yielded no discernable results. I’m certain of this because I elected to leave the hair on my arms and there is not discernable difference in either density or texture between it and the hair that’s grown back on my chest and back. I can’t understand why this one treatment didn’t yield at least some reduction. Is their such a thing as a “bad candidate” for laser? TIA


hey, hairlessinLA

I’ve been going to the electrologist Tina that you recommended. Can you assess the results you’ve been getting with her? Do you feel you’re getting results?

Hi lagirl,

I’m getting excellent results. She’s working on very difficult areas with me, so it’s a little slow going, but I knew that when we began, so I’m not at all concerned. There’s visible progress and that’s all I care about.

I’m going in this week, too. Maybe we’ll bump into each other!

Regards, hairlessinLA