I just joined the board and wanted to share my experiences with LHR before I start asking for advise.
From 2002-2003, I had 9 sessions on the front of my neck. I have type III skin with thick dark beard.
The first 5 sessions were with an Altus Coolglide Nd:YAG laser, and the final 4 were with an Palomar EsteLux IPL system.
There was a 6 week period between the Coolglide sessions - but then I thought that the results I was seeing were good enough so I stopped going for about 4 months (big mistake - lots of regrowth. I should have stuck to the schedule) so I went back for 4 more treatments. 6 to 8 week period between EsteLux treatments.
It is now almost 3 years later. Results have been stable since about 8 months after I finished treatment. I still have a full neck of hairs, but they are very fine and not as dense. I can get away with not shaving for about 4 days and going to work with what appears to be a neatly trimmed beard (but I wouldn’t want to leave it for any longer or else the neck hairs get too prominent).
I am undecided if I will get further treatment on the neck area. I would like to, as I am only moderately satisfied, but I’m not convinced further treatments will be effective as the hairs are very fine now.
My experiences during treatment:
(I unfortunately cannot remember the pulse lengths for any of my sessions)
First 2 treatments - Nd:YAG was extremely painful. The neck was far more sensitive than areas such as the forearm where I had test patches done. Technician said that the hairs were violently jumping out of the skin, and she had to continuously clean the lens of the laser (she also said she was afraid she might damage the lens, which I thought sounded ridiculous). I did not use any cream, cooling or pain relievers. Fluence was at 35J for first visit, 40J second time. Had to get her to stop frequently while she worked due to the pain (felt like they were snapping a rubber band on top of a very bad sunburn). Adam’s Apple was particularly bad.
Next three treatments weren’t as painful, but still hurt. Usually popped a couple of Tylonol before the appointment, and used some ice before the technician started. Fluences were 40J, 50J (for half the neck - too painful, went back to 45J.) and 45J. The part of my neck that had gotten the 50J broke out with 3 burn blisters a couple of hours after the treatment. They went away after a few days - no scarring.
By the 5th treatment, I started to use Emla cream, and the Nd:YAG wasn’t bad at all. The spot size on the EsteLux is much bigger than the Coolglide, so that made things a lot easier too after the switch. Unfortunately I cannot remember any of the fluence levels for the EsteLux sessions - so I do not know how the settings compare with the Nd:YAG (whether the same fluence setting on different machines have the same net effect)
A couple of tips I picked up along the way:
- Be firm with your technician about spot overlap. I noticed obvious untreated areas that were missed. At first I just casually mentioned it, and it kept occuring. It wasn’t until I stopped them and told them to insure overlap that this problem went away. Point is - if you see something that you’re not happy with, be firm about it.
- For beard lines (or other “sculpted” areas) it can help to draw out the desired boundary lines. Since you have to shave before treatment, the tech can’t always see where they should laser to. My tech let me use a white pencil-crayon-type makeup thing to draw my desired beardline, then lasered to it. Initially I had a stragly and pitted beard line, but after taking this approach I got a clean line.
I am now looking at getting LHR done on the rest of my body - basically everything from the neck down. I will be posting a few more times looking for some advice, and would appreciate all of the input I can get. Thanks.