As I had mentioned before on this board, I am writing this report to help others who maybe interested in this procedure. I had this procedure done this afternoon. I am sorry if this report is too long.
Me and My Goal :
I had been thinking about thinning out my beard for a while. I had got positive results from laser treatment on my back and shoulders , and wanted to extend that to my beard area. I am tired of my heavy beard and having to shave twice a day (if I wanted to go out at night). My goal WAS NOT to get rid of my beard completely , just have it toned down few notches.
My skin color is 3+ (or maybe 4, on my face). I am male.
While achieving my beard thinning, I was concerned about the following
1- Will it grow back evenly, every time
2- Can I tolerate the pain (I had read too many horror stories)
3- Will the results be long lasting
After consulting with several doctors and clinics , I decided to have this procedure done at the following place with Doctor Tony Ghidorzi,., in Chicago.
DR Ghidorzi mentioned that he does 1 or 2 beard reduction/elimination every week. This was the expert I was looking for. He also mentioned that all of his cases have resulted in even re-growth .
Precautions for Pain:
I used the following (many thanks to Andrea and this board for information in this area)
1- ELA-Max 5 - I put this cream heavily on my face and neck, several layers. I almost finished a whole tube of 30 grams. I put the cream on 1 hour before the procedure. The good thing about ELA-Max is that it does not need to be covered to be effective (unlike EMLA). This would have been very cumbersome on the face. The heavy cream looked like shaving cream on my face . By the time I got to my appointment , it was all absorbed and looked transparent and almost invisible (just in time, since after parking I had to walk few blocks before getting to the doctor . I did not get any looks from people on the street)
2- Vicodin, As Andrea mentions on this board , if you take this kind of pain relieve prescription drug , get a ride from someone to be safe. I had Vicodin from another Doctor.
3- Dristan (over counter nasal spray)- I am not sure if this one was needed, but I had few sprays in my nose. The idea is to keep your nose dry, since the discomfort and pain may cause some nose dripping during the procedure
4- Did not have any coffee or other beverages with caffeine (pop) , before the procedure.
5- Hydration - Had good amount of water through out the day
6- Had a good lunch (did not go with empty stomach)
I think major items are 1 and 2. I am not so sure about the rest
I told the Doctor , that even though my appointment was for full beard removal, I am not sure if I can handle he pain. I asked him to start on the Neck and then I will decide if I want to do the rest of the face , or stop and just have the neck done. The doctor agreed and gave me a set of small and tight goggles. The machine “Coolglide” (made by Altus Medical) was set with the following parameters.
35/30, (35 joules energy and 30 is pulse width ?)
10 mm Spot size (I think this is constant for this machine)
He put some sort of gel on the areas he was treating. It DID NOT hurt much and before I knew it he was done with my neck. He asked me if I want to proceed to the beard on my face or stop. I asked him to continue (not much pain so far).
On the face , there were some moderately painful spots (chin area) , but no big deal. Even the area around the lips and mustache area were not bad. He gave me some cotton pieces (the kind dentists use) to put in my mouth while he was doing the area around the lips. He said one thing that this would do , is to prevent my teeth (or caps) from discoloration (I guess laser rays can go right through the lips and get to your teeth).
Before long my whole face was done . I was pleasantly surprised at lack any major pain during this whole ordeal. I don’t know if it was any of my pain precautions, my tolerance, or conservative energy that he used. I didn’t care , this was tolerable and I was happy.
After the procedure he washed my face and cleared many hairs that had popped out and were sticking to my face. I looked in the mirror, I did not look that bad , just a little red.
The Doctor told me to come back after 2-3 weeks to see if any touch ups are needed (the hair has shed by then). He also told me to keep shaving as normal. Since the severed hairs will still be pushed out of the shafts during the next two weeks.
He suggested to have the next procedure after 2 to 3 months. He said since my goal is thinning (not eliminating ) my beard, I should let it grow and see how it looks, and then decide if and when to go for the next one , this sounded good to me. For people who want to eliminate their beards I think the interval is 8 (or 6 ?) weeks.
After coming home tonight, I looked at my face. Other than looking a little red , it looks great. It looks very smooth and glowing. I am definitely presentable and do not have to hide. I may give my face a rest and not shave tomorrow.
While I still don’t know for a while if my beard would grow back evenly, I am very pleased with this experience.
Thanks to Andrea and all the other poster on this board for their help and information. I hope this is useful to someone. I am not associated with “Lake view Laser” Clinic ,but as a patient I appreciate their great service ( if you happen to go there let them know you heard about them from Alex).